Ajuga reptans- Purpurea
Ajuga reptans -Purpurea is a very easy to grow ground cover. It has glossy purple leaves. Produces spikes of purple flowers in late spring into summer.
A great choice as a living mulch under established trees, will form a dense carpet. Can also be used in rockeries, as a border or even spilling out of containers, or over retaining walls.
A very adaptable plant. It can be grown in all light levels full sun, part shade and full shade. Will tolerate all soils except for very dry. Can even handle quite wet soils.
Botanical name: Ajuga reptans- Purpurea
Common name: Bugle, Bugleweed, Bugleherb and Carpetweed
Native to: Europe
Position: Full sun/Part shade/ Shade
Is Ajuga purpurea invasive?
Depends on what you consider invasive. It's not a declared invasive species in Victoria. It certainly spreads well. As it creeps along the ground it will root, thus creating many separate plants from the original.
We haven't noticed it seeding in other parts of the garden. It is a fast grower and is best used as a living mulch around larger trees and shrubs. If planted with small plants it may smother them.
How fast will ajuga purpurea spread?
Quite fast. I would expect a 14cm potted plant like the size we sell, to spread one square in one year. After that it will still continue to spread. Because it will air root as it creeps along many individual plants will develop. This is what creates the carpet/ ground cover appearance.
So if you want to establish a quick living carpet in a garden planting 1 or 2 per square meter should be quite adequate.
Will my ajuga reptans purpurea die back during winter?
It doesn't die off at all here in West Gippsalnd. We can have temperatures as low as -5C overnight. In the nursery we grow it under 30% shade cloth this does protect it from frost.
Having said that we have some growing in our top garden which is completely exposed to the elements and it still looks great even in the middle of winter. Another ajuga we grow called 'jungle beauty' does die off during winter.
Is ajuga purpurea poisonous to pets?
No. Ajuga purpurea is totally safe for planting in gardens where pets are prone to nibble on your hard work.
Could i use ajuga purpurea in full shade?
Yes ajuga purpurea can be grown in full shade. It is one of our favourite go to ground covers for a shaded garden. It can also tolerate full sun. This makes it great under deciduous specimen trees and evergreens. A very versatile ground cover.
When planting under large trees keep it well watered during summer. While its unlikely it would fully die off if left unattended the carpet will certainly thin out.
Pest and diseases.
The only real threat is snails and slugs. The plants grow quite fast so these are generally not a big issue. However if they start to get out of control consider using a pet/bird friendly snail bait (this is the one we use).
How do you propagate ajuga purpurea?
There is 3 ways ajuga reptans can be propagated- Cuttings, Root cuttings and division. In the nursery wee use division as its the quickest way to create new viable plants for sale. You can read this article (3 ways to propagate ajuga) or watch the short video below.