Ajuga 'Sparkler'
Common Name: bugleweed
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils with good drainage, but tolerates moderately dry ones. Will grow in full shade, but best foliage color usually occurs in part-sun locations (at least 3-4 hours of sun per day). Provide good air circulation in hot and humid areas where crown rot is a problem. Divide plants if they become overcrowded. This low-growing bugleweed will spread in the garden by stolons to form an attractive, mat-like ground cover. Plants may be cut back to the ground after flowering, if necessary, to rejuvenate the foliage. Large plantings may be mowed on a high mower setting to remove spent flower spikes and to tidy the appearance of the planting. Space plants 6-9” apart for prompt cover.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ajuga is a genus of about 40 species from temperate Europe and Asia.

Genus name origin is unclear.

Specific epithet means creeping.

‘Sparkler’ is a variegated bugleweed that forms a dense ground cover in part-shade areas of the landscape. Plants typically grow to only 3" tall, but spread outward over time to 12-18" wide or more. Tiny, narrow, dark green leaves (to 2" long) are splashed with creamy white. Plants are semi-evergreen in the southern areas of their growing range and deciduous in the far northern areas. Two-lipped, bright blue flowers (typical mint family) bloom in spring (late April - June). U.S. Plant Patent Applied For (PPAF).

Problems

Crown rot can be a problem, particularly in the humid conditions of the deep South and in heavy soils. Avoid planting in wet, heavy soils, provide good air circulation and divide when clumps become overcrowded. Also avoid planting near perennial beds or lawns where its spreading nature could pose removal problems.

Garden Uses

Primary use is as a ground cover. Will fill in large, shady areas where lawns are difficult to establish. May also be planted on banks or slopes, under trees or around shrubs. Can be planted over spring bulbs such as snowdrops (Galanthus). Avoid planting adjacent to lawn areas since little islands of ajuga may start appearing in the grass. Good for small spaces, containers and rock gardens.