Ajuga reptans in springtime

Plant Pick : Ajuga reptans: Living Mulch

How could you not love this plant?

A beauty in sun or shade, beautiful blossoms, attracts hummingbirds, is there much more you can ask of a plant? (Warning: In some states or areas, this plant, along with Creeping Jenny, is considered invasive. Check with your local extension office to be sure before you plant. Invasive species checker.

Early in the spring, this plant brightens up and begins to grow. The  flat rosette of leaves spread out, and  begin to display a spike of pretty blue/ purple flowers like candles across the beds. These last for several weeks and attract bees, and hummingbirds, and all sorts of pollinators. When they are finished blooming, you can cut them off if you want, or they will just die down .  More posts about my Backyard Flower garden.

image of Ajuga reptans around stone path
Living mulch around stones
  • Known as a ground cover and can be walked on
  • Only gets about 3 inches high and spreads endlessly by little runners, but pulled up easily here in Ohio
  • Zone 3-9
  • Grows in both sun and shade, any soil
  • Matted living mulch
  • OK for containers but I think best in the ground

Ajuga reptans – not real attractive in winter

The only time this carpet bugle, carpet weed, or just bugle looks relatively bad is during the winter season. It tends to stay “evergreen” but gets a little mashed looking in the beds. But in comparison to all the rest of the garden which is brown and dead stalks, it looks OK.  In spring, there is nothing that needs to be done with it, no clean up at all. It just begins growing and brightening up, getting ready for its flowering time. ( Ohio Zone 6)

Ajuga reptans Living Mulch
Tight growth inhibits weeds

The ajuga reptans holds a good color contrast around evergreens and you can see where the ajuga hugs the fence along with my creeping jenny. (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’.)

Ajuga with Creeping Jenny
Growing along fence as a splash guard, no more mud splattering.

I have a lot of this ajuga since it grows so easily here. I plan to root some more into a bed against the edge of the house.

Do you ever have a problem in your beds that are against the house or against a fence where dirt splashes on the house or fence from a rainstorm?  This ajuga can be  your answer because it forms a mat and won’t let that happen. And since it grows fast, you won’t have to wait long before it is filled. Problem solved.

Plant Pick Ajuga Reptans
Beautiful contrast under evergreens with Creeping Jenny.

What do you think of this plant? Do you grow it too?


  1. Sue Cloninger says:

    I have lots of ajuga and love it. One place I especially use it is in paths in my veggie garden. Question: Would it be a good idea to plant ajuga around veggies (tomatoes, peppers, etc.) as a mulch, or would it use nutrients that the veggies need?

    1. It would sure make a beautiful mulch, but like you say, the competition with the veggies would be pretty high.

  2. The fancier varieties are not nearly so sturdy here in the Atlanta area. A newly planted variegated variety just about completely died from the heat although well watered in a shady area. Regular varieties hang on and do great!

    1. I haven’t ever had the variegated version. But I think it is gorgeous.

  3. I have had ajuga for years, but never thought to plant it on the “splash over” areas under our gutters! Great idea, thanks.
    Also, years ago, I heard of folks who use it along sidewalks to help hold mulch in flower beds.

    1. It works like a charm. And looks good all year except for a bit “wilted” in the hard winter, but springs back nicely.

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