How to Grow Pachysandra

There are four to five species of pachysandra in the boxwood family. Pachysandra is used as a ground cover. It's perfect for shady areas, not performing well in bright sun. It can tolerate very acidic soils or very alkaline soils. Pachysandra spreads aggressively through underground runners and can be propagated by seed, root or stem cuttings. It can grow to 12 inches. Some species are hardy to zone 5 and aren't harmed by frost.

A low hedge of pachysandra grows around the perimeter of a flower bed.
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Things You'll Need

  • Pachysandra plants or clippings
  • Hose
  • Mulch
  • Shovel

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Step 1

Plant pachysandra at any time. The most popular time to plant pachysandra is in the spring or fall, when new plants are available at the garden centers. Pachysandra can be grown from container plants or cuttings.

A girl holds a yellow spade in the garden.
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Step 2

Plant pachysandra in full or part shade. If it's grown in full sun, its leaves will yellow. Pachysandra is one of the only ground covers that can be grown in deep shade. It should also be considered for areas that are difficult to mow.

Pachysandra climbs up a concrete wall in the shade.
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Step 3

Grow pachysandra in almost any soil, except one that's extremely wet. It's a good ground cover to grow under pine trees, where the soil is very acidic. It can survive in sandy, loamy or clay soil, as long as it's well-drained.

Pachysandra grows below a hedge of hydrangea flowers.
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Step 4

Plant pachysandra 6 to 12 inches apart. This gives the plants room to grow. Spread shredded bark between plants, not more than an inch deep. Mulch helps retain moisture, prevent weeds and it fertilizes the plants. Use mulch only until the plants are growing well.

Pachysandra plants are planted a foot apart in a garden plot.
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Step 5

Water pachysandra frequently until it's established. You should also water it during dry periods. It's better to water thoroughly and less often than to water frequently but lightly. Pachysandra prefers slightly dry soil to wet soil. Wet soil will lead to root rot. Pachysandra should be fertilized during its growing season.

Water is sprayed onto a patch of pachysandra.
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Tips & Warnings

  • Pachysandra is deer proof; deer won't eat it.
  • Pachysandra can be planted in areas where it's too shady for many plants.
  • Pachysandra can spread aggressively; put a barrier into the ground to prevent it.


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