Content Detail

Japanese pachysandra is an evergreen ground cover that is commonly used in shady sites.  It produces clusters of small white flowers in spring.

  • Family (English) Boxwood
  • Family (botanic) Buxaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest early fall, early spring, early summer, early winter, late fall, late spring, late summer, late winter, mid fall, mid spring, midsummer, midwinter
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Creeping
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and Method of spreading:

Japanese pachysandra is a colonizing ground cover that spreads by rhizomes and grows 8 to 12 inches high. Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots.  These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This pachysandra is native to Japan.

Leaf description:

The simple, alternate leaves are evergreen. They are somewhat wedge-shaped and may appear to be whorled because they are clustered at the ends of the stems.

Flower description:

The small, white flowers are borne in spike-like clusters in early spring.  They are lightly fragrant.

Fruit description:

The fruits are small, white, berry-like drupes, but they are seldom produced in any quantity. They are not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

Japanese pachysandra must have at least partial shade to grow well.  Full sun will cause this plant to grow poorly.  Soil should be moist and well drained.  Pachysandra will not tolerate drought.  In winters with little to no snow cover, this plant may suffer some dieback from exposure to winter sun and wind.

List of pests, diseases, tolerances and resistances:

Volutella stem and leaf blight can be a serious problem, especially on stressed plants.  Mites and scale insects can be occasional problems. It is resistant to deer.

Green Carpet Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis ‘Green Carpet’):

The deep green, waxy foliage of this cultivar grows low, but very upright, forming a low, uniform mat.

Green Sheen Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis ‘Green Sheen’):

Leaves of this cultivar are much glossier than the species.

Variegated Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis ‘Variegata’):

The leaves mottled with white and it is slower growing than the species.

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