An excellent ground cover plant for shady areas. Its perfect under deciduous trees and other shade areas where little will grow. Will form dense mats of mostly evergreen foliage, although it will die back in cold areas (zone 4). Its one of the rare plants that will grow under a Black Walnut or Norway Maples making it extremely useful. In late spring it sends up lovely spikes of blue flowers which can transform whole areas and attract butterflies and other pollinators. Encouraging its spread will reduce your labor time as it will form dense mats that will stop any weeds from growing. Once established it takes little or no care it can either be left alone or after flowering it can be mown down to remove flower heads. Job done, nothing else to do until next year. It can even alleviate raking as the leaves can be left as a mulch vanishing under the leaves to feed the plants and the tree. Add to that deer and rabbits don't eat it. Beautiful flowers, little work, less mowing grows in a shade area. What more could you want.
Description of Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).
Growing Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) from Seed.
Direct sowing for areas with cold winters only.
Sowing in trays.
Sow seeds in trays or small cell trays. Do not cover seed as they need light to germinate. For more information on seeding see our general growing instructions. Transplant seedling to their own pots and grow on until plants have produced a small rosette of leaves before transplanting out. Set out about 6-12" (15-30 cm) apart more if plants are growing well as stolons will form and increase plant size and distribution..
Location and Care of Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).
In zones 6a and colder. The plant can tolerate some sunshine more and more as the zone number decreases and at zone 4 full sun. As the heat and ferocity of the suns rays increase the plant will need more sunshine. In zone 7 it can tolerate a little sun but prefers to live in the full shade of deciduous trees.
Zones 7b and warmer. Shade is needed and essential if in Texas, Arizona, southern California and similar places. Will not tolerate sun in these hotter areas with strong sunshine, under the shade of trees it can usually grow very effectively as a evergreen perennial.
Soil types and water. Its not really fussy, while its ideal soil is a humus soil with lots of organic material that is fairly moist it will grow in almost any soil type. However on dry soils it will need some additional water to flourish. While it is fairly drought tolerant in long periods of no water is will shrivel up and go dormant.
The best location for Bugle is beneath deciduous trees where it will spread out to form a dense mostly evergreen carpet that is pretty drought tolerant. Its very easy to maintain. After initial planting ensure it has regular water for the first year to allow it to establish then leave it alone. It takes no other care. Enjoy the flowers then once flowering had finished set the mower blade on high and mow it down. That's it for the year. In most cases leaf raking is unnecessary as it will settle around the plants which will then use the leaves as mulch and food. So your work is a lot less.
Do not plant under coniferous trees it cannot tolerate the acid from the needles.
Plant under Walnut trees! Bugle is one of the rare plants that is not affected by the chemicals put out by walnuts to prevent plants growing under them. Bugle makes a great ground cover under walnuts.
Bugle will tolerate modest foot traffic so it can be walked on but don't try and use it as a pathway. Will spread using the stolons which is great if you want a ground cover but if you don't then ensure you cut them back each year. When stolons are young they are easy to remove after the stolons have rooted and formed new plants they are not so easy to remove.
Will die back and go dormant under drought conditions
Cannot tolerate wet soil or prolonged flooding. The crowns will rot and the plants will die.
It's a spreading ground cover, may need to be contained once it spreads. Do not plant in a border or other area where you don't want it to spread.
Harvesting Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).
Culinary Uses of Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).
Medical uses of Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).