Ajuga 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. Ajuga Chocolate Chip 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:
  • Ajuga Chocolate Chip 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.

UPDATE: Want to see how I’ve designed with this ground cover? Read here.

21 thoughts on “Ajuga Chocolate Chip

  1. Gatsbys Gardens

    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!


  2. Sue

    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.

  3. Janet, The Queen of Seaford

    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.

  4. l

    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?

  5. ONG

    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.

  6. Jessica Hunter

    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?

    1. Anonymous

      Their roots expand under the ground and they send runners over the soil. They do the work for you.

  7. MarW

    I love Chocolate Chip. I can’t tell you how many times complete strangers walking down my street have stopped and told me how beautiful my “blue flowers” are. They are workhorses. They grow easily. They are hardy and hard to kill (not that I’ve tried). They are too good to be true. I’m trying to find something similar to plant— I can’t have an entire acre with just Chocolate Chip Ajuga. Or can I…???

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      MarW – I have also incorporated ‘Burgundy Glow’ and love the foliage even more and to date, doesn’t seem to be as aggressive as ‘Chocolate Chip’. Thanks for reaching out!

  8. Trish

    I have some chocolate chip that was doing great but then some weed killer was dribbled on each of four hills containing nine plants each (by the yard guy, accidentally) and the plant turned yellow and began to die. I thought it would stop there but gradually others in each hill also began to die. I live in Tennessee and we have had an extremely wet summer, especially the month of August. I am wondering what is going on. I have new plants to put in the same bed in other areas but have hesitated to plant them. When I have dug out the dead plants there has been a white substance in the soil underneath them. Other chocolate chip plants that I have in containers in the yard are still doing well with the same amount of rain and varying levels of sun and shade. Thanks.

    1. Maggie

      I’ve accidentally dribbled some Round Up on one of my chocolate chips; I immediately poured water over the plant though in hopes of washing it off. It doesn’t seem like its been negatively affected so far. Same can be said for the other chocolate chip plants around the garden (there’s an invasive weed I’m trying to get rid of so the the Round Up has been sprayed EVERYWHERE). Maybe it has more to do with the white substance under the soil?

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