Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' invasive?

leslie6riJuly 15, 2011

Hello New Englanders,

I bought an Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' on impulse recently (because it looked so cute), without any idea of what to do with it exactly. I've never grown any Ajuga at all. Is anyone growing this one? I've read that gardeners either love Ajuga for a difficult site, or curse it for spreading everywhere they don't want it. I've also read that this particular cultivar isn't as invasive as many others and is a dwarf form. (It's adorable.) I was considering planting it in a shady bed with hostas and heucheras, hoping it would fill in between but not take over. (I'm already digging out and transplanting sweet woodruff and lily of the valley that have spread.) Does anyone have any advice to share about 'Chocolate Chip'?

Thanks.

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WendyB(5A/MA)

I am growing it in a couple of spots. I too bought it because it was so cute and not supposed to be as invasive as others.

It really moves. It will fill in very quickly

I have it in one location where it is okay by me if it spreads indefinitely. I recently put some in another location where I need it to be a little more controlled. I don't think it will be controlled in the future, but its easy enough to pull out too and contain it.

It is real pretty in bloom.

Check out Carex 'Treasure Island' to fit in between shade plants and grow slowly.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 11:35AM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Here is Chocolate Chip in 2010 after the snowplow boys had it all scraped up over the winter and I had to replant pieces in March/April.

Here it is a year later:

And here it is in another location where I thought I could intermingle it with hosta 'Kabitan'. Dramatic combination, but not a chance. I had to move that hosta. This was last year:

This is this year... I moved this last Kabitan as well. It has room here, but not for long:

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 11:54AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Nice photos Wendy but you forgot to mention that its bloom time coincides and pairs well with dandelions. Mine has escaped my border happily soaking up the full sun, fertilization, and irrigation, of what some might call a lawn. The bees are crazy about it BUT I would be certain that where ever you plant it you could live with it for a life time as I would say it is on par with yucca or gooseneck loosestrife for staying power.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 12:49PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

dandelions ... ha ha! None in my yard! THey wouldn't dare!!!

speaking of escaping ajugo into the lawn... that last picture was taken after I had just edged and increased that border by a few inches to get it out of the lawn. They were meeting up.

I bet if I looked now that gap is probably smaller.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 1:48PM
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leslie6ri

Thank you, wendyb.

The pictures are wonderful! I was going to plant it with Hostas 'Stained Glass', 'Paul's Glory', and 'Patriot'. There's also a Heuchera 'Plum Royale' in there. Do you think they would be big enough to hold their own with 'Chocolate Chip'? And as long as 'CC' is easy to yank out... It's a shade bed so I'm trying to combine different colors and textures to brighten it up a little.

runktrun,

Loosetrife does strike fear into my heart. Are you growing 'Chocolate Chip' too? Will it be less invasive in shade?

(And by the way, everyone. I want to sing the praises of Heuchera 'Plum Royale'. It's wonderful. It's everything I expected Heuchera 'Frosted Violet' to be.)

And wendyb, thanks to you I'm the proud and happy owner of Schizophragma 'Moonlight'. I saw one at the nursery and couldn't resist after reading your post. Now I'll be the one waiting 3 to 5 years for flowers.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 1:51PM
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gardenweed_z6a

My DIL's sister gave me 'Chocolate Chip' four years ago and I planted it in a small bed. It qickly grew too large for the spot I had it so I dug it out and moved it to a part sun bed where it had a little more room to grow. It has expanded in width but by no means would I describe it as invasive. The flowers in spring are very welcome and intensely blue but all spring flowers (even dandelions) are a welcome sight after a winter like last year.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 2:03PM
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leslie6ri

Thanks gardenweed,

I think I'll try it with the Hostas and Heuchera. You had no trouble digging it out, nor did wendyb, so it should be fine. The Hosta varieties should get large enough to tower over it. (If not, I'll move it.) I really love the look of it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 2:26PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Leslie,
Congratulations on Moonlight. So happy to help enable - LOL! if you read my post again, I think it was EIGHT years to bloom! But mine is mostly shade. Maybe a bit more sun will speed things up for you.

I'm sure the large hosta will hold their own fine with CC. That's what I am expecting in my 2nd CC location when they reach the big hostas.

Wendy

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 2:47PM
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SCPearson(5 NE CT)

Hello,
I have a small patch that is now so tightly packed after the first year. Just this week I thinned it out and started a patch in a new area. They are so easy to divide and replant. Both areas are in shade and seem to be doing fine. I didn't realize they did well in sun, so I may thin out the original patch again and plant some in an area that gets a little more sun.
Susan

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 7:39PM
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