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PACHYSANDRA procumbens

Image of Pachysandra procumbens

©Pennystone Gardens

Family

Buxaceae

Botanical Name

PACHYSANDRA procumbens

Plant Common Name

Alleghany Spurge

General Description

The American native, Alleghany spurge, is less known than its common relative, Japanese spurge, but is just as attractive and landscape-worthy. Unlike Japanese spurge, its leaves are semi-evergreen to deciduous. Populations naturally reside in the fertile upland forests of the eastern and southeastern United States where soils tend to be calcareous.

This serviceable, spreading perennial is a fine deciduous groundcover for shady, temperate gardens. It is most admired for its handsome whorled, toothed leaves which provide dense low cover. The leaves are usually dark green mottled with light or silvery green spots. In winter the leaves darken and turn brownish shades. Upright spikes of frothy ivory flowers lend additional interest in early spring. These are followed by small, inconspicuous capsule fruits.

Alleghany spurge is shade-loving and favors moist, well-drained, soil. Unlike Japanese spurge, it grows well in neutral to slightly alkaline soils. Use Allegheny spurge as a refined small-scale groundcover, or in combination with other shade-lovers such as fringed bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia) and Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum'). It is less aggressive than its Japanese cousin, so it’s better suited to naturalistic, American landscapes, particularly those close to its area of natural distribution.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Width

    2'-6' / 0.6m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Eastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Mat-forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green, Brown, Bronze

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edging, Foundation, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes