Growing Ajugas in Containers-Growing this Colourful Perennial

Ajuga reptans are colourful container plants
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In this article, we will be discussing how to grow Ajugas in containers. It is such a beautiful plant but in the ground bugleweed as it is commonly known can become a menace, where it can take over the ground it is planted in. It is a low growing plant, a carpeting or matting plant that has beautiful foliage and in spring wonderful blue spikes of flowers appear. The leaves are colourful and come from a short rosette of leaves. I personally think the leaves are better than the blooms, but together they complement each other.

Ajuga reptans are colourful container plants
Ajuga reptans are colourful container plants

You notice I said it is a spreader, growing through runners that spread by the nodes that are produced. This is why if you want to contain this rampant plant that you grow it in a container. In this article, you will find out how to do this. They are great on their own or grown together with other colourful plants in a large container.

 GOES WELL WITH MANY OTHER PLANTS

It is an unfussy plant as well as very adaptive. The colourful leaves will certainly brighten up a spring to summer display. A plant that will fill the need especially if you have a spot in the light shade to cover.  Try combining Ajuga with flowering plants like Achilleas, Campanulas, Coreopsis or Geraniums or mixed with other foliage plants like Heucheras, Ferns, Hostas or Pulmonarias.

The plant will do well in containers as they do not mind being confined in a container as long as it is free-draining and the compost has plenty of organic matter.

Ajugas not only add colour to complement with green leafy specimens and other plants that have not flowered. It complements them and it does not compete, the leaves are round, often green or purple and tinged with brown, bronze and variegated with pink, green, white and even silver. Although most have blue flowers, there are varieties that have pink blooms, so that you can have a whole spectrum of colours in the leaves and blooms.

If you want a truly stunning display for light shade, you can use a large container to which a Houttunyia and Brunnera have been added along with an Ajuga. This will give a colourful leaves display that is hard to beat.

 HOW TO PLANT AJUGAS IN CONTAINERS

It is generally easy to plant Ajuga, all you need is a container with plenty of drainage holes at the bottom. As Ajugas need the compost to be moist especially at the beginning, I would use just plain multipurpose compost and no additives.

Fill the container full of multipurpose compost and dig a hole slightly larger than the original root ball size it came in the container you bought it in. Make sure it is at the same level as it came in the original housing- no shallower or deeper. Backfill the plant and fill any gaps with more compost. Firm the plant in and water well to settle the compost.

Ajuga reptans 'Bronze Beauty'
Ajuga reptans ‘Bronze Beauty’

Make sure in the first year, it is well-watered so that the plant will grow well and establish quickly. Make sure that it is watered well, especially in dry periods.

Give the plant a spring feed with a slow-release fertilizer to help it get through the growing season.  Halfway through at the beginning of June, you may find it beneficial to give a feed of liquid fertilizer especially so if the plant looks ragged.

 WILL BECOME DROUGHT TOLERATE AFTER A YEAR

After a year the plant with take bouts of dryness but it will still need to be watered regularly. Any runners can be removed and be planted in another container to propagate it and to keep the number of plants growing in the container under control. This will stop the pot from getting overcrowded. Once it has finished flowering the flowering spike can be removed or you can leave them on to give winter interest.

To protect the crown from severe cold, it is best to mulch with a layer of straw. In early spring, this mulch will need to be removed and allow the new foliage and rosettes to grow easier.

PESTS AND DISEASES

Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop
Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop

New plants are susceptible to powdery mildew especially if the compost is allowed to dry out for any period of time. It is best to treat this with sprays that are suitable for ornamental plants and can keep this fungal infection under control.

Young shoots can be affected with aphids and so are best dealt with by spraying the plant with a hose of water. This can then be followed by using a suitable insecticide that deals with these pests.

 VARIETIES TO GROW

The most common species to grow in containers is Ajuga reptans and several varieties can be grown. The best varieties include the deep purples such as ‘Black Scallop’ and ‘Burgundy Glow’ that has beautiful green/ light green leaves and pastel-coloured flowers.

Others include ‘Carlin’s Giant’ and the Colourful ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Party Colours’. Ajuga reptans f. albiflora ‘Alba’ forms dense mats of evergreen foliage that makes a superb ground cover. From late spring to early summer, Ajuga reptans f. albiflora ‘Alba’ is decorated with small white flower spikes that will brighten even the darkest corner of your garden.

CONCLUSIONS

In this article, we have discussed how to grow Ajugas in a container. They are wonderful plants that produce wonderful colourful leaves often with great and distinctive markings and flowers of blue and pink. They tend to be easy to grow and easy to look after, as long as you are prepared to water in dry spells and give an annual feed.

You have many choices but no matter what you do choose, this is a useful plant to have in containers.

If you have any questions and comments on growing Ajugas in containers, please do so in the comment box below.

Happy Ajuga growing.


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