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This rugged perennial forms dense mats of glistening green foliage. Pachysandra looks good year-round. In spring, short spikes of fragrant white flowers top these plants. The blooms themselves may seem insignificant, but in combination with the foliage, the plant is stunning.
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Part Sun, Shade, Sun
6 to 12 inches
Several feet wide
Uses for Pachysandra
If you struggle with bare patches under trees and shrubs, pachysandra may be your solution. This plant grows low and spreads nicely, almost mimicking a lawn in the way its green foliage can carpet a garden bed. There are also some spectacular variegated kinds, which will brighten shady spots. The flowers' intense fragrance (similar to a jasmine or gardenia-like scent) appeals to many people, although others describe the smell as a flowery mothball. If you have a sensitive nose, be sure to smell the plants before purchasing them.
Pachysandra Care Must-Knows
Pachysandra is a good grower in evenly moist, rich soils. But good drainage is key: If soils are too wet, the plant will develop root rot and die. It spreads with rhizomes and will cover bare ground when left to do its thing. Although vigorous, the plant rarely ventures past garden boundaries and into lawns. They can also be dug out and divided to control spreading and to introduce it to new areas in the garden. This shade-loving plant will thrive and happily bloom in the darkest parts of your garden.
Pests and Diseases
One of the most common problems for pachysandra is leaf blight. This fungus appears first as spotting on leaves and spreads spread via splashing water, so it's best to avoid overhead watering when this fungus is present. In severe cases, application of fungicides may be needed or, ultimately, removal of contaminated plants. While this will generally not kill your pachysandra, it can weaken them.
Another pest you may find on your pachysandra is euonymus scale. This narrow, white or gray insect covers the leaves. The scale harms pachysandra by latching on and creating a waxy covering over itself as it feeds off the plant's juices. Because of the hard waxy covering, scale pests are extremely hard to control. In cases of large infestations, manual removal may be necessary as well as an insecticidal drench.