By Jennifer Poindexter
I love overlooking garden spaces that have full trees and thick ground cover growing beneath them. If you’d like to create this look for your yard or garden area, try growing pachysandra as a ground cover.
This plant is a perennial evergreen which grows in a thick carpet due to its root system. It does produce small blooms in the spring, but it’s mainly grown for its beautiful green foliage.
Should you wish to add this plant to your growing area, be sure to understand what it needs prior to planting.
I’m going to walk you through the growing conditions, planting process, the necessary care, and even alert you to a few threats this plant may face to give you a foundation to start from when growing pachysandra for the first time.
Here’s what you should know when trying to learn how to grow pachysandra plants as ground cover:
Growing Conditions for Pachysandra
When beginning the growing process of any plant, it’s vital to understand what it needs in a growing location.
Pachysandra is no different. Though it isn’t picky about many things, there are a few basic requirements this plant has for its growing location .
The first thing pachysandra needs is a growing area with full to partial shade. This is what makes it a great option for growing beneath larger shade trees or even in areas of your landscape where grass won’t grow.
Next, be sure to supply nutrient-dense soil that drains adequately. It’s important that this plant isn’t left in a consistently saturated state.
Once you have these items in place, it’s time to understand if pachysandra will be an annual or perennial in your growing location. It’s a hardy option in planting zones four through nine. In other areas, it should be treated as an annual.
Many times pachysandra is grown to prevent soil erosion due to its thick root system. Whether you want this plant for its beauty or its functionality, it could be a great option for many gardeners due to its ability to thrive in easy-to-meet growing conditions.
Pick an area with these few specifications, and you should be able to start growing pachysandra on the right foot.
How to Plant Pachysandra
Now that you know what pachysandra needs in growing conditions, let’s discuss how you can add it to your landscape. There are two main ways that most gardeners propagate this plant.
The first method is to grow pachysandra from cuttings. When you have a mature pachysandra plant, you may remove a six inch cutting from the plant.
You may either root the cutting in water or in soil. If you choose water, place the cutting in a glass container where the cut end is gently sitting in the water.
Ensure the plant isn’t fully submerged. Place it on a sunny windowsill and change the water as necessary. In approximately six weeks you should have roots.
Transplant the new plant in a pot with well-draining soil. Place it in a warm growing location and keep the soil evenly saturated until it’s time to harden off the new plant and transplant it outdoors.
If you choose to root the cutting in soil, dip it in rooting hormone. Place it in a container that drains adequately and is filled with well-draining soil.
Ensure the soil is evenly damp and wrap the container in plastic to provide a greenhouse effect. Check the soil daily to ensure it never dries out completely.
In approximately six weeks, the cutting should develop roots. Continue to provide adequate care until the plant is sturdy enough to be hardened off and transplanted outdoors.
The final method to growing pachysandra is from bare root cuttings. You can purchase them in a bunch. Separate the bundle and dig a row that’s approximately three inches deep and four inches long.
Plant the bare roots and cover them with fresh soil. Leave one foot of space between each plant.
Sometimes people plant pachysandra on hillsides. If so, be sure to plant from top to bottom. It should take the plant approximately three years to take over most growing locations, hillsides included.
You may feel tempted to plant pachysandra closer together. This will help fill the area in faster, but it may also lead to issues with disease due to lack of airflow.
Add water to the bare root plantings until you see new growth. Mulch around the plants as well to keep the area moist and for keeping weeds down.
No matter the method used to plant pachysandra, you may grow them anytime of the year when the ground is thawed.
In the areas where this plant is hardy, this should be March through December. These are the methods you may choose to add this plant to your growing location. Some are easier than others, but they all should produce desired results.
Caring for Pachysandra
Pachysandra is frequently referred to as a low-maintenance groundcover. This isn’t an understatement as pachysandra needs very little from you.
The two things you should provide to this plant are fertilizer and pruning. When fertilizing this plant be sure to apply a slow-release fertilizer in early spring.
This should provide the nutrients the plant needs to produce new growth and blooms throughout the growing season.
When pruning pachysandra there are two instances when it’s necessary. First, you should prune the plants each year before new growth begins to keep them healthy and thriving.
Then as the growing season moves on, you should gently pinch or snip the ends of the foliage in the spring when new growth is occurring.
This will help create better airflow to reduce issues with disease and also help the plants to become fuller.
You shouldn’t need to water pachysandra after it’s established. Until this occurs, be sure to water the plant deeply.
This allows you to provide moisture for a longer period of time, fewer days of the week. In doing this, it not only cuts down on the amount of time you spend watering, it also encourages the plants to dig their roots deeper into the soil when they need more moisture between waterings.
In the process, this creates deeper root systems which equates to healthier plants in many cases. Try to provide deep watering sessions in the morning (while the plant still needs it).
This will give the foliage time to dry before the night air sets in. By watering earlier in the day, you’re giving your plants more time to dry which should help deter disease.
These are the few things pachysandra needs from you when being cared for. Take the time to provide adequate care, and you’re giving your plants more reasons to thrive.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Pachysandra
Pachysandra doesn’t struggle with many diseases or pests. The main things which tend to bother this plant are scales and leaf blight.
Scales attach themselves to the plants. If you notice this, you may treat the plant with an insecticide or rub it with canola oil. When rubbing the plant with oil, it suffocates the pests.
When treating for leaf blight, you’re dealing with a fungal disease. This can be treated with a fungicide. However, deterring fungal disease is one of the better options.
By planting in areas with some sunlight and well-draining soil, you’re taking away the ideal breeding ground for this type of disease.
Fungal diseases like to grow in cold, wet areas. By providing warmth and proper drainage in your growing locations, these diseases shouldn’t thrive under these conditions.
Also, pruning the pachysandra will increase airflow which is another step you can take to deter fungal issues.
These are the things you should remain alert to when growing pachysandra. Be sure to treat the first signs of any problems to deter greater damage to your plants.
You now know how to grow pachysandra plants as ground cover. These are beautiful plants with many functional purposes as well.
Be sure to provide optimal care for these plants to encourage them to grow thick. Not only does this make them look better, but it can protect your soil better, too. Hopefully, these tips will help you have an enjoyable growing experience when adding pachysandra to your growing location.