Propagating Ajuga Plants – How To Propagate Bugleweed Plants
By: Teo Spengler
Ajuga – also known as bugleweed – is a tough, low-growing ground cover. It offers bright, semi-evergreen foliage and showy flower spikes in amazing shades of blue. The vigorous plant grows in a carpet of shiny foliage and massed flowers, swiftly forming dense mats that require little maintenance.
Ajuga plant propagation is so easy that the plants easily become invasive, rambling across the lawn and into places in the garden reserved for other plants. Read on for information about propagating ajuga plants.
Propagation of Ajuga Plants
Growing ajuga is easier than getting rid of it, so take its rapid growth into account before you decide on ajuga plant propagation.
You’ll first want to prepare a garden space to plant your new ajuga. You’ll succeed best at ajuga plant propagation if you select a sunny area or one that is in light shade for the plant’s new home. Ajuga won’t flower well in full shade.
Ajuga plants do best in moist, fertile soil. It’s a good idea to work in humus or other organic material to the soil before planting time.
How to Propagate Bugleweed
You can start propagating ajuga plants from plant seeds or by division.
One way to start propagating ajuga plants is by planting seeds. If you decide to do this, sow ajuga plant seeds in containers in fall or spring. Just cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost and keep the soil moist.
The seeds germinate in a month or less. Prick out the individual plants and place in larger containers. In summer, move the young plants to your garden beds.
Ajuga spread by underground runners called stolons. These runners root the plant in nearby soil and form clumps. The ajuga clumps will eventually get crowded and begin to lose vigor. This is the time to lift and divide them in order to obtain additional ajuga plants.
Propagation of ajuga by division is an operation for early spring or fall. It’s a simple process. All you have to do is dig out the clumps and pull or cut them apart into smaller sections, then replant them in another location.
You can also simply cut out big sections of plant mats – like lawn sod – and move them to a new location.
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Ajuga plants are extremely common, perennial in nature, and exceedingly fast growing. These are very hardy plants that are also attractive with their beautifully shaped leaves and exquisite azure flowers.
Ajuga grows rapidly and can spread quickly if that is what you are looking for. If you plant Ajuga plants in your garden, you will have to be aware of the growth rate and control it or watch your garden is not eventually overrun by it.
Ajuga 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 “Ajuga Chocolate Chip” 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.
Ajuga reptans can be propagated by division of the mother plant in spring or autumn
The creeping bugle is excellent for planting under shrubs, bushes and larger perennials, such as meadow-rue (Thalictrum), troll flower (Trollius) or even the splendorpier (Astilbe). In the garden, mainly varieties with coloured or variegated leaves are used, which can also be excellently combined with each other or with the species. In spring, bulbous and tuberous plants, such as snowdrop (Leucojum) or snowdrop (Galanthus), can add colourful accents to the Günsel’s foliage decoration. The groundcover is also very suitable for fixing the ground on shady embankments.
The creeping bugle is also known as a medicinal plant. As it has slightly analgesic properties, it can be used as a wound herb. In the past, it was also used as a laxative and belongs to the group of medicinal herbs that are said to have a liver cleansing effect.
Bugleweed does well in full sun to part shade locations. Foliage color is most vibrant when the plant receives at least three to four hours of sunlight daily.
Bugleweed prefers medium moisture, well-drained soils with a good amount of organic matter. It will tolerate moderately dry soil. In the South, watch out for crown rot, also called "Southern blight," which is caused by a fungus (Sclerotium rolfsii). You can help prevent crown rot by assuring the soil drains well.
Hi folks, I just cut 6-8 little Ajuga babies off of a 5-or-so YO Ajuga mommie. They were hanging over the edge of a pot and not doing well, as they were living in full afternoon sun. Like, duh!
I'd like to plant them they have bunches and bunches of banana-like roots at the base, so are really ready to be weaned from their mum.
How do I start them? Water for a week or so for the roots to sprout? potting soil, very very moist?
You don't want to try to root anything in water unless its an aquatic plant. Potting soil is better. I wouldn't keep it sopping wet, just moist. You can go ahead and put it in the ground where it's going to go just don't let it dry out completely until the roots have had time to establish themselves. Best of luck!
Just take your cuttings and plant them but don't bury the top growth. They root pretty fast, just keep them moist like dp said.
Depending on how cold your winter lows are, they may go dormant or semi dormant on you where you are. Mine go dormant for about 4 weeks in January then bounce right back extremely fast.
Ajuga is pretty hard to kill.
Oh, but they are easy to kill if you overwater.
Yes, I just had to teach myself that lesson.
Ajuga, Bugle, Bugleweed, Carpet Bugle 'Bronze Beauty'
Requires consistently moist soil do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs suitable for bogs and water gardens
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Where to Grow:
Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone
Can be grown as an annual
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Soil pH requirements:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Maryland Heights, Missouri
Munsonville, New Hampshire
Greenville, South Carolina
Thompsons Station, Tennessee
North Marysville, Washington
Stimson Crossing, Washington
Falling Waters, West Virginia
On Aug 2, 2020, Rests from Bryan, TX wrote:
This is my second time to try this plant. The first time I planted it, it died in one week. Very confused about its moisture needs. One website says it needs to be kept very moist. Another website says that it is very tolerant of being a little bit on the dry side. Which is it? I have heard complaints about ajuga being very invasive. Nothing is hardy ever invasive in South Central Texas. I guess I will see within the week if it makes it this time.
On Dec 3, 2018, Susan_Hartwig from Lancaster, NY wrote:
I planted this in the parkway/hellstrip between the street and the sidewalk because I dislike mowing the narrow strip. It has formed a nice weed free, low growing clump that slightly hangs over the curb a bit. I honestly wish it would spread a little faster in that area, although it does spread fairly quickly. I planted it there, knowing it would be contained by the concrete. I would not plant this in my beds, because it will find it's way into your lawn and anywhere else it has access to, as we found out the hard way at our cottage. Although, we don't mind it out there, and it does make a beautiful blue carpet in spring. Great dense groundcover for contained garden spaces.
On Jul 3, 2011, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:
Not one of my favorite Ajugas, but it does form a nice living mulch when in an area that it is happy with. Otherwise it does not do so well. Blooms in May in my garden.
On Jun 17, 2011, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
Ajuga makes a very nice groundcover. It quickly forms a dense mat and the rizomes can be easily guided to travel in the direction you want. If it spreads to where you don't want it, the roots are fairly shallow so it's easy to pop up from the ground. I have it planted as a "green mulch" beneath and between my hostas, and the bronze color contrasts nicely with the blue and chartreaus colors especially. It's evergreen, so the area continues to look nice when the hostas are hiding for winter, but it still allows them to pop back up in the spring. The pretty blue flower spikes are an added bonus!
On Jun 10, 2011, RustyThumb from Ogden, UT (Zone 5b) wrote:
My plant is one year old now. Last year it looked stressed and I didn't like the location of it so I was going to move it. However, this spring it's formed a tight circle about 12 inches across and the plant that was towering over it and crowding it out didn't survive the winter so this little one gets to stay put. It's right on the front border of my garden, slightly hanging over onto the walkway. I think it's so attractive that I bought a four pack and I'm going to put it in a couple of other locations. I will keep an eye on it now that I've read some people have found it aggressive. Thus far, this single plant seems quite tame and I see no babies.
On Aug 18, 2010, cmgah from Arlington, MA wrote:
EXTREMELY aggressive, to the point of chocking out other plants near it. I would NEVER use it again, I have spent countless hours digging up bushels of rhizome runners. they look like snakes! And it keeps coming back. it seems to be strangling my roses and now is invading the lawn. I tried no water (a suggestion I found online) in that bed for a few weeks, it didn't help. just stressed my other plants. All this from a tiny $3 plant it has become the bane of my garden. don't fall for it, leave it at the nursery.
On Apr 12, 2010, KayGrow from Montgomery, AL wrote:
This year a friend of mine discovered 3 of her plants have white blooms. This is the most common burgundy variety, not variegated leaves, and it has been established for many years. Has anyone else seen this? What causes the new bloom color?
On Aug 31, 2009, green76thumb from Radford, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I've fallen in love with this little plant that I at first hated. It didn't work well in my terrarium (poor lighting). If memory serves me right, I tried to kill it and then took pity on it and relocated it.
I must have planted it in the right spot, because it formed a nice, tight 'living mulch' in the shady bed where it now grows. How wonderful to have a bed that I don't need to keep replenishing with messy woodchip mulch!
I think the color (burgundy & green) and the crinkly texture of the leaves are just beautiful! I'm not too fond of the flower color with the foliage color (to me they don't match), but the foliage alone is great!
Very easy to transplant too!
On Aug 17, 2008, pinkshoe from Hibbing, MN (Zone 3a) wrote:
Got this beautiful ground cover at a local nursery a week or so ago. Planted it in a nice shady area and looks like the babies are already starting to root, however something is eating it? Was my understanding that nothing would eat it but something is eating mine. Any suggestions would be greatly appriciated.
Well I have discovered what was eating it, its SLUGS and they do love it. put in a beer trap and have over 100 of the little varments.
On May 28, 2008, KaylyRed from Watertown, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:
This is a pretty, carefree ground cover that enjoys a prominent spot in my garden. It forms a nice dense mat of foliage that most weeds will not penetrate. Excessive spreading or invasiveness has not been a problem for me ajuga has not tried to "jump" the rock edging on my garden.
My only complaint about ajuga is that it looks mushy, dead and unattractive until later in the spring. Has been slow to wake up for me.
On Sep 4, 2007, docturf from Conway, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:
Although this plant can be quite attractive, it is not advisable to place it in a "dedicated" flower bed -- it can become very invasive and quickly crowd out other species. In addition, it is also susceptible to Southern Blight, a soil -borne fungus which is fairly common in the soils of the lower south. Docturf
On Sep 3, 2007, zak1962 from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:
New to gardening last spring (2006) I planted Ajuga in a 100 ft. long area between the street and my sidewalk along the side of my house. I have had quite a different experience with it than listed above.
First of all, I do allow the soil to dry out on occassion and it has flourished. My Ajuga is still flowering into September as I trim back the spent stalks about once every couple of weeks.
I recently began removing some of the mulch I laid around the plants initially to allow the plant access to the soil for rooting purposes. The mulch I used was pretty 'chunky' and in some cases the run off plants were unable to reach the soil and root. The parent plant apparently shuts them down once they are formed. I was constantly removing dead run offs.
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I plan on mowing the area down in late fall. This past spring many of my plants struggled to get out from under the rather dense, crusty remains of last years growth and several of them died. I think the fact that I live on a corner city lot that experiences a lot of wind had something tio do with this. The Ajuga I planted a small patch in front of my house didn't have the same problems.
On Oct 17, 2006, Lady_fern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:
Loves dense clay soil! The longer I have it, the more I love it. It's so easy and low-maintenance. It fills in its area with crinkly bronzey foliage so well. Slugs and other pests leave it alone so it's always attractive.
On Oct 18, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
I have this cultivar mixed with the burgundy cultivar in my back garden. I've found it to be a (welcomed) aggressive little addition as it helps keep weeds down. The blue flowers in mid May are a welcome addition to the spring flowers and the whole plant dies back down to the leaves once the other flowers take over.
I find it holds up well to foot traffic when I have to go through the garden to weed. It transplants well and is a very useful plant. I have this in an area that is moist to dry, depending on the year - it lives on equally well in either situation.
On Aug 4, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:
This little groundcover will quickly spread into the lawn, so a wide edging is recommended. The hummingbirds love the pretty blue flowers, but out of bloom it's not very outstanding. Not tolerant of drought or foot traffice, but does form a dense, weed-proof mat.
Cycles of snowing and melting are common. I planted quite a lot of Ajuga Reptans (mostly Bronze Beauty) last year and more this year. Last winter most was not covered. Most plants experienced some dieback.
Homemade herbicide – Another option for getting rid of bugleweed is to create a homemade, environmentally friendly herbicide by mixing equal parts of very hot water and vinegar. Stir in a small amount of salt and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Apply the solution with a spray bottle or a garden sprayer.