This gold and purple combination offers long season interest for a shady spot. It depends on the foliage of these two plants and begins in spring when the variegated hakone grass emerges and the evergreen ajuga warms up and takes on his new coat. The dynamic pairing continues into the fall when the grass foliage takes on a pink tinge and ceases when cold weather and frost push the plants into dormancy. An added bonus is the spikes of blue flowers that emerge from the low growing foliage of ajuga in late spring to early summer. Both plants do well in sun in cool climates to light shade and moist, well-drained soil.
Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) ‘Black Scallop’
This stoloniferous perennial is quick growing and forms an attractive ground cover. The leaves of ‘Black Scallop’ are produced in rosettes, have scalloped margins, and are deep maroon-purple to almost black. The small fragrant flowers are dark violet and clustered in spikes that stand well above the foliage. The best leaf color is developed in sun.
Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer
Size: 4-6” h x 6-24” W
Hardiness: Zones 4-9
Variegated Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra) ‘Aureola’
A native of Japan, this perennial grass will brighten a shady spot and provide movement with gentle breezes. Its delicate leaves arch gracefully and have longitudinal soft yellow and green stripes. Grown in more shade, the yellow stripe turns lime green. In late summer to fall, inconspicuous yellow-green flowers are produced in spiklets. The plant is slow growing but ultimately forms large clumps.
Bloom Time: Late summer to fall
Size: 12-18” H x 18” W
Hardiness: Zones 7-9 (6 with protection)