Please help with Bugleweed!

bgaviator(7)May 15, 2012

I planted 12 small Chocolate Chip Ajuga that I picked up at a local nursery and planted it on a hill that runs along the side of the house. It is an east facing hill, and gets a decent amount of sun, but not what I would call "full sun" as the house blocks some of the sun's full force. I thought Bugleweed would be good for this application. I have been giving the plants a light watering almost every night, and today when I looked at the plants, about 4 of them have almost wilted away to nothing! What's possibly going on here? Too much sun? Soil drying out too much? The ones that seem to be wilting are the ones planted closest to the house, where the soil for some reason is much drier and sandier than the rest of the hill. What can I do to save them??

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actually....I would like to revise what I said...I would go ahead and say this hill is in fact more full-sun than anything. Is this what is killing my Bugleweed? Should I forget about Bugleweed and plant something else? I wanted something extremely fast growing/spreading....and looks nice, with possible flowers in the spring/summer. Vinca was first suggested to me by the nursery, but I went with Bugleweed instead.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 5:28PM
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just fyi,
I think I may have just been overwatering the plants...especially since it's been very cool here in Ohio at night lately (mid 40s).....I haven't watered the Bugleweed in 3 days and it seems to be doing a little better actually. One of the plants that was shriveled almost to nothing seems to be coming back.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 4:39AM
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Can anyone please help me save my Bugleweed plants? I have spent a lot of money (by my standards) on them, and half of them seem to be dead or dying off. I am stumped. If I don't water, I seem to kill them....if I water, I seem to kill them. I looked at one today and it was shrivled up and dried....I went to touch what was left of the leaves, and they just crumbled. Here are some pics of what I'm working with....hopefully you can make out what I'm working with.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:32PM
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What is the state of this soil? It looks like a sort of backfill environment, and very dry and/or rocky. It is a good possibility that the roots have not taken well to the soil, or it is too poor to retain or allow nutrients to flow, or water for that matter. I would consider amending this soil, even if its easier to just do it on top, that may help but erosion looks like a problem as well.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 1:42PM
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yes, the soil isn't the best. It's pretty compact in a lot of areas, but I have had a lot of the Ajuga dying in areas where I have loosened the soil and amended with compost.
I just I was just under the impression from what I read about Ajuga being aggressive and a fast spreader, that it would kick butt in no matter what type of soil conditions I put it in. I don't have a small tiller, and doing it by hand was not something I was really wanting to do. I guess I made the mistake thinking this stuff was pretty carefree.
My local garden center manager who seems pretty knowledgeable says she just thinks it's an under-watering problem, however I have stuck my finger into the soil next to the plants, and the soil feels pretty moist to me. Could I be over-watering Ajuga? The ones that die off the leaves seem to wilt and start laying flat on the ground, then they eventually have turned brown and crumble into nothing.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Well I started putting my hillside on a timed sprinkler for 25 mins every morning. The weather has also really cooled down here in Ohio. Almost all of my Ajuga has started perking up and looking really good. We are supposed to have a good solid week of cooler temps, so I hope that combined with the frequent watering will help continue to get these plants established.
Do you think once the Ajuga is established though, and it's roots take hold, do you think it will still have a problem with wilting and dying out on really hot days?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 7:42PM
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So the last couple of days here in Ohio it had been very cloudy, cool, and sporadically rainy. I decided to kill the morning watering for a few days to give the plants a break just to see what happens. The Ajuga Chocolate Chip seemed to thrive better in the cloudy, cooler conditions. I hadn't watered them for a couple of days, and last night I observed some of them were flopping over already. Yes it was sunny, but not overly only got into the mid to upper 70s. Is this plant just still trying to get established, and will be easier to maintain once it gets better rooted, or is this plant going to be trouble for me to maintain for as long as I have it? I certainly hope I won't have to have it on a timed sprinkler every single day just to keep it maintained!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 5:20AM
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    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 4:53PM
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I am by no means an Ajuga expert, but I also love the plant and have had good luck with it in several locations. When I lived in Georgia, I planted some under pine trees along a pathway and it thrived - when I tried to transplant some to a neighbor it didn't do too well. Never did figure out why.

Now I live in the Utah desert (Z6) and have it planted in a South facing bed by the house and in between paved walkways. It does incredibly well with full sun and is spreading like crazy - which was the point. It even sends up flower spikes on and off all summer, which never happened in Georgia. It still has problems with the extreme South side of the walkway, and I've tried to transplant some several times to that location only to have it dry up and die in the reflected heat of the pavement. So now, I have Moss Rose growing there and it loves that location.

Hopefully your Ajuga is doing better now and is thriving. Candy

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 4:15PM
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It has been doing better since I have put out a sprinkler, on a timer for every other day for 30 mins in the morning. I was just kind of hoping that once it gets established it won't have to be watered regularly.....this is my in-law's house, and I know darn well they won't take the time to water anything.

You can see the Ajuga in the hill. Not as "fast" growing as I thought it would be. I guess to me I was thinking "fast" would mean that it would cover the hill in just 1 season, but the more I read it seems like it might be a few years before it's covered.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 7:52AM
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Great looking transformation. Ajuga will establish in moist soil, but not dry, so that could be difference. It spreads more after blooming. I can't see from the pic, but you might be noticing the spread will increase in later summer and fall before frost. It dislikes heat and dry soil. Give it light mulch, but not smothering. It will root in the mulch. It roots in my rocky soil, dry river rock creekbed, other pots, etc. Just keep an eye on it and move the runners that might be on top of each other. They do better if they can touch the soil.

When I plant it in spring about 8-12inches apart it covers the area almost touching in fall. By spring when it starts growing again with larger leaves it has filled the area. We have a rainy season 9 months of the year, so that helps.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 8:46PM
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Going back over some of my older threads, I thought I would post a follow up picture and status of my Chocolate Chip Ajuga even though this thread is a year old. As you can see after just one year it has grown tremendously! I never knew it would be this showy with blooms either. The only problem I have now is that a couple of my clumps start to brown, and completely die. Not sure why this happens to only certain plants.

1 Like    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 6:44AM
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I have large 2 beds total covered in chocolate chip ajuga that is about 3 years old. For the last 2 months, they just keep drying up and dying from the inside towards the outside of the beds. I thought I might have hit a very small area with roundup but it just keeps dying. Any suggestion since I thought it was a no fail plant (except for roundup).

I have it on irrigation that I run every 3 - 5 days in NE Georgia.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 8:06PM
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bgaviator: I know your follow-up picture is from more than a year ago, but thank you for this! I love seeing the progress of plants.

KrisHanna: Are the plants becoming too crowded? I know that when my ajuga grew, they began to bunch. The bigger bunches began to turn brown and not thrive, as well. Once I divided clumps, the ajuga began to thrive again.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 1:25PM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

Wow! Loved seeing your progress pictures. I am going to be getting some Chocolate Chip Ajuga for sure now!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 1:48PM
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