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How to Plant Ajuga Groundcover


 

Ajuga is a creeping evergreen ground cover that grows well in rock gardens, under shrubs, trees, or in-containers.   The leaves are green with a purplish tint and they resemble baby spinach.  In the spring a stalk will emerge from the center of the clump and it will grow to the height of four inches and then a bluish purple flower will blossom. The flowers bloom from spring to early summer and attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  If you are seeking a shade tolerant ground cover that spreads by forming a dense mat then plant ajuga.

What you Need

Purchase ajuga ground cover at your local garden center.  Look for healthy plants with soil that is moist. A plant that is putting out runners and has healthy leaves is a good choice.   While at the garden center; purchase organic matter: compost or manure a time released fertilizer, garden gloves, mulch and a soaking hose or drip irrigation with a timer.

Garden Location

Choose a garden site for the ajuga that features morning sun; shade in the heat of the day to part sun in early evening.  Ajuga will grow healthy and strong with morning sun however it will wilt if subjected to intense afternoon sun. 

Select a garden site that where the soil is loamy;soil composed of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter in evenly mixed soil that is well-drained

Ready Garden for Planting

Prepare the garden for planting by removing the grass.  Use your spade to work the soil to six inches.  Break up the soil clumps so that the soil is a fine texture.  .  Before planting wet the soil so that it is evenly moist but not wet.

Planting

Gently remove the ajuga from the container.  Set the container on the side and roll it back and forth with the palm of your hands.  This is a good way to loosen the soil and to aid in releasing the plant from the container.  Shake the roots lightly to remove excess dirt.  If the root ball is entwined try to loosen the roots so that they will grow outward.

Dig a hole that is the same depth as the nursery container. Set the ajuga in the hole. Spread out the roots and then fill in the hole with the soil. Space the ajuga by allowing 12 to 24 inches in-between plants.  When all the ajuga is planted you would then water lightly so that the ground is evenly moist but not wet.

Care for Ajuga

Apply a thin layer of organic mulch. This mulch will help to retain moisture.

Water in the morning and do not allow the soil to dry out.

Divide and transplant ajuga anytime during the growing season.

Feed the ajuga in early spring by adding compost, manure or recycled coffee grounds to the garden bed

Image credit Susan Golis

Tips and Warnings

  • Ajuga is also known as bugle weed
  • Is a herbaceous flowering plant from the mint family
  • Great for hard to grow shade gardens
  • Twenty five plants cover 100 square feet
  • Ajuga is good for erosion control
  • A low growing ground cover for zone 3 to 9
  • Do not plant in-between stone walkway; will not hold up under foot traffic
  • Deer avoid ajuga
  • Is susceptible to crown rot if soil is too wet or too dry.  The fungus will prevent the water from getting to the roots.

 

Learn more about ground covers here:

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4 comments

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Written by Sgolis, 3 years ago
I like to plant ground cover where nothing else will grow. This year I planted ice plant on a slope and it grew in very quickly and my husband did not need to mow. I think ground covers add interest to your landscape.
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Written by careercounselor, 3 years ago
Ground covers can be so handy especially in areas where the landscape is limited. Adding the decorative rocks really makes the flowers pop. I like to see a variety of colors in the garden and that is possible during the hot summer months.
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Written by landocheese, 3 years ago
I like the pics too. Ajuga really is a great plant if you have shade and it looks good even when not in bloom.
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Written by PatriceWalker, 3 years ago
Lovely photos, Susan, and great article. The ajuga plant makes a very nice ground cover.

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