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Ajuga Gives a Brilliant Performance as a Groundcover
When looking for an eye-catching and prolific groundcover, Ajuga is an excellent choice and will give a stellar performance. Growing fast, dense and low, it spreads across the ground in a lovely green and purple carpet. The foliage has a soft, fuzzy look to it and depending on the variety planted, colors range from a luscious chocolate brown, a warm coppery brown, to rich purple and lush green. One variety was named Mahogany after the foliage color, which is such deep mahogany, it looks black. From early spring into the middle of summer, it shoots up spikes of flowers that can reach six inches in height. Sky blue to soft purple is the color of most flowers, but some cultivars will have spikes of blooms with delicate white or dazzling red flowers. Foliage is evergreen (or purple or mahogany), so it adds color year round, even in the middle of winter.
Another appealing characteristic is the hardiness and planting zones it tolerates. They cover most of the United States, from zones 3 to 9. It tolerates most soil types, but needs good drainage, so swampy areas are not hospitable to it. It is happy in sun or shade, although the amount of sun light will make some difference in the plants. Planted in full sun it will have smaller foliage, but provide you with bigger blooms. When planted in the shade, the foliage will be larger, and the blooms will be smaller.
Some gardeners consider it an invasive plant. With some attention it can be controlled, but because it covers the ground so profusely, may it not be a good choice for a bed where flowers will be growing. But, the fast-spreading aspect makes it the perfect solution for areas where there are erosion problems, shady areas where grass will not grow and, since deer and rabbit do not like it, in areas where wildlife is problematic in the garden. This ground cover is a beautiful addition to a rock garden, the contrast of colors between the rocks foliage is delightful. It is durable and stands up to foot traffic which makes it an eye-pleasing alternative to grass lawns.