Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’
Ajuga reptans L. is the accepted scientific name for this plant. It was first described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew currently lists 70 accepted species of Ajuga.
The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ was introduced to the trade by Valfredda Nursery of Italy where it was sold under the name Ajuga x tenorii ‘Valfredda’. Although the original cultivar name is ‘Valfredda’ it is commonly sold in the U.S. under the name ‘Chocolate Chip’. There are websites that list this cultivar as Ajuga x tenorii ‘Chocolate Chip’
I bought my Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ from Lowe’s in 2010, possibly 2009. Apparently, I didn’t take many photos of them as I only have a couple during the few years I lived in Mississippi.
When I was getting ready to move back to Missouri in February 2013, I loaded 3 pots with as many Ajuga as I could stuff in them.
USEFUL PLANT INFORMATION:
ZONES: USDA 4-9
SPACING: Plant 4-6 inches apart
BLOOM TIME: May-June
LIGHT: Full sun to part shade
SOIL: Average, well-drained
Ajuga are very easy to grow plants in average, well-drained soil with medium moisture. They should not be planted in heavy, wet soils. Information suggests they will tolerate full sun, but I find mine have done the best in part shade. If they like their environment they will spread forever. Their flower stems should be removed after they flower to keep them tidy looking.
When I lived in Mississippi I had a problem with crown rot one year. I read this can be a problem in humid conditions of the south. Ajuga needs plenty of good air circulation and should be thinned out on occasion. If you have never grown Ajuga before, you will learn the ropes.
I would suggest not planting Ajuga in areas where you could have an issue with a plant that likes to spread. Because they will spread! If that is what you want, however, then this is the plant for you as it will provide an awesome ground cover.
The above photo is the same clump as in the third photo that was taken on 5-14-13. That will give you an idea of how well they spread to nicely fill in an area.
Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ is evergreen so even in the winter they are there letting you know that spring is right around the corner.
I planted a few around this tree and they are doing very well. I removed the grass AFTER I took this photo. Soon the Ajuga will be thick enough that even the grass will be crowded out. That gives me an idea to plant them around all the trees. Sometimes, even where grass won’t grow in a lot of shade, ground covers such as Ajuga will thrive.
This is the same patch of Ajuga as in the photo before. As you can see, even without flowers, this Bugleweed cultivar still looks great! Very dark green leaves with a bronze tint.
Cooler weather was approaching and fall was upon is. Soon, winter would be here and we would be waiting for another spring.
We had a very cold January. Several days the first of the month the temp went down to -10° F. I noticed several bare spots where several plants didn’t make it.
As warmer days started lasting longer and day length increased, the Ajuga came back to life. Soon the bare spots where some of the plants died would be filled in.
The intense blue flowers with contrasting dark leaves are a welcome sight in the spring after a cold winter.
Once the flowers fade, it always a good idea to deadhead to keep the plants looking tidy.
We had a pretty severe Japanese Beetle invasion in 2018, even worse than in 2017. The shade bed is under two Chinese Elm trees and the beetles love their leaves. The above photo taken on July 8 shows the leaves from the elm tree. They were even worse than that by the time the leaves stopped falling.
With so many leaves gone from the elm trees, the part shade areas turned to light shade. The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ doesn’t mind the extra light but they require more water. It has been very hot and dry on top of that.
The Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ are some of the first perennials to show new growth as temps start warming up. The plants in the above photo were under snow. A few feet away, the large colony around an elm tree were still mostly brown and there was no snow on them.
I took photos of the plants next to the elm tree a few days after the above photo. They are greening up a little and had some new growth. The patch along the north side of the chicken are about the same.
By the time the above photo was taken on April 7 the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ was beginning to bud.
By April 20 several of the patches of Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ are beginning to flower while a few are still in bud.
They spread rapidly by stolons, although websites state not as rapidly as other cultivars. GEEZ! Glad I didn’t buy any of those! I first planted them in “new” bed under the Ligustrum tree next to the library at the mansion. As it spread, I moved new plants to a bed behind the den under a Crape Myrtle tree. It was a pretty big space and is where my Hosta was also growing. I just kept adding more Ajuga from time to time and they did well here. Umm… I didn’t take this photo… I borrowed it. I sold the mansion to a group of folks that turned the mansion into The Thompson House Bed and Breakfast in Leland, Mississippi, and this photo is on their website. You can check out The Thompson House Bed & Breakfast by clicking HERE.
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.