Japanese spurge does well under the dappled light of overhead trees. Minter Gardens pictured.
A carpet of green for the shade
Japanese spurge, Pachysandra terminalis, is the perfect ground cover for shady locations, and it’s evergreen. Its attractive shiny deep green foliage forms a dense carpet in shady gardens, under trees, along slopes, and in woodland gardens.
Unlike other ground covers, Japanese spurge is not invasive. Although it procreates by rhizomes, it doesn’t get too carried away. If it does go out of bounds, it’s relatively simple to control. Their pale underground stems are easy to spot buried in the soil and thick enough to yank out.
Japanese spurge creates lush, shiny deep green carpets when grown in shady locations with rich moist soils. That doesn’t mean it’s picky, as it is quite tolerant to different soil types - as long as it isn’t too wet nor too dry. Too much sun is another thing altogether as their pretty green foliage becomes yellow or bleached to a cream colour by the sun and will eventually die back.
Pachysandra appreciates the dappled shade when planted under trees and provide a blanket of green in gardens where there’s little sunlight. Their many rhizomes are perfect for slopes as they prevent erosion and help hold the soil together. To cover the ground, plant starter plants 6 to 12 inches apart, and stagger the rows so they will fill in quickly.