Ajuga reptans, bugleweed, is a fail proof groundcover for any sun exposure or soil type. I started with its Latin name because I always thought it sounded more patrician and better suited to this plants' sophistication.

I love bugleweed, it is a versatile plant which helped me bring back to life several locations with dry shade where few other plants thrive. It tends to get invasive in full sun exposure and rich soils.

The plant blooms freely for almost two months mid-spring, with delicate spears of lavender-blue flowers. It is especially vibrant in full sun to part shade conditions, but it will flower freely in the shade too, if only a little later.

It forms dense patches of thick foliage that stay low to the ground and turn charming shades of purple and copper when the weather gets hot and dry. The plant is beautiful all year round, and it protects its territory fiercely: there are no weeds in a bugleweed patch, it won't allow them access to the light.

Bugleweed spreads quickly, which makes it very useful as a fast groundcover, but is not difficult to uproot, if you want to tame its enthusiastic growth or move it somewhere else.

It tolerates drought, sub-zero temperatures, poor soils, shade, heavy clay, crowding, neglect, and it is pretty too. Should I say more?

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.