Ajuga plants are extremely common, perennial in nature, and exceedingly fast growing. This is a very hardy plant that is also attractive with beautifully shaped leaves and exquisite azure flowers.
However, it not only grows rapidly, but can spread quickly, so if you plant it in your garden, you will have to control it or watch your garden is not overrun by it.
The plant should be set about eighteen inches apart as the plants will grow from twenty four to forty eight inches wide with beautiful bronze, green or multi-coloured leaves.
If the plants are put in at the recommended distance apart they will interlock and form a nice carpet groundcover. The “Chocolate Ship” Ajuga plant is among the most popular varieties.
The plants will grow to around three to four inches high. However, be aware that the flowers can grow to about one foot in height in larger varieties. Ajuga flowers in spring and the flowers have an attractive blue color.
While its flowers are blue, pink, violet and a white version, (Alba) blooms from spring to early summer; it's the leaves that take the spotlight. The leaves are either grey-green or cream, mottled bronze and red, reddish purple or a metallic bronze.
Most varieties will create a carpet like ground cover and can spread to several feet. Ajuga pyramidalis grows upright to about 3 to 4 inches tall; with Ajuga reptans reaching around 9 inches tall. The leaves do not like to be squashed by walkers' foot traffic.
This plant needs to be protected from sunlight as it grows stunted and unhealthy if planted out in strong sun. It is best planted in partial shade or even full shade, perhaps in the shadow of a house or tree that will protect it at least part of the day. In these types of shaded environment the plant will grow well and spread quickly.
Ajuga will attempt to take over the entire territory in its vicinity. However, although it is an aggressive spreader, it is also fairly easily contained as it grows by spreading over the ground.
It is suggested that you contain Ajuga by using a shovel or spade to edge the borders of the territory boundary allocated to it twice annually, once in spring and again around the middle of summer.
There is no need for alarm as this plant does not spread rapidly; rather it will spread at a slow and steady rate.
Be warned that you must not plant this next to a lawn as grass cannot compete with this plant for and will be quickly overrun, leaving you with an Ajuga lawn instead of a grass lawn.
Ajuga plants generally prefer a soil dominated by clay or sand. It will grow in any soil but not as well as in these types of soil. However, when planting it in clay soils do be careful that the clay is not too heavy as the plant tends to rot under heavy clay conditions.
Ajuga plants need plenty of water if you want them to flower, even when growing in the shade. Note that if trees are nearby, because these plants like shade, the tree roots will leach the water that this plant requires and so stunt its growth. However once this plant is properly established it rarely has problems. Other than this Ajuga require little care. Just plant Ajuga seeds, care for the plants for a few weeks until they are established, and they will maintain themselves.
It is important to note that while Ajuga provides ground cover it cannot and must not be walked on. This is especially important as there are actually companies that claim that the Ajuga seeds that they sell grow into beds that can be walked on. This is highly unlikely. Ajuga might survive being walked over very occasionally, but regular foot traffic will definitely damage the beds, kill the plants, or at the very least make them look very unattractive.
The flowers are usually dark blue in color, and have a dense blooming time in early spring. They also bloom occasionally all through the warmer months.
Ajuga is best propagated in spring but can be propagated by division any time during the growing season. The plant must be divided and then replanted at once. If this gardening shade flower becomes too dense with little air circulation there is a danger of crown rot resulting in bare patches. Division will keep this to a minimum.
One benefit to the density is that it blocks out weeds.
A humus rich, moist soil is best, good air circulation is a must, and don't let the roots stand in water.