How to Grow Ajuga reptans Atropurpurea Plants in your Garden

Ajuga reptans Atropurpurea, more commonly known as Bugleweed, is a ground covering perennial.

Bugleweed grows well in zones 3-9; UK hardiness H7.

Bugle Weed comes from the family Lamiaceae. It has evergreen purple leaves and grows quickly.

Ajuga reptans Atropurpurea as a cover plant
Ajuga reptans Var. Atropurpurea makes for a great blanket coverage plant, photograph by Frank Vincentz; CC.

Plants typically reach about 50 cm (20 inches) in height, with a spread of about a metre (40 inches).

Used as ground covering around shrubs or in places where it is difficult for grass to grow, the bugleweed is a great option to bring in some colour. Its purple leaves look fantastic when grown beneath trees.

It is commonly seen planted along pathways as well.

In mid to late spring, blue lavender flowers begin to bloom and can stand up to 25 cm (10 inches) above the foliage.

The small flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which are always an added benefit for any garden.

Bugleweed Atropurpurea ground coverage
Bugleweed Atropurpurea can make an attractive ground coverage plant, image by Frank Vincentz; CC.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Dark Purple Bugle

Growing Ajuga reptans Atropurpurea is very simple. It can grow in many soil types as long as there is adequate drainage.

Ensure your placement for planting is far from foot traffic so this mat-forming plant can grow, spread and thrive.

It is a fast-growing plant so if it becomes too crowded or is larger than desired, it can easily be divided in spring or autumn.

This plant needs full sun to part shade, and at least 3-4 hours in full sunlight per day for best results.

Although it can survive in mostly shaded gardens but the colouring will not be as bright and vivid IN these conditions the leaves may remain greenish instead of turning purplish.

It prefers soil of medium moisture so it will require frequent watering in hot and dry climates.

In the winter, the foliage will hold its colour and will not die back. The leaves are very hardy and can withstand lower temperatures.

Ajuga reptans Atropurpurea Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Ajuga reptans Atropurpurea
  • Common Name: Dark purple bugle
  • Growing Zone: USA: 3 to 9; H7
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Herbaceous, Perennial

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 4 to 8
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 20 to 72
  • Time of Bloom: Early spring to Mid summer
  • Flower Details: Blue
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Spreading / horizontal

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: shade to partial shade partial sun
  • Rate of Growth: Quick
  • Suitable Soil Types: Adaptable, Loamy, Neutral, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Low
  • Propagation: Division. It is easy to remove rooted plantlets in spring or early autumn
  • How to Prune: None required
  • Pests: Usually trouble free
  • Diseases: Powdery mildew can be a problem

Further Information

  • Can Attract:
  • Tolerant of: Rabbit, Deer, Black Walnut
  • Best Garden Use: Border, Container, Foundation, Ground cover, En masse , Rock garden, Woodland garden
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Closely Related Species: Lavender; Self Heal; Thyme; Mint; and Russian Sage.

  • Miscellaneous: Attractive foliage, Non-native to North America, Naturalizing
  • Genus Detail: Ajuga
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

Dark purple bugle
Bronze Beauty Carpet Bugle (Ajuga Reptans) can make a great alternative plant to grow as ground coverage, or even alongside Atropurpurea, photograph by Christine Majul.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Ajuga reptans Atropurpurea. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: Ajuga Plants and Blue Bugle.