December 04, 2010

Plant of the month: Pachysandra

I take Pachysandra (P. terminalis) for granted. It’s such an easy-care ground cover in my very shady garden. And because it’s so reliable, it deserves to be the plant of the month for December.

Pachysandra is an evergreen plant in the Boxwood family that grows to about six to 12 inches. The waxy leaves look great all year, even in northern climates. It grows in zones four to nine, according to Numerous sources report that it struggles if it gets too much sun, which explains why it’s thriving in my garden.

In the fall, short spikes of light green flower buds form and hold their shape all winter. They bloom in spring and create a dense carpet of small, white fluffy flowers atop bright, deep green leaves.

Honestly, I neglect Pachysandra in my garden. So many other plants require pampering and prodding and special treatment. Pachysandra obviously likes zone 5, shade, and Oak mulch. An added bonus: It’s rabbit- and deer-resistant.


  1. Dear Beth, Pachysandra is a real stalwart of the garden and is for me the plant of the decade never mind the month. It is so easy to please and looks good throughout the year. A perfectly well behaved plant that deserves its place in any border!!

  2. Dear Edith: I'm interested to know how Pachysandra grows in your London garden. Do you have large patches of it? What other plants do you like to grow near it?