Plant id – Ajuga or bugleweed

(Question)

Can you please tell me the name of this plant?  I saw this in Toronto near Eglinton and Bayview Avenues.  It looks like a nice ground cover so I also wanted to know how durable this plant is?

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(Answer)

The plant in question appears to be Ajuga reptans commonly referred to as carpet bugleweed.

Ajuga plants are evergreen to semi-evergreen, depending on the species and variety.  In addition to the traditional green foliage, this ground cover can also be found with purple-colored or variegated foliage, making it great for adding year-round interest.

These plants are hardy in zones 4-9.

This perennial ground cover spreads by runners, quickly filling in empty areas and smothering out weeds to form a thick carpet of foliage.  As a result, it is an excellent plant to use for erosion control due to its extensive root system.  Division may be necessary every few years in the spring to prevent overcrowding.

Flowering occurs from May-June and are normally bluish to purple, but they can be found in white and pink as well.

Ajuga is typically grown in shady locations but will thrive just as well in the sun, however, the foliage will tend to be smaller.  It will also tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions as long as the soil is well drained.  The plant also likes fairly moist soil but is remarkably adaptable and will even tolerate a little drought.