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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Things You Will Need
- Slow-release fertilizer
- Pruning shears
- Pachysandra can be purchased in spring from local garden centers and nurseries. It is typically available in flats of 50 to 100 rooted cuttings, which can be planted directly into the garden.
- 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.