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Ground cover plants must live up to their name and cover bare areas and reduce weeds. In addition, their job description includes spreading well and being ornamental.

It is somewhat easier to find ground covers that grow well in sun, but shady areas especially under large trees, are more problematic. Dry shade is particularly difficult.


Laminate and epimediums can often be grown in dry shade and ajuga reptans. Reptans, meaning creeping, will grow well in sun or part shade. It is a mat forming plant and has handsome foliage, which is evergreen in mild climates. Plants should be spaced six inches apart for fast overage. When established, this plant will really stifle weeds.

There are a number of varieties and one," burgundy glow," has interesting color. In late spring, ajuga produces spikes of blue flowers. There is also a white, ajuga reptans called "alba."

A Bugle Weed a Day...

The common name for ajuga is bugle weed. The sap from this plant was once used medicinally to stop bleeding as it contains tannin. There was an old saying that " he who has the bugleweed has no need of a surgeon."

All ground covers have a tendency to be aggressive once they become established in a spot they like, so think carefully before you plant any ground cover, though ajuga is attractive and better behaved than most.

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