Plant your own Persian Carpet with Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’

Have we reached peak Heuchera? This is a question I often ask myself, the same as with Hosta. With a mind-boggling amount of those plants available world-wide, I’ve been wondering which multi-coloured plant could be your grabbing our attention next? The answer lies with the baby sister of an english native. And, heck, she’s already wearing the crown anyways!
This is Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’.
This colour-soaked Ajuga freshens up many gardening situations: substitute ‘Princess Nadia’ for the usual gaudy Bidens you use in baskets, rip up the mossy Saxifrage from your rockeries and plant ‘Princess Nadia’, or be really racy and lay down an Ajuga carpet beneath your trees and shrubs! And, if those leaves weren’t enough, wait ’til you see the flowers!
Plant of the month: Ajuga

How was this plant created?

As with many new plants, this was a one in a lifetime spot in a big crop of something different. Nurseryman Piotr was growing the Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chips’ on his nursery and the appearance of a marshmallow pink and milky cream leaved plant caught his eye- he didn’t like chocolate anyway! It was only 1 branch with this new colouring though, so that’s the time to panic! Thankfully, Ajuga are easy to root though, and after re-planting into a safe place, he made 3 plants,
then 12, and so on.

But, he wasn’t sure if it really was different. Older variety ‘Burgundy Glow’ had similar colourings and was pretty well-known, albeit a bit unkempt when it aged. Piotr visited Thijs from Plantipp, and Thijs pointed out that Piotr’s new plant was Ajuga tenorii, and much more dainty than ‘Burgundy Glow’, which is a son of the native UK wildflower Ajuga reptans. They even placed the plants side by side to double-check things!

What happened next?

A few years of trials and tests ensued, and the plant soon earned it’s name ‘Princess Nadia’, thanks to its dainty appearance and colourful party dress!
Nadia was also the name of Piotr’s 4 year daughter. How ace that she has a
plant named after her!

It wasn’t long until retailers started to select the plant for their garden centre benches and mail order ranges, this was something super different!

What’s different about this plant?

Ajuga tenorii ‘Princess Nadia’ offers astounding versatility, thanks to it’s habit and colour palette. You’d need 4 hands to list all the uses; from hanging baskets and window boxes to ground cover and front of borders, your imagination is your only limit. It’s the first multi-coloured version of the mediterranean species Ajuga tenorii and it really is a show off. The spring foliage emerges with a glowing pink tinge, which deepens to a magenta and cream marbling.

BUT, in spring, the plant gives you the biggest surprise of your life, with seemingly un-coordinated spikes of BLUE flowers. Rather than look out of place, they just add to the charm of ‘Princess Nadia’, after all it is ROYAL blue, fitting for a princess!

I predict a bright future for Ajuga, especially for gardeners wanting a tapestry look in their pots and borders. We often talk about the Graffiti Garden styles, and the Ajuga colours and blends over the next few years have definitely
used the whole spray can!

Plant of the month: Ajuga
Where can you plant Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’?
Thanks to it’s Mediterranean heritage, ‘Princess Nadia’ is unfussy and not in the least demanding! Plants give the best colour in partial shade, you know that spot towards the edge of a tree’s shade.. We call it dappled. They are drought tolerant, and hardy down to -30C, so even our Scottish friends can enjoy it without hassle.

Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’ spreads to around 25cm, so is a nice specimen for remixing tired rockeries. It flowers in spring and again in summer, so could easily be partnered up with summer patio plants. After all, who needs the flowers when the foliage is that colourful?! As ground cover, it forms a thick carpet,
stopping weeds dead.

Plant of the month: Ajuga
Where can you buy this plant?
Plants are available in garden centres across Europe and the USA,
or by mail order from here and here.
Plant of the month: Ajuga
How to grow Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’:
Flowering time: Spring, and then again in summer
Location: Borders, patio pots, rockeries, hanging baskets
Soil: Any well-drained soil
Light: Full sun or part shade
Hardy: Survives down to around -30C in Europe! (USDA Zone 4)
Care: Zero maintenance plant

Size: 15cm (6”) high x 25cm (10”) in spread

Plant of the month: Ajuga

Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe (with Concept Plants doing the same job in North America). 

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