Silver Edge PachysandraPachysandra terminalis ‘Variegata’
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Pachysandra terminalis ‘Variegata’
Outdoor Growing zone
Partial Sun, Shade
The Silver Edge Pachysandra is a great groundcover plant, spreading slowly into a low mat of glossy leaves, brightened by their sparkling white edges. It brightens shady places beneath shrubs and trees, or along paths, and it can spill out of planter boxes and pots as well. It is reliably evergreen, and always looks great, forming a dense, weed-proof carpet that needs no trimming or special attention at all.
The Silver Edge Pachysandra will grow with some sun in cooler zones, but it prefers light shade, or the leaves will yellow and fade. It grows in all but the darkest spots in your garden, bringing brightness to the dullest corner. It isn’t invasive, it’s pest free, untroubled by deer and needs absolutely no attention to grow well.
Groundcovers are incredibly valuable in every garden, not only for reduce areas where weeding is needed, but for adding an extra dimension or level to your garden layout. A garden without visible soil, and with a variety of surfaces over the beds, has a lush, mature and established look that you can’t get any other way. So don’t forget to include groundcovers in your garden layout as much as you can, not just for those awkward areas where you can’t find anything else to grow. Most groundcovers are green, but it can be great to bring light and brightness to those lower levels, and that’s where the Silver Edge Pachysandra is so useful. The common green pachysandra is a well-known and reliable groundcover, but this variety, which as the name suggests has a bold white stripe down the side of the leaves, really brightens up those spaces beneath your shrubs and trees, or borders a walkway in a charming fashion. There are so many spots in every garden where it could be useful, we bet you have one too.
The Silver Edge Pachysandra is a low-growing evergreen groundcover that rises just 6 or 8 inches above the ground, and spreads slowly outwards so that in time a single plant could be 3 feet across. It spreads slowly by the stems trailing across the ground, and also by underground stems, which send up green shoots as they grow outwards It is a little less vigorous than the ordinary green pachysandra, which means it’s ideal for smaller spaces, or when you don’t want to have it spilling out too much. The trailing stems are about ¼ inch thick, and they only thicken a little with age. They are hidden by the dense foliage, with leaves that are leathery, thick and glossy, around 2 inches long and arranged in whorls at the ends of the stems. Each leaf has a triangular base, broadening out to a rounded tip divided into several shallow lobes or serrations. The leaves are a mid-green, and along the edges is a white stripe of varying width. Typically around the edges, sometimes the white zone is wider and covers a larger part of the stem. This variety doesn’t flower profusely, but in March or through spring you will see short stems above the leaves with curious white flowers on them. These are not showy, but closer examination shows they are interesting, and also pleasantly perfumed.
Wherever you have partially-shaded areas of bare ground, that is the natural home for this valuable groundcover. Grow it beneath shrubs or trees, or as an edging along paths and driveways. It can’t be walked on, but it does make an exceptionally rich-looking cover, and the sparking white edges make it much brighter, so it looks great with dark-leaved plants like yew. To develop a continuous carpet of dense foliage within a few years, plant between 12 and 18 inches apart. Set back at least 6 inches from the edge of a paved area or lawn, to avoid it spreading over those surfaces. It takes a season or two to become established, but after that it becomes a reliable and very dense, weed-proof covering.
This plant is very hardy and surprisingly cold resistant. It grows well even in zone 4, and also in much warmer areas, all the way into zone 9. In cold areas avoid contaminating the soil with salt in winter, if it edges a path or driveway.
In cooler zones this plant will tolerate quite a lot of sun, if the soil isn’t too dry. In warmer areas afternoon shade at least, or full light shade, such as beneath tall trees, is best, or the leaves will yellow and they could burn. It isn’t fussy about soil, growing in all kinds, but preferring something that isn’t too dry and has plenty of organic material in it. Avoid areas where the soil is regularly very wet. It grows well in clay soil and once established it is remarkably drought tolerant if not in the sun. It also tolerates urban conditions well, often thriving in poor city gardens.
Almost always completely free of pests or diseases, Silver Edge Pachysandra isn’t eaten by deer either. It really needs no maintenance – just sit back and watch it grow. It is not as fast-growing as the green variety, and rarely needs trimming. If you do need to cut it back where it is sprawling over a surface, hand trimming with sharp pruners is best, pulling long stems out and then cutting them.
Often called Japanese spurge, Pachysandra terminalis is the most common of a small group of plants that has a North American member too (Pachysandra procumbens). It is a distant relative of boxwood bushes and is somewhere between a true shrub and a perennial. It is found wild on the forest floor in Japan, China and Korea, and was introduced into Europe and North America a long time ago. We don’t know when this variegated form was found, or where, but it may have happened multiple times in different places. It is botanically called ‘Variegata’.
The Silver Edge Pachysandra won the coveted Award of Garden Merit in 1993. This is given by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society to plants that are outstanding for their value in gardens, and it’s a badge that this is a worthwhile, valuable and durable plant. Groundcovers are always in very high demand, so calculate how many you need to brighten that dull corner, and place your order right away, while we still have these plants in stock.