Poor Pachysandra

I think pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) gets a bad rap. Many people complain about it being a mundane and invasive ground cover. A number of horticulturists I know are quick to offer ground cover alternatives such as Sweet Box (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) or Dwarf Goatsbeard (Aruncus aethusifolius). 

While I agree these alternatives are lovely choices, I think pachysandra has its place. When I moved into my current property, I practically had to fight my way through the pachysandra to enter the house. It was planted around the foundation and growing up the downspout. It was in the woods. In essence, it was everywhere!

I didn’t think pachysandra was well suited as a foundation planting and particularly didn’t appreciate the fact that it was preventing drainage through the downspouts.  As a result, I ripped it out of this location.  As you can imagine, this process of removing rhizomes provided quite a workout!

However, I like having the pachysandra planted in a large mass along the edge of my woodland.  It provides a shiny, fragrant, uniform, deer-resistant, weed-smothering, evergreen carpet that is virtually trouble free. 

I also find that with a little annual cut-back it can be maintained fairly easily. So the next time someone turns up their nose at you when you mention pachysandra, consider challenging them on its virtues! 

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