Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Bugleweed)

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip' is a very popular plant used for ground cover in gardens and other parts of landscaping. It's regularly used around residential and commercial properties because it's a colorful, very attractive, easy to grow, versatile perennial.

Beloved By Gardeners

Beginner and expert gardeners love the plant because it's beautiful, spreads quickly, can cover bald spots in gardens, lawns and landscaping and is very effective when used to smoother and get rid of weeds. Simply planting it in an area, helps eliminate weeds.

Affordable And Colorful

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' is inexpensive and can transform any area by blanketing it with a plethora of tiny blue, flowers and green, burgundy and chocolate brown foliage. Just invest a few dollars once and its vibrant colors will carpet your yard for years.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)
Passion Fruit Vine (Passiflora edulis)

Passion Fruit Vine (Passiflora edulis)

Plant Family And Origin

Originating in Europe, the Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip' is a member of the family of plants with the scientific name Lamiaceae. The exact origin of the plant's genus name is unclear, but the epithet reptans or “creeping” aptly conveys its tendency to spread.

Known By Many Names

This attractive and popular plant has many names in Europe and the United States. Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip' is also known as Bugleweed, Common Bugle, Blue Bugle, Creeping Bugleweed, St. Lawrence Plant, Carpet Weed, Carpet Bugle and Bugle Herb.

Valfreda: A Specially Cultivated Version

One of the unique, specialized names for Ajuga reptans Chocolate Chip is Valfredda. It is the name given to an iteration of the plant one cultivar created. The version of Ajuga Chocolate Chip called 'Valfredda' was developed in Italy's Valfredda nursery.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

A Widely Naturalized Herbaceous Perennial

In the U.S. Ajuga Chocolate Chip is a widely naturalized herbaceous perennial. Several different types can be found in specially landscapes and growing wild in many areas of the United States, spread far and wide by wind, water and birds.

A Hardy Plant Family

Although the specially cultivated 'Valfredda' version of the Ajuga Chocolate Chip is seen as being more valuable and more thought is usually given to its cultivation and care than its wild, naturalized cousins, all the members of the plant family are hardy.

Simple, Straightforward Care

One reason for the popularity of Ajuga Chocolate Chip among people with a wide array of skill levels is because caring for it is so easy. For Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants to thrive, all they need to get is soil, water, some sunshine and simple, basic, care.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)


Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants do well when treated like a wildflower. In hot spring and summer temperature, water the plant deeply once a week or so. Depending on the climate, the plant may need watering deeply once a month in fall and winter.

Feeding And Fertilizing

You don't need to feed or fertilize the Ajuga Chocolate Chip plant unless it's in very poor soil. If so, use a weak mix of liquid fertilizer solution. Apply it in the morning and water it thoroughly immediately afterwards.

The Right Soil

It's possible for Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants to flourish in almost any type of soil. However, the plant does particularly well when grown in soil that's of medium moisture, has lots of humus and that's well drained.

Helxine Soleirolii (Baby's Tears)

Helxine Soleirolii (Baby’s Tears)

Transplanting Ajuga Chocolate Chip Plants

When you are in the process of putting Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants so they can become established, put the plants about a foot apart. If you want them to create groundcover very quickly, then put the plants between 6 and 9 inches apart.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

The Best Spacing For Humid Climates

If the area where you plan to plant your Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants is very humid, you should leave a little more space between them. The proper spacing between the plants allows for better air circulation and increases the plants' growth rate.

Grooming The Plants

Once the flowers have finished blooming, trim the bed of groundcover as close to the ground as possible. Research has shown that when gardeners cut back the groundcover, it helps rejuvenate the plant's foliage and leads to healthier growth.

Two Valuable Maintenance Tips

When using Ajuga Chocolate Chip as a lawn replacement, put your lawn mower on its high setting when mowing it. This removes all of the spent and dying flower spikes and helps to give your groundcover a neat, tidy, uniform appearance.

Maintaining Variegated Ajuga Chocolate Chip Groundcover

If what you're using for groundcover is the variegated form of the Ajuga Chocolate Chip plant, then you should be vigilantly looking out to see if there are any non-variegated leaves growing in your groundcover. If they begin to appear, then remove them promptly.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

Size And Growth

Individual Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants are usually between 3 and 4 inches tall, with a compact, dwarf growth habit. Typically, the plants have a spread that's less than 12 inches tall. The dense growth of the foliage makes it ideal for smothering weed growth.

The Plant's Appearance

The chocolate-colored leaves that make up the plant's foliage are a very deep shade of brown and has burgundy highlights. The plants usually form a very dense mat made up of small, shiny, oval leaves. This helps make it an effective groundcover and looks lovely when it spills over the sides of the containers in which it's sometimes planted.

Smothers Weeds, But Can't Tolerate Foot Traffic

Many gardeners like planting Ajuga Chocolate Chip because its dense foliage can be very effective at smothering weeds and preventing them from growing. But, the plant's pretty violet-blue flowers are very delicate. This makes it unable to tolerate foot traffic.

Abelia x grandiflora (Glossy Abelia)

Abelia x grandiflora (Glossy Abelia)

A Beautiful Spring And Summer Flower

In mid-spring and early summer, the Ajugar Chocolate Chip plant produces countless very small, violet-blue flowers. It has showy whorls of blossoms that grow on eye-catching spikes that rise above the foliage. Its very attractive blooms are a magnet for bees.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

A Wonderful Fragrance

A relative of the mint plant, blooms of an Ajuga Chocolate Chip plant have a delicate, beautiful, wonderful fragrance. That's one reasons some people grow it in pots in their indoor gardens year round. The delicate scent from the blooms perfumes the air.

A Very Versatile Plant

A gorgeous and very versatile plant, the Ajuga Chocolate Chip has a wide range of uses in the landscaping and in and around any commercial or residential property. The plant can be used as ground cover, a border, edging, for fire-scaping, woodland gardens, rock gardens, cutting gardens, mass plantings and in large indoor and exterior containers.

Multiple Groundcover Uses

There are many uses for this fast-growing groundcover plant. It's an excellent choice for use as a lawn replacement. It can be used on slopes and banks to provide effective soil erosion control. Its dwarf size makes it perfect for use in hanging baskets and other small spaces.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

Accenting Gardens And Softening Edges

The attractive flowers and foliage and rapid growth habit makes an Ajuga Chocolate Chip a good candidate for use as a foliage accent in trough gardens and to soften rock edges in landscape elements like alpine and rock gardens and many other types of hardscaping.

An Ancient Medicine

One of the uses of Ajuga Chocolate Chip with which not many people are familiar is as a form of medication. In ancient times many people knew of the medicinal use of the Ajuga plant as a wound coagulant. That's how the plant got the name the "carpenter's herb".

Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' (Yarrow 'Paprika)

Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’ (Yarrow ‘Paprika)

Winter Hardiness

Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants are hardy enough to do well in the winter months throughout the U.S. It can flourish in USDA hardiness zones rated from 4 to 11. This makes it a dependable perennial that returns every year even in areas that have cold temperatures.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

Amount Of Sunshine Needed

All the members of the Ajuga reptans family tend to do well when they are in lighting conditions that range from full sun to partial shade. Gardeners find the foliage colors of the Ajuga Chocolate Chip is best when it gets about 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily.

Best Garden Styles

The beautiful blue flowers and chocolate brown, bronze, burgundy and purple foliage of this plant makes it able to work well in several different types of gardens. Gardeners rave about how gorgeous it looks in contemporary, cottage as well as rustic gardens.

Growth Habit

The growth habit of the Ajuga Chocolate Chip plant is said to be creeping or spreading at a moderate growth rate. That's why it has the Latin appellate reptans. It is of the genus Linnaeus, derived from the Latin term referring to part of the flower being "not yoked".

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

Easy To Grow

This amazing groundcover plant with its fine texture, lacy blue flower spikes, refined foliage and variety of small-space applications grows easily from seeds, cuttings and other methods of transplantation. Requiring only minimal upkeep, it reoccurs annually and spreads beautifully in mild to cold climates.

Needs Very Little Maintenance

Another reason gardeners with all level of experience and expertise love this plant is because it only needs occasional maintenance. It does not require much pruning to look great and enjoy healthy growth. The most common upkeep it requires is dieback removal.

Special Features

This plant has several special features that make it a popular choice for gardeners. It is easy to maintain and care for, cold hardy, heat tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant, fast growing, has spectacular colors, is evergreen and its flowers and foliage attract multi-season interest. It's a pest resistant season extender.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

Protecting The Plant

The Ajuga Chocolate Chip plant prefers soil that is moist and rich in organic matter, but it can tolerate moderately dry soil. However, avoid planting it too deeply or in wet, heavy soil. To prevent crown rot, don't cover the crown with soil, thin out large groupings and don't over-fertilize.

Growing And Propagation Tips

To propagate the plant, in early spring or fall, dig and divide the established clumps. This thinning out of the large crowded grouping of Ajuga Chocolate Chip should be done about every three years. The thinning out of big, crowded grouping helps keep the plant healthy and enhances propagation.

Things To Avoid Doing

Ajuga Chocolate Chip is a type of foolproof, hardy, perennial groundcover that fills in very quickly. Therefore, it is not wise to plant it too close to lawns or unedged plant beds. Make sure there is not a lot of foot traffic on your Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants.

Acanthus Mollis (Bear's Breech)

Acanthus Mollis (Bear’s Breech)

Ways To Use Ajuga Chocolate Chip Plants

This colorful, low maintenance plant makes a terrific mulch substitute. It can also be used beneath trees and shrubs where other groundcovers fail. They are ideal for use on banks and slopes, as a turf substitute in small areas, between stepping stones, near to hellebores, hostas, hydrangeas and ornamental grasses and for container gardening.

Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' (Bugleweed)

Self Propagation

The Ajuga reptans Chocolate Chip is a creeping plant with a reputation for being able to self propagate very easily. It does so by releasing extensions or underground stems called stolons. They quickly take root, establish the plant and colonize the new area.

Pest And Disease Problems

One of the most common diseases suffered by Ajuga Chocolate Chip plants is crown rot. This can happen if the plants are overcrowded, the conditions are too humid or they are planted in very heavy soil. It is drought-tolerant and impervious to most pests and diseases.

This Plant Can Be Very Invasive

The enthusiastically growing, easily naturalized, Ajuga Chocolate Chip plant is listed as having tremendous potential to quickly become invasive. To keep it contained in a garden setting, strong borders like sidewalks, driveways, patios or other hardscapes can help control its spreading with weed-like wild abandon.

A Great Choice

Ajuga Chocolate Chip with it's petite foliage is perfect for use in beds, borders, tubs and containers. It combines beautifully with any spring-flowering bulbs and can grow in soil that's normal, sandy or clay with neutral, alkaline or acid pH. Its tight-growing, wide mat of blue flowers and chocolate-colored foliage can keep weeds at bay and it is virtually maintenance-free.