Ajuga reptans 'Braunherz'
Common Name: bugleweed
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Blue - purple
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, 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 is in sunny 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 when clumps become overcrowded. A fast-growing plant which will spread by stolons to form an attractive, low-growing ground cover. Larger plantings may be mowed on a high mower setting to remove spent flower spikes and to tidy the appearance of the planting. String trimmers and hedge shears are also effective for removing spent flower spikes. Space plants 6-9" apart for quick cover.

Noteworthy Characteristics

'Braunherz' is a stoloniferous, mat-forming, compact bugleweed cultivar that typically spreads to form a foliage carpet which is only 2-4" tall. This cultivar is most noted for its unusually dark foliage. It produces spreading rosettes of dark reddish-bronze oval leaves which mature to almost black. In the St. Louis area, it is essentially semi-evergreen with foliage retaining color during mild winters but depreciating significantly in harsh winters. Tiny bluish-purple, two-lipped flowers (typical mint family) appear in spring on dense spikes rising above the foliage from the rosette centers to 6" tall. When in full flower, plantings can produce a striking floral display, however this cultivar, as with most ajugas, is primarily grown for its foliage. The cultivar name of this plant is sometimes translated into English and sold by nurseries as 'Bronze Heart'.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot can be a problem, particularly in the humid conditions of the deep South and in wet, heavy soils.

Garden Uses

Best grown as a ground cover in areas where it can spread without threatening adjacent plantings. Will fill in large shady areas where lawns are difficult to establish. Also effective on banks, slopes, around trees and shrubs, and over spring flowering bulbs.