Ajuga Black Scallop

Information about the Ajuga Black Scallop

Many gardeners find great enjoyment in designing their landscapes and gardens to bring together a number of textures, heights and colors, but darker colored plants caused a challenge until they discovered the ajuga black scallop.


One of the most popular ground cover landscaping plants is the ajuga, also known as bugleweed.  It is a perennial plant that grows quickly yet is extremely hardy when planted in the proper conditions.  The plant flourishes in dappled or light shade but can also do well in full shade.  Some call the ajuga an invasive plant because it is a spreader; however, in most cases, the expansion is actually slow and easy to manage due to the fact it propagates through runners.

There are a number of different species of ajuga that can add a variety of visual appeal to gardens and landscapes.  All varieties are ground cover plants, yet each offers its own distinct characteristic.  Some of the foliage is chocolate brown, while others a glowing bronze.  Variegated leaves of the Dixie Chip, Silver Beauty and Burgundy Glow bring even more interest to the shady areas of the yard with multi-colored leaves in gray, green and creamy white.  Yet there is one variety that makes a bold statement in the garden with a coloration that provides a most unusual look; the ajuga black scallop.

Black scallop

It is rare to find a plant that offers anything other than traditional green foliage.  True, there are varying hues of green that can set landscape plants apart, but most gardeners yearn to find that contrast that makes their garden truly different.  The black scallop variety of ajuga is the perfect specimen for this goal.  While it may be one of the smaller plants of the species, the black scallop offers some of the largest appeal of them all.  The foliage itself is an eye catching feature with wavy edged leaves that are heavily textured densely blanketing the low rising plant.  Adding to this interest is the characteristic that garnered the plant’s name; its deep dark coloration.  Though the foliage is actually the deepest of purples, their hue is so dark that it gives the impression of being black.  Unlike most ajuga, the black scallop achieves its optimal shading when placed in full sun; cooler temperatures also lend a favorable influence on the intense midnight appearance.

As unusual and appealing as the foliage coloration is, there is even more pleasurable viewing appeal in mid to late spring when the ajuga black scallop begins to bloom.  First, slim stalks emerge from the densely packed foliage to heights of up to 6”.  Buds form at the tip of these upright spikes, opening to reveal lovely rich blue blossoms. The deep blue flowers against the equally deep purple black foliage is a veritable treat for the eyes during the months of May and June, at times extending into July as well.


As with most ajuga, pruning the runners of the black scallop will help to keep the plant from taking over the garden.  Fortunately, this variety of ajuga is a slower mover than other varieties; tending to remain clustered.  This feature makes the plant ideal for bed borders where its visual appeal can best be appreciated.  It also makes the black scallop perfect for container plantings.


One of the requirements of the ajuga black scallop is its need for adequate watering.  Due to the optimal placement in full sun, it is important for the plant to receive and retain moisture through frequent watering and mulching to hold it in.

Gardens are beautiful exhibits of color and texture, so adding as much interest as possible can make a showstopper of any garden.  Blooms with colors of the rainbow and green foliage are lovely, but the black scallop variety of ajuga will prove to be the real focus with its unusual and striking appearance in the garden.