Ajuga-reptans-Caitlans-GiantAjuga reptans is a low growing evergreen herbaceous perennial native to Europe where it grows in woods and poor pasture land. It is a member of the mint family, Labiatae, that also includes rosemary, bee balm, and deadnettle. The square stems with hair on two sides carry spoon-shaped leaves that are shiny and dark green tinged with purple. Whorls of dark blue flowers are carried in leafy racemes up to ten inches tall, well above the foliage from late spring to early summer. The flowers are two lipped with a lower lip that is three-lobed and veined. Bees, especially bumblebees, visit the flowers for nectar, but flower flies, ladybugs, and butterflies visit too. The nectar is particularly important to several fritillaries, skippers, and painted lady. Although the species can be invasive the cultivars are less so and offer a pleasing variety of flower color and leaf variegation.

Type: Evergreen herbaceous perennial

Size: 2-4” H (flowering stems to 10”) x 6-12” W

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained, but tolerates less)

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Beneficial Insects Attracted:Bees, bumblebees, flower flies, ladybugs, butterflies

By Karen