Ajuga is a low-growing herbaceous perennial and winter hardy in zones 3 to 8. At the lower end of its hardiness range, Ajuga may experience dieback and even disappear after a hard winter. In these areas, make sure to plant it in a protected spot and apply mulch to help insulate its roots. With a little care, this showy plant will likely survive the winter and appear unscathed in the spring.
Protecting Ajuga in Winter
In late fall, apply a one-inch layer of shredded bark mulch around Ajuga's base, leaving space between the stem and the mulch. Proper aeration throughout the year is critical to deterring fungal diseases such as crown rot. Consider covering Ajuga with a non-plastic cloth blanket during extended periods of heavy frost. Ensure that the blanket lays over a frame and doesn't come into contact with Ajuga's stems or leaves.
Cutting Back Ajuga For Winter
Unlike plants that lose their leaves during dormancy, Ajuga is evergreen and maintains its colored foliage throughout winter. Its growth rate, however, is reduced. Cut back any spent blooms or tattered leaves in fall, and leave the basal growth in place.
Ajuga Winter Care in Pots
Potted plants need more winter protection than those planted in the ground. Apply a one inch layer of shredded mulch on top of the potting soil, and wrap the container with plastic. Cluster your containers beneath an awning or move Ajuga into an unheated shed or garage. You can also grow Ajuga as a houseplant during the winter; transition it indoors when temperatures dip to 55 degrees.
Watering Ajuga in Winter
Ajuga will not require much supplemental watering during the winter. If the weather is particularly dry, water the roots about once a month to prevent the soil from completely drying out. Avoid watering when the ground and air temperatures are below forty degrees. When planted in containers, Ajuga may require watering more often.
Growing Ajuga Indoors
Ajuga thrives outdoors and indoors and can grow as a houseplant. Trim any dead, damaged, and diseased growth before bringing it indoors. Additionally, begin acclimating Ajuga to its new environment by bringing it inside for extended amounts of time. Ajuga does not go completely dormant in the winter, but will slow its growth to focus on the development of its roots. In spring, its vigorous growth rate will resume.
Steps To Care For Ajuga in Winter
Step 1 - Trim Ajuga's dead, diseased, damaged stems.
Step 2 - If leaving Ajuga outside for the winter, mulch with 1 inch of shredded bark.
Step 3 - When ground and air temperatures are above 40 degrees, water monthly.
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