Melinda's Low Maintenance Plants: Pachysandra


Need an elegant groundcover for shady areas?



Grow a carpet of green pachysandra beneath your trees and shrubs and in other shady spots in the landscape.  Its easy care nature, shade tolerance and evergreen foliage made this ground cover a gardeners’ favorite for decades.

The dark green leaves are clustered near the tip of the stems and appear whorled.  The fragrant white flowers stand out against the deep green leaves providing subtle beauty in the spring landscape. These may be followed by a few small, white, berry-like fruit scattered throughout the planting.

Grow the pachysandra in full to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Leaves will yellow and plants can die if grown in too much sun or an overly wet soil.  Avoid areas exposed to winter wind and winter sun that can cause yellowing and dieback of the foliage.

Space transplants 6 to 12 inches apart depending on the size of the transplant and how quickly you want them to create a dense mat. Plant pachysandra 6” apart for quick cover or when using small transplants and further apart for larger transplants. Pachysandra spreads by rhizomes, underground stems, and fill in to form a continuous carpet of green.

Spread a layer of shredded leaves, twice shredded bark or other organic mulch over the soil surface after planting. Mulch helps suppress weeds until the pachysandra fills in and keeps the soil moist.

Remove any weeds as they appear. Once the plants fill in and cover the soil they will crowd out most weeds.

Pachysandra has no serious problems when planted in the proper location. Mulch plantings exposed to winter wind and winter sun with evergreen boughs to avoid winter damage.

In autumn lightly rake or blow fall leaves off the plantings. Be careful not to damage the plants with vigorous raking. Or cover the area with bird netting.  Once filled with leaves remove the netting and place the leaves in the compost pile or shred and use as mulch around other plants.

Plant now and enjoy the year round beauty this evergreen ground cover provides. And best of all the deer tend to leave it be.


At a Glance

Name: Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)

Size:  8-12”tall and 12 to 18” wide

Light: Part to full shade, leaves bleach when grown in excess sun

Water: Water thoroughly and often enough to keep roots moist when establishing the plants. Then, water as needed when the top few inches of soil start to dry.

Soil: Moist, well-drained


Written by, gardening expert, Melinda Myers.  Each month Melinda will feature a low maintenance plant perfect for beginning and experienced gardeners looking for attractive easy care plants.  Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience.  She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Low Maintenance Plant of the Month with you!