Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ajuga (Bugleweed) 'Chocolate Chip'

A wise man once said:

"Not all plants can be heroes. We need some to do the dirty work like fill in tough areas and/or suppress weeds. If they bloom and look nice, then all the better". 

Who said it? Well that would be ... yours truly. And I just made it up as I typed this paragraph. Maybe some day someone else will use this riveting quote and I can tell my grandchildren about it. A man can only dream. 

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' owns the distinction of being the plant I have the most of in my garden to date; about 35-40 last time I counted:           

This groundcover is so easily divided in spring/summer/fall that I only had to purchase three of these and all others are subsequent divisions. Some other bits of info for you:

  • Typically 3-4" tall and 12-18" wide. It is a dwarf/miniature ajuga and "knock on wood", doesn't appear to be too invasive like the rest of their kin.  
  • Can be grown in zones 4-9.
  • Here in New Jersey, zone 6B, it blooms in May and puts on one mother of a show:  




  • Does fine in full sun where for me, it tends to lean more green:

  • And works in half sun/half shade where the better "chocolate" foliage shines through:
  • Is deer and rabbit resistant.
  • While this bugleweed prefers well draining soil, I can attest to the fact it has survived serious water logged soil the past two winters.
  • In the late spring, I cut back the fading blooms and the foliage eventually takes center stage:     

  • I like to think it offers three seasons of interest as it still looks good when the frosts hit in mid to late Autumn:

While most of my Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' plants are young (2-3 years), they are already filling in empty spaces in the front of my garden beds with ease. Most importantly, they are successfully choking out the weeds like a champ. Give it another year or two, and I'll have 100 of these. Yes, I like them that much.


John  







13 comments:

  1. I like Chocolate Chip Also and it bloomed like crazy last summer. However, this spring I thought it was dead, not a bit in sight. Then all of a sudden in mid spring I see it sprouting in between the stone walk. A friend of mine had the same thing happen. It is beautiful now, growing well but never did bloom this year. Maybe it was the huge amount of snow we had!

    Eileen

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  2. Don't cringe---I tore a BUNCH of that up when we moved to a rental--the owner wanted the yard "cleaned up". I had never seen it before, and they didn't say anything. Lesson learned.

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  3. Hi John,
    Ajuga is one of my favorite ground covers. I just finished a post that I plan to publish this week on the same topic!

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  4. It does look good all throughout your post. With flowers, green, brown and with frost. No wonder you want more.

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  5. you always make everything look great!! will you remember us when your famous?!?

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  6. Chocolate chip is ok....I love Burgundy Glow....lots of color variety from pink to white to burgundy to green....after that gorgeous blue bloom. Didn't do well (all disappeared) along my lower yard. Have the dark leafed one --maybe Bronze Beauty? in the sunnier part of the yard and doing quite well.

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  7. I have wanted this Chocolate Chip for a long time, but was scared off by the labels that said "shade plant". I have no shade. But here you go, saying it grows for you in sun and tempting me with your beautiful photos. I may try it after all. It really does ok (blooms, spreads?) for you in sunny spots?

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  8. Lovely lovely ground cover indeed. Always an asset to the landscape especially when in full bloom. Kinda shows off. :)

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  9. I used to have a few of these, but they disappeared seemingly overnight...maybe they got too wet last winter :-(

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  10. Gatsby - I've never had them disappear yet, they just keep on keepin on.

    Sue - tough one to swallow but will let it pass this time.

    Zoey - great minds think alike; will look out for your post.

    Debbie - the magic of the camera, can hide all the flaws with ease!

    Janet - I'm ready to try some others and Burgundy Glow is atop that list.

    I - I can attest that it works in full sun; full refund from me if it doesn't.

    Katy - the blooms are intense when in mass and they never looked better than this past spring.

    Scott - some how mine have survived serious wetness but maybe that was pure luck.

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  11. I think I might have to keep an eye out for this in the nurseries.

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  12. Looks awesome. I'm pretty happy with of the A. reptans and A. genevensis in my Tennessee garden (http://www.gardenofaaron.com/2013/09/groundcover-review-ajuga-bugleweed.html).

    Thinking I may have to add some Chocolate Chip this winter...

    Thanks for your write-up!

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  13. Question! How rapid does it grow? I just bought 5 little ones from Home depot and put them where I want them to cover but it looks like it'll take forever!!! Also How soon can you divide them? and do you every cut them back? like a hosta?

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