Ajuga (Carpet Bugle)

Typically used as ground cover, carpet bugles quickly fill in large areas

Ajuga is a genus of rhizomatous flowering annuals and perennials, commonly referred to as bugle, bugleweed, carpet bugle, carpet bugleweed, common bugle, and common bugleweed. Ajugas grow and spread rapidly, forming a low, dense mat of attractive semievergreen to evergreen basal rosettes. The distinctive leaves can be green, purple, bronze, or black, and some have variegations, white edges, or a metallic luster. Clusters of whorled flowers cover the plant in spring. The flowers are typically blue or purple, but cultivars with pink or white flowers are also available. Bumblebees and hummingbirds frequent the nectar-rich flowers, and songbirds visit for their nutlet fruits.

Carpet bugles are typically used as ground cover to quickly fill in large areas, especially useful for shady spots where grasses won’t grow but also effective for suppressing weeds and controlling erosion. Easy to grow and low maintenance, ajugas prefer partial shade; moist, well-draining soil; and good air circulation. They tolerate full sun and moderately dry soils, but will not tolerate heavy, wet soils. Highly versatile, ajugas are shown to best effect when massed in foundation plantings, border fronts, or as edging and are widely naturalized in woodland gardens, rock gardens, or on slopes or banks. The plants are deer, rabbit, and black walnut resistant.