How to Grow Pachysandra Ground Cover

Overview

Pachysandra, also known as Japanese spurge, is a shade-loving evergreen ground cover typically grown in areas where other grasses have failed. It will thrive under trees, on hillsides and even in dense shade. Each plant can reach up to 1 foot in height and will spread indefinitely, although it is not considered invasive. Pachysandra is easy to care for in almost every region of the United States, but it prefers hardiness zones 4-8.

Step 1

Plant pachysandra ground cover in spring after all threat of frost has passed. Choose a planting location with fertile, well-drained soil and partial to full shade. Space each planting at least 1 foot apart to allow plenty of room for growth.

Step 2

Water pachysandra plants immediately after planting to settle the soil and continue to water lightly throughout the growing season. Keep the soil moist at all times by watering once or twice per week during spring and summer. Reduce watering to once every 10 to 14 days during fall and winter.

Step 3

Feed pachysandra ground cover just after planting and once per year in early spring thereafter. Use a slow-release fertilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions for proper application rate. Water the fertilizer into the soil after applying for the best results.

Step 4

Use pruning shears to snip off the tips of vigorously growing shoots in early spring. This will encourage the plants to grow more densely, as you might want from a ground cover. Never prune severely or cut the plants back to the ground, as they will not survive.

Step 5

Rake leaves from the top of pachysandra beds to increase air circulation. If fallen leaves are not removed, the plants may smother. Gently sweep the rake over the top of the plants to remove any loose leaves and debris, being careful not to damage the pachysandra.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never expose pachysandra ground cover to full sun, as the leaves will brown or even drop off completely. Foliage commonly burns in winter when protective tree-cover is not available, but the plants will recover the following spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Rake

References

  • Selecting Landscape Plants: Ground Covers
  • Japanese Spurge
  • Book: New York Gardener's Guide; Ralph Snodsmith; 2004
Keywords: pachysandra ground cover, pachysandra plants, Japanese spurge

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.