How to Plant Pachysandra?

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By Ashley Hanson

Updated: Jun 26, 2024

8 min read

How to Plant Pachysandra
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    Pachysandra is one the best groundcovers for shady areas where grass won't grow. It is a perennial plant with shiny green foliage that looks good all year round. It is a member of the boxwood family that takes around three years to form a dense ground cover and gives fragrant white flowers during the spring. These plants are not preferred for flowers but to create a green blanket in a shady area.

    Many people love the flowers, and for others, it smells like a flowery mothball. Pachysandra is available in various varieties, some of which are referred to as weeds that can be killed using natural or chemical weed killers. Some of the best features of pachysandra ground cover are the easy-to-grow features and the prevention of soil erosion on the slopes. To know more about the Pachysandra planting and its care, read the article carefully.

    Pachysandra, in a Nutshell

    Common Name Japanese Pachysandra
    Botanical Name Pachysandra Terminalis
    Type of Plant Perennial
    Size on Maturity 3-6 inches Tall, 12 m Wide
    Exposure to Sun Partial or Full Shade
    Type of Soil Sandy, Loamy and Clay
    Soil pH Slightly acidic
    Flower Color White
    Foliage Color Blue or Green
    Boom Season Spring

    Know About the Compatibility of Pachysandra With Other Plants

    The compatibility of a plant with other plants grown in and around it is very important to create a perfect surrounding and good growth of both plants. The best planting pair for Pachysandra is deciduous trees such as maple, beech, and oak or evergreen trees such as pine, fir, or spruce. Pachysandra thrives in well-shaded tall trees that cast light on them. You can enhance the visual appeal of Pachysandra by pairing it with texturally compatible plants such as hosta, European ginger, or Lenten rose.

    Silver edge variety of Pachysandra spreads beauty in the surrounding area with its green leaves. Some of the other varieties of compatible plants are primrose, cinnamon fern, and Hakone grass.

    Variety of Pachysandra

    Pachysandra Terminalis Variegata
    Photo: @yaminarareplants

    Japanese Spurge

    This variety has shiny leaves and short spikes of fragrant flowers. It is considered as invasive in some of the mid-Atlantic states.

    Variegated Japanese Spurge

    This variety of Pachysandra has greyish-green leaves, frosted with an irregular trim, and flowers bloom during spring. It is not as invasive as the former variety, but it is not preferred in some states.

    Allegheny Pachysandra

    This variety can resist warm climates; leaves are matte blue/green leaves and are not invasive at all. It is native to SouthEastern North America.

    Green Carpet

    This is a short and compact variety of Japanese Spurge that grows to a maximum height of eight inches.

    Silver Edge

    It is a slow-growing version of the Japanese Spurge with green foliage with striped white edges.

    What is the Use of Pachysandra?

    Pachysandra is used as a ground cover, a decorative border for the yard with less foot traffic, and to prevent soil erosion.

    When to Plant Pachysandra?

    The best time to plant Pachysandra is early spring or early fall on an overcast day to lower the risk of harsh sunlight affecting the plant's establishment.

    How to Plant Pachysandra?

    There are different ways to plant Pachysandra; one is to grow them from pachysandra seeds, and the other option is to propagate them through root stems, which are available in small pots in the local nursery. One of the known facts about pachysandra planting is that growing them from seed is a slow process, but the cutting method is much faster, and for this reason, the second way is mainly preferred by gardeners. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or trying to gather information to start the gardening process, it's advisable to know everything about the planting process.

    Start the planting process with soil preparation. Break the soil 3-4 inches deep to remove weeds and rocks, and add organic matter in the soil, such as organic manure, leaves and compost, before planting. Ensure the soil is acidic because Pachysandra requires slightly acidic soil.

    Planiting Low-maintenance Pachysandra
    Photo: @touchofthetropicsnursery

    Dig a hole of 3 inches deep and 4 feet long and put the plant in the hole. With one hand, hold the plant straight and use the other hand to backfill the hole, patting the soil to remove air pockets. Then, fill half the hole with soil, let water soak in the soil, and keep filling the hole with soil until it is filled to the top of the root ball. Plant the root balls with a gap of 8-12 inches from each other to allow them to have enough growing and spreading space. Wait for 6-8 weeks for the root system to develop, and then your plant will be ready to be independent.

    How Do You Care for Pachysandra?

    Pachysandra thrives in the shade and blooms in the darkest area of the garden. It spreads in the bare ground but never goes past the boundary or the lawn. If you intend to control the spreading, all you have to do is dig the ground and move the plant to the new designated area of your choice. A few care tips are essential for the consistent and robust growth of Pachysandra.

    Regular Watering

    Keep watering the roots until they establish themselves. Make sure you don't end up overwatering them because it'll lead to root rot.

    Proper Lighting

    Pachysandra thrives in shade(partial or full shade), so ensure it is not exposed to full sun, or else growth will be affected, resulting in yellow foliage.

    Humidity and Temperature

    Pachysandra is a flexible plant that can withstand summer heat as well as chilly winter. It doesn't require humidity because high humidity may cause fungal disease in the foliage.

    Keep an Eye on Pests and Diseases

    Though Pachysandra is pest and disease-resistant, it is prone to leaf blight, which damages the foliage and stems, and is prone to scale, too. To fight blight disease, apply a layer of fungicide to the plants, and to handle scales, use fungicidal soap.

    Use Fertilizer Once a Year Over the Ground Cover

    Always use organic fertilizer once a year to provide balanced nutrients to the plant.


    Cut the pachysandra plant before the onset of the new growing season. Clipping the tip of the plant during spring will also ensure better air circulation and dense growth of the plant.


    In order to maintain the moisture content around the plant's base, add mulching.


    Pachysandra is the best option for groundcover to fill the entire surrounding with greenery because it is grown in an easy way, is tough enough to withstand most weather conditions and makes a beautiful landscape.


    Is Pachysandra Poisonous to Dogs?

    No, Pachysandra is not toxic for dogs and humans or birds, making it a perfect choice for the backyard or anywhere close to the house. Mice and birds eat the seeds produced by spring blooms and help the plant propagate in other areas.

    How to Get Rid of Pachysandra?

    There are manual and chemical methods to get rid of Pachysandra. The first way is to dig the hole and remove the plant manually with all the rhizomes to ensure it doesn't grow again. The second method is to convert the plant with black plastic, but this is a time-consuming method. The last way is the use of herbicides.

    How to Transplant Pachysandra?

    Cut the root system carefully, dig a hole deep enough and plant them with a gap of at least 8-12 inches gap for proper growth. Keep watering them regularly and wait for around eight weeks for the development.

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