This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Life After Lawn” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and ideal for drought-tolerant landscapes.
Showy carpet bugle
Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’
Size: Foliage only 3 to 4 inches tall; spreads over time.
Bloom season: Spikes of dark blue flowers, up to 8 inches tall, in spring and summer.
Exposure: Prefers partial to full shade; needs shade from the afternoon sun or will burn.
Pruning needs: None; can remove old flower stems with a lawn mower (set blades high).
Water needs: Medium to low; once established, water deeply once a week or every two weeks.
Snapshot: Native to Europe, this popular ground-hugging perennial can blanket a shady garden with bronze-tinged foliage and dark blue blooms in spring and summer. A winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, this cultivar produces uncommonly large and showy flower spikes. It makes a great choice for spring color under deciduous trees. Carpet bugle is tough, too; once established, it can be walked on and even mowed.
For more on “Life After Lawn,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.