Bugleweed: Care, Growing Guide, & Facts
Bugleweed Plant Description
Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) is a fast-growing perennial herbaceous ground cover that effectively chokes out weeds. In mid- to late-spring, it develops lustrous, dark green leaves and stunning flower spikes with blue, violet, or purple blooms that may reach 8 to 10 inches tall, but other varieties have shorter flower spikes.
Variegated leaf hues and patterns are available in several varieties. Bugleweed is an aggressive plant that may be planted in late spring or early summer and will quickly grow and spread. The family of this plant is Lamiaceae, and it grows up to 6 to 9 inches tall and 6 to 12 inches wide.
How To Care Bugleweed?
Bugleweed may be a pain to cultivate because of its rapid propagation via subterranean runners known as stolens, but there are a few conditions where its benefits will be sufficient for some gardeners to grow it.
It’s great for filling in huge, gloomy areas where lawns are tough to develop, and it’s also great for planting around trees and plants on banks and slopes. It’s extremely appealing when it’s surrounded by rock formations.
Bugleweed is also utilised to reduce soil erosion in many regions because of its large root system. It generates a thick mat that weeds will be pushed out of.
Bugleweed is unique in that it is robust enough to flourish beneath black walnut trees (Juglans nigra), which generate a toxin that is toxic to most plants.
Planting bugleweed near lawn areas, on the other hand, should be avoided since it may swiftly grow into turf grass. Bugleweed should be planted in a location with sufficient air flow, with plants spaced about 1 foot apart.
How To Grow Bugleweed?
Bugleweed thrives under a wide range of conditions, from full sun to partial shade. When the plant receives at least 3 or 4 hours of sunshine every day, the foliage colour is the most bright.
Bugleweed grows best on soils with a medium moisture content, adequate drainage, and plenty of organic matter. It can withstand somewhat dry soil.
Average rainfall is generally enough to keep bugleweed alive. However, while the plants are establishing, give bugleweed 1 inch of water once a week if you wish.
After the plants have entrenched themselves, give them 1 inch of water every 2 to 3 weeks. When the top 1 to 2 inches of soil get dry, water it.
iv. Temperature and Humidity
Bugleweed thrives in a broad variety of temperatures, although it requires sufficient air circulation in particularly hot, humid places to avoid crown rot.
Only if the plant is developing in poor soil, feeding is rarely essential. Administer an all-purpose granular fertiliser when needed.
Alternatively, use 1 tablespoon of water-soluble fertiliser per gallon of water. It’s best to feed in the morning, and be sure to rinse any fertiliser grains off the leaves.
Varieties of Bugleweed
1. The foliage of A. reptans ‘Atropurpureum’ is bronze-purple.
2. The leaves of A. reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ are darker than those of the species plant, with a tinge of chocolate brown.
3. The foliage of A. reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’ is burgundy tri-colored variegated (white, pink, and green).
4. A. reptans ‘Dixie Chip,’ which forms a mat that grows 2 to 4 inches tall and has creamy-white, deep-rose, and green leaves, is another species with tri-color variegated foliage.
5. With almost-black, scalloped leaves and deep blue flower spikes, A. reptans ‘Black Scallop’ possesses the darkest foliage of all the varieties. It grows a 3 to 6 inches tall mat as a result. When plants are in full light, the deepest leaf colour is attained.
Pruning aids in the management of the plant. Pruning runners twice a year is essential. Make sure any runners that escape the planting area are removed. In addition, when the blooms have faded, cut off the flower spikes in late summer.
Use a lawnmower with a high blade height to shear back a huge area of bugleweed. Thin out the plants in the fall by digging out the entire clump and replanting half of the roots if the planting area gets overcrowded.
To keep it under control in your planting beds, keep an eye out for it and pluck it out of places where it doesn’t belong, or it will establish a foothold and become a problem.
How To Propagate Bugleweed?
Bugleweed is one of the simplest plants to divide and reproduce. Underground runners develop bunches around the parent plant, allowing it to spread. You may dig up and transfer these clusters when they become too congested.
It’s better to do this in the spring or fall, when there’s little risk of frost. The following are simple instructions for propagating bugleweed:
• Remove the whole mother plant as well as any nearby groupings.
• Differentiate them via hand or with a sharp, disinfected knife.
• Brown or wilted clumps should be discarded.
• Individual plants should be transplanted to new areas.
How To Grow Bugleweed From Seed?
Bugleweed seeds are simple to germinate. Follow these simple instructions to start bugleweed seed indoors in the early spring.
• Fill tiny pots halfway with seed-starting mixture.
• Within a month, the seeds will sprout if you cover them with a thin layer of compost and keep them damp but not soggy.
• Transfer the seedlings into larger containers after they have shown to be viable.
• Transplant the seedlings into the garden once they are strong.
Common Pests and Diseases in Bugleweed
The only insect that genuinely enjoys bugleweed is the aphid, which can be readily sprayed off the plant with a garden hose. Crown rot, a soil-borne fungus, is another typical bugleweed concern.
It occurs when the plants become entangled and suffocate each other, resulting in inadequate air circulation. Crown rot, often known as “Southern blight” in the South, is caused by a fungus (Sclerotium rolfsii).
This is more of a concern in humid environments or in thick soils. Crown rot may be avoided by making sure the soil drains adequately, but if they succumb to the fungus, they will swiftly wilt and perish.