Carpet bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) is a perennial evergreen herbaceous plant from the mint family. It is used as a ground cover in many places due to its invasive qualities (source).
Carpet bugleweed generally spreads rather quickly at about 12 inches (30 cm) per year under suitable conditions. The plant spreads out even faster through underground runners that grow new shoots, which can also spread at the same rate as the mother plant.
While there are many different types of Carpet Bugleweed, most of them follow the same trend when it comes to their growth. I will share about the other species of Ajuga reptans and the advantages or drawbacks of growing them.
Carpet Bugleweed Species and How Fast They Spread
Below is a list of the various types of carpet bugleweed, along with some general information and the speed with which they spread.
Ajuga reptans ‘Blueberry Muffin’ is a type of carpet bugleweed with beautiful blue or lavender flowers and a thick growth of lush green leaves. They need to be watered regularly and grow best in shady places.
These plants grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and spread up to about 1 foot (30 cm) across. They spread rather quickly and can be used in areas where grass doesn’t grow as easily (source).
Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ is a kind of carpet bugleweed with scalloped leaves that are nearly black and have a glossy finish. These plants also grow deep blue flowers. They grow well in dark and shady areas.
They are low-lying plants and grow only about 6 inches (15 cm) tall and spread around 3 feet (90 cm). Black Scallops, in comparison to most other bugleweeds, grow and spread much slower.
Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’ is a variety of carpet bugleweed that grows spikes. They form giant leaves with a purplish-bronze color and violet-blue flowers that grow on those spikes.
They do well in spots where partial sunlight is present. The spikes of these plants, bearing the flowers and leaves, grow about 1 foot (30 cm) in length and almost 2 feet (60 cm) in span. They grow relatively fast and form a strikingly beautiful ground cover.
Ajuga reptans ‘Bronze Beauty’ is best identified by the stark contrast between its leaves and flowers’ colors. These plants have beaming blue flowers and leaves with a gorgeous bronze hue.
They require partial sunlight to grow well. Bronze Beauties, just like Black Scallops, are ground-hugging and grow up to a height of 5 inches (12.7 cm) and span up to about 1 foot (30 cm). They have a spread rate that is neither too fast nor too slow.
Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ is another low-laying carpet bugleweed variety. This plant has earthy chocolate brown leaves that are shaped like ovals. The flowers are a stark contrast, having a purplish-blue tinge.
They grow in areas with a significant amount of shade. They are extremely short in height, growing only up to about 3 inches (7.5 cm), and have a relatively small span, spreading only around 9 inches (22.9 cm). The speed of their spreading around is pretty high.
Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’ is best known for its vibrant tri-colored foliage. These plants have beautiful leaves that are a swirl of burgundy and green, engulfed in a cream-colored halo that can be seen at the edges of each singular leaf. The flowers of these plants are the signature blue.
They also grow close to the ground and stand only 6 inches (15 cm) tall. Their span is also at the smaller end, with a diameter of about 10 inches (25.4 cm). Its growth rate is slower than most of its other counterparts.
Ajuga reptans ‘Purple Brocade’ is a kind of carpet bugleweed that can be identified by its unique-looking leaves. The leaves are deep green with a deep purple rim, while the flowers have varying hues of indigo color. This is another short variety, with a reach of only about 8 inches (20 cm) in height.
As far as their spread goes, they span about 2 feet (60 cm). They prefer partially shady conditions for growth. Purple Brocades grow and spread at a medium pace (source).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Carpet Bugleweed
Carpet bugleweeds are excellent plants to grow if you want sufficient ground cover. There are also different varieties to choose from if you are looking for a particular color to match the aesthetics of your garden.
However, these plants can have many benefits as they can have downsides, especially in a well-manicured garden.
Let’s go through some of the advantages and disadvantages of growing carpet bugleweeds to help you decide whether or not to use them as ground covers.
- They are evergreen plants and hence do not die in the winter, unlike regular grass.
- They do not require much attention or maintenance, making them a feasible choice for people with little time to spare.
- Some types of carpet bugleweed can grow in areas with little sunlight available.
- They come in a variety of colors and are hence highly decorative.
- They generally have dense growth and spread out quite far, making them a highly efficient ground cover that can suppress weeds.
- The fast growth rate of some varieties of carpet bugleweed makes them hard to control, manage, and groom.
- They are considered invasive in nature. For instance, in places where they’re not native, they can choke out and destroy local plants.
- Many types of carpet bugleweed need to be kept moist and don’t do well in dry areas.
- All parts of carpet bugleweed plants are toxic upon ingestion, making them unsafe for people with children and pets.
An area of great interest when it comes to carpet bugleweed is the pace at which they spread. In general, various carpet bugleweed species spread relatively fast. However, some types, such as the Black Scallop, grow slower than others.
There are a number of other varying qualities that can be attributed to the different kinds of carpet bugleweed. It helps to keep them in mind before choosing to use them as ground cover.