How to grow it

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Garden Market -

What can I grow un­der my pine tree? It’s a ques­tion we are of­ten asked and our ad­vice is al­ways trum­peted loud and clear – or per­haps I should say bu­gled.

Ajuga, or bu­gle­weed as it is more com­monly re­ferred to, is at­trac­tive, hardy, quick to spread, rel­a­tively main­te­nance free and grows won­der­fully un­der pines and other ev­er­greens. It is an ideal cover for those ar­eas where the lawn just does not pros­per.

A creep­ing ground­cover, ajuga (Ajuga rep­tans), can quickly fill in large ar­eas with its run­ners, even chok­ing out weeds with its pretty fo­liage colour and blooms. Most bu­gle­weed flow­ers are bluish or pur­ple, but you can also find white and pink flow­er­ing va­ri­eties. When it comes to fo­liage, you will find that bu­gle­weed of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of op­tions, from cop­per to pur­ple coloured leaves, as well as several var­ie­gated va­ri­eties.

This shady char­ac­ter thrives in moist shade but will do just as well in the sun. When planted in sunny spots, its leaves are a lit­tle less full and it may take it a lit­tle longer to spread but it will re­ward with more flow­ers. While it prefers moist acidic soil, ajuga isn’t overly fussy in that depart­ment ei­ther. In fact un­less it is planted in full sun, it will likely do just

fine with rain­wa­ter, un­less you have a ma­jor drought.

Ajuga is best planted in early spring, but the only real re­quire­ment is that you not plant it too deeply. Soil on top of the crown may lead to rot­ting and plant death. Hardy in zones 3 through 9, bu­gle­weed is a long bloomer. Once es­tab­lished it will be­gin bloom­ing in early spring un­til mid-july, grow­ing up to six inches in height and nine inches when bloom­ing.

Once es­tab­lished you will find this low grow­ing beauty re­quires lit­tle care. A mem­ber of the mint fam­ily, it makes an ex­cel­lent ground cover but will need to be con­tained. The plant prop­a­gates through self-seed­ing and run­ners. Re­mov­ing the run­ners or lift­ing them and redi­rect­ing them to ar­eas you want the plant to fill in will help keep it from get­ting out of con­trol. Run­ners are also eas­ily re­planted in other lo­ca­tions. To en­sure the health of the plant and re­duce the like­li­hood of crown rot, plants should be dug up and di­vided ev­ery three years or so.

Should your var­ie­gated plant be­gin grow­ing non-var­ie­gated fo­liage, re­move the non-vari­gated leaves to pre­vent the plant from re­vert­ing back to its orig­i­nal green form.

Of­ten over­looked, this pretty ground­cover makes a bril­liant ad­di­tion to any shade gar­den. Bu­gle­weed is also a ter­rific ad­di­tion to con­tain­ers, rock gar­dens, bor­ders and wood­lands. It is of­ten used on slopes for ero­sion con­trol. Ajuga at­tracts but­ter­flies, hum­ming­birds and pol­li­na­tors, but is un­palat­able to deer.

Wel­come a lit­tle bu­gle­weed in your gar­den this sum­mer and fill in those shady empty spa­ces that are cur­rently de­void of life!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.