Bugleweed (Ajuga Reptans): ground cover with healing properties

Bugleweed (Ajuga Reptans)


The Creeping bugle (Ajuga reptans) is a native wild shrub of the Lamiaceae family. Its distribution area stretches from Europe, Tunisia and Algeria to the Caucasus and Northern Iran. It has also become established in North America. It is found mainly in swampy forests, meadows and on mountain slopes.


The carpet-forming perennial is a very good ground cover and spreads quickly over runners. Ajuga reptans grows up to 20 centimetres high and usually even wider than high.


The leaves of the creeping bugle are metallically shiny, the colour can range from green to brown or red, some varieties even show different colours at once. The wintergreen leaves grow up to eight centimetres long. They are spatulate and usually slightly indented, the lower leaves grow in a rosette


The creeping bugle has conspicuous inflorescences up to 20 centimetres long. From April to June the flowers are arranged in several tiers, one above the other like a whisk. They are usually purple-blue in colour, but there are also pink or white varieties. The lower lip of the flowers is always larger than the upper lip when the bugle is crawling


As fruits Ajuga reptans forms small nuts


The Creeping Günsel loves a semi-shady location between and in front of shrubs or walls. On damp pond and stream banks it can also tolerate full sun. As a rule of thumb: The more humid the soil is, the more sunlight is tolerated. The light conditions have an effect on the colouring of the leaves of some varieties.


The Creeping Günsel thrives best on soils that are permanently moist. The substrate should be sandy-clayey, rich in nutrients and humus.


As the creeping bugle spreads very quickly, ten plants per square metre are usually sufficient. The plants are planted at intervals of 30 to 35 centimetres.


Ajuga reptans is an extremely easy-care ground cover that can even be mowed once or twice a year with a lawnmower. This is best done after flowering and ensures an even thicker plant carpet. Special care measures are usually not necessary. However, a thin layer of semi-mature compost applied once a year will have a positive effect on the growth of the perennials. Plants that are too vigorous and threaten to overgrow their neighbours can simply be pruned at the edges


Ajuga reptans can be propagated by division of the mother plant in spring or autumn


The creeping bugle is excellent for planting under shrubs, bushes and larger perennials, such as meadow-rue (Thalictrum), troll flower (Trollius) or even the splendorpier (Astilbe). In the garden, mainly varieties with coloured or variegated leaves are used, which can also be excellently combined with each other or with the species. In spring, bulbous and tuberous plants, such as snowdrop (Leucojum) or snowdrop (Galanthus), can add colourful accents to the Günsel’s foliage decoration. The groundcover is also very suitable for fixing the ground on shady embankments.

The creeping bugle is also known as a medicinal plant. As it has slightly analgesic properties, it can be used as a wound herb. In the past, it was also used as a laxative and belongs to the group of medicinal herbs that are said to have a liver cleansing effect.



The variety ‘Alba’ flowers white and has rich green foliage, some forms have orange stems and slightly pied flowers. Ajuga reptans ‘Atropurpurea’ is one of the most commonly used varieties and has very dark, monochrome violet-brown leaves with a bronze shimmer and a bright blue flower. It is often confused with ‘Brownheart’, which is also dark purple and shiny, with a leaf rosette that is darker on the inside than on the outside. Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’ has silver-green and bronze variegated leaves that turn darker in the autumn. Multicolor’ is a variety with strikingly colorful leaves, on which white, pink and yellow shades are mixed with red and green


The Creeping Günsel can be easily propagated by splitting in spring or by rooted downers. Under good site conditions it likes to sow itself, the species and some varieties can also be grown from the seeds. It is important to cover the dark seed germ with a thick layer of substrate.

Diseases and pests

In unfavorable weather, mildew may occasionally occur on Ajuga reptans, but usually disappears quickly.


Growth height
from 15.00cm to 20.00cm
Growth width
from 20.00cm to 25.00cm
Growth characteristics
  • flaxen
  • carpet-forming
  • Foothills
Flowering time (month)
  • April to June
Sheet properties
  • wintergreen
  • Rosette
Fruit characteristics
  • Self-seeding
  • sunny to semi-shady
Type of soil
  • sandy to loamy
Soil Moisture
  • fresh to moist
pH value
  • neutral to slightly acidic
Lime tolerance
  • lime-tolerant
Nutrient requirements
  • nutrient-rich
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower decoration
  • Leaf decoration
  • Medicinal plant
  • indigenous wild plant
Areas of life
  • GR2
  • GR3
  • FR2
  • FR3
  • Floor mounting
  • Ground cover
  • Embankments
  • Group planting
  • Pond planting
  • Underplanting
  • Green areas
  • Discounts
Garden style
  • Pharmacy Garden
  • Flower garden
  • Natural garden
  • Parking facilities
  • Forest Garden

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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