Growing Guide
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Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Ground Cover

Ajuga reptans
Lamiaceae Family

This low-growing, creeping evergreen groundcover is one of the few that tolerates dry shade. With adequate moisture, bugleweed rapidly carpets the ground with showy green or multicolor foliage. But be careful where you plant it because it can invade lawns.

Site Characteristics
  • part shade
  • full shade
May tolerate direct sun for part of the day if moisture is adequate, but excessive sun may scorch plants.

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
  • tolerates low fertility
Will grow in poor soils.

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 9
May be only marginally hardy in Zone 3.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

This plant is easy to grow, but may pose a management issue if spreading needs to be limited.

Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet

Height is for plants not in flower. Flower stems may rise up to 6" above foliage.

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Can continue spreading by underground stolons, even invading lawn.

Bloom time:

  • late spring
  • early summer

Flower color:

  • blue
  • indigo
  • violet
  • white
  • pink

Most have deep blue blooms, but some cultivars have white, pink or purple flowers.

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • dark green
  • variegated

The foliage may be medium to deep green, tinted with purple, maroon, or bronze, or multicolor, varying with individual cultivars. Purple-leaved plants are generally most heat and cold tolerant.

Foliage texture: medium


  • low and trailing
  • spreading mass

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

The small blooms borne along an erect stem rising above the foliage.

Special Considerations
  • heat - Purple leaved plants are generally most heat and cold tolerant.
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • aggressive - Can spread into garden areas and lawn if not contained.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Europe, Iran and Caucasus Mountains.
  • evergreen
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by cuttings, division or separation - Divide or take cuttings in early summer after flowering has ceased.

Maintenance and care:
This plant may invade lawns if not kept in check. Can be difficult to eliminate from garden once established. Deadhead to reduce spread by seed and to maintain best foliage quality. Allow good air circulation, and thin plants if overly crowded to reduce risk of rot.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Fungal root rot
Southern blight
Crown rot
Fungal leaf spot
'Atropurpurea': showy purple green leaves

'Burgundy Glow': attractive leaves have silvery sheen and are tinted with deep red. Margins are tinted cream and various shades of pink. May not be evergreen in cold winters.

'Catlin's Giant': large leaves are up to 6 inches long and purplish maroon/bronze. Does not tolerate below-zero temperatures well.

'Giant Bronze': 9-inch-tall plants with deep bronze green foliage.

'Jungle Bronze' and 'Jungle Green': green-leaved or bronze-leaved plants with very large, 10-inch-tall flower spikes.

'Rainbow' ('Multicolor'): bronze-tinted dark green leaves mottled with magenta, peach, cream and pink

'Pink Elf': deep green foliage and showy deep pink blooms on short flower stems

'Variegata': creamy white margins and splotching mark grayish green foliage.