Ajuga, or Bugleweed, is a fast-growing, good-looking perennial often used as a groundcover. It is known for growing so thick and quickly that weeds don’t stand a chance. Plants reach up to 9 inches tall but spread up to one foot or more. Dark, glossy foliage creates a carpet of greenery, offset by tiny blue or purple flowers that bloom on upright spikes. Enjoy the flowers during the early to late spring, while the shiny leaves stay evergreen or semi-evergreen depending on your climate. This plant is a vigorous grower that thrives in full sun to partial shade.
Shrubs To Plant With Ajuga
Use ajuga as a ground cover around shrubs like inkberry holly, rose, and hydrangea. Bugleweed will keep weeds at bay, reducing maintenance in a large mixed bed while providing dense greenery. Choose tall shrubs that will stand above ajuga so all of the plants can be admired.
The dense foliage of inkberry holly coordinates with ajuga’s glossy green foliage while adding height to a planting. Rose and hydrangea both stand taller and bloom for long periods. There will be some overlap in the bloom cycle of ajuga with roses, but hydrangeas bloom later in the growing season, offering visual interest at different times.
Perennials To Plant With Ajuga
The silvery foliage of brunnera pairs nicely with the green or purple leaves of ajuga. Both of these plants are blooming groundcovers, so you will enjoy flowers in the spring and a thick carpet of foliage until the frost. Phlox is another flowering perennial that blooms from mid to late summer, depending on the cultivar. Creeping phlox has a lower profile and makes an excellent ground cover, while tall garden phlox adds height, creating layers of greenery and flowers.
Balloon flower introduces a different texture while staying in the same color family. The pointed flowers bloom in the summer and draw butterflies and other pollinators. This plant has a low profile, so it will not overwhelm ajuga plants. Draw the eye up by planting fountain grass in a mixed bed with ajuga. The thin, wispy blades of grass will stand and sway over the glossy ajuga foliage.
Create a subdued space by planting thyme alongside ajuga. The smaller leaves add dimension and contrast to the mixed planting, while the blooms add color.
Annuals To Plant With Ajuga
The shiny, often dark ajuga leaves provide an excellent background for blooming annuals like salvia, lobelia, and violas. The thick foliage will engulf the area around the flowers for a flourishing appearance. Plant purple-blooming varieties with dark-leaved ajuga to create a cohesive, sophisticated vignette.
Best Companion Plants For Ajuga in Containers
Ajuga works as a filler in a container. Pair bugleweed with fountain grass as the thriller for height and contrasting texture. Pop in a few coral bells for added color all growing season-long. The ruffled leaves are available in a range of non-traditional colors, and flowers bloom on tall stems, creating several areas of interest. Place the container in a spot that receives partial sunlight to best support the plants. Ajuga can quickly take over a landscape, so featuring this perennial in a pot is an excellent way to enjoy the plant without allowing it to take over.
Plants Not To Grow With Ajuga
Ajuga can live in full sun but expect more growth when planted in partial shade. Plants that need consistent full sun and dry soil, like lavender, Russian sage, and sedum, are not a good match for ajuga. Ajuga can overtake a space, which makes it good at choking out weeds, but it can also overwhelm delicate neighbors, so select hardy plants that are not easily pushed out.
Best Plants To Grow With Ajuga
Plants that need partial shade and can handle living with an rambling grower make excellent companions for ajuga. Shrubs like inkberry holly, rose, and hydrangea can easily share a space with ajuga. Plants that thrive in partial shade and moist soil, like coral bells, are also a good match.