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Publication #FPS26

Ajuga reptans Common Bugle, Bugleweed, Carpet Bugleweed1

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen2

Introduction

This ground-hugging groundcover produces a profusion of dark green to bronze- or purple-colored leaves in a flat rosette, spreading fairly quickly by runners or stolons. Plant on 6 to 12-inch centers for quick establishment of a thick ground cover. Six-inch tall spikes of small blue flowers are produced in spring to early summer and are especially attractive when plants are massed together. There are selections with foliage variegated in green, white, red, yellow, and pink.

Figure 1. 

Full form—Ajuga reptans: common bugle, bugleweed, carpet bugleweed.


Credit:

Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

Leaf—Ajuga reptans: common bugle, bugleweed, carpet bugleweed.


Credit:

Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 

Flower—Ajuga reptans: common bugle, bugleweed, carpet bugleweed.


Credit:

Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Ajuga reptans

Pronunciation: uh-JOO-guh REP-tanz

Common name(s): Common bugle, bugleweed, carpet bugleweed

Family: Lamiaceae

Plant type: ground cover; perennial; herbaceous

USDA hardiness zones: 4 through 10A (Figure 4)

Figure 4. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Planting month for zone 7: year round

Planting month for zone 8: year round

Planting month for zone 9: year round

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round

Origin: native to Africa, temperate Asia, and Europe

Invasive potential: invasive and not recommended by UF/IFAS faculty (reassess in 10 years)

Uses: mass planting; container or above-ground planter; ground cover; edging

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Description

Height: 0 to 1/2 feet

Spread: 1/2 to 1 feet

Plant habit: prostrate (flat)

Plant density: dense

Growth rate: slow

Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: basal rosette

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: undulate

Leaf shape: ovate

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches

Leaf color: purple or red; variegated

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: pink

Flower characteristic: spring flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: no fruit

Fruit length: no fruit

Fruit cover: no fruit

Fruit color: no fruit

Fruit characteristic: no fruit

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable

Current year stem/twig color: not applicable

Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun; plant grows in the shade

Soil tolerances: slightly alkaline; acidic; clay; sand; loam;

Drought tolerance: moderate

Soil salt tolerance: poor

Plant spacing: 6 to 12 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding

Pest resistance: very sensitive to one or more pests or diseases which can affect plant health or aesthetics

Use and Management

Growing best in shady locations, bugle weed will tolerate full sun in the northern end of its range as long as it can be provided with moist, but not soggy, fertile soil. It looks best in small gardens or small spaces and in other enclosed areas where the tight foliage can cover the ground around or in front of small shrubs.

Available cultivars include: 'Multicoloris,' leaves mottled red, white, and yellow on green; 'Alba,' white flowers; 'Atropurpurea,' bronze foliage and blue flowers; 'Burgundy Glow,' new leaves bright burgundy-red, mature leaves cream/white and dark pink; 'Rubra,' rose flowers, more vigorous; 'Variegata,' grey-green leaves with cream markings.

Propagation is by division, rarely by seed.

Susceptible to nematodes on sandy soils.

Design Considerations

The low growing habit and small leaves of the bugleweed cover the ground in a thick, lush layer of green, perfect for filling in among other plants in the landscape. Simple forms and light green or smooth foliage of companion plants will highlight the rough, scrubby texture of the bugleweed foliage. Clumping plants with larger glossy leaves or strap-blade leaves would also contrast well with the matting, low-growing form. The mass of green works well with different flower colors, but bright and light colors will show the best compared to the dark green and purple-colored foliage. Simple small or medium size flowers will contrast with the tiny foliage without adding too much detail. Colors in the variegated foliage varieties are primarily warm colors, contrasting flowers would include blues and purples or a simple color palette can be used by repeating the same warm colors with yellow, pink, or red flowers in companion plants.

Pests and Diseases

Crown rot can occur on soggy soils.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS26, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised August 2018. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Ryan W. Klein, graduate assistant, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Gail Hansen, associate professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.