This is an easy one! As all gardeners know, the key to less work is to banish bare spots where weeds can emerge. Ground covers act like living mulch, preserving moisture and protecting soil. When you get a ground cover that is happy and spreads, well, it’s pretty much gardening nirvana.
Pachysandra is a very popular ground cover in the mid-Atlantic. It’s mostly Japanese pachysandra (pachysandra terminalis) seen on the left in the photo above that we see in gardens. The good news is there is a pachysandra native to the Eastern U.S. called pachysandra procumbens, or sometimes called Allegheny spurge. It’s pictured above on the right.
The Japanese and native pachysandra do many of the same things: thrive in partial to full shade, spread by rhizomes into dense clumps, about 12″ in height, and bloom with small white flowers in spring. In short, they make excellent ground covers.
But wait, there’s more. The native pachysandra produces pollen for bees and nectar for birds that live in the Chesapeake watershed; the Japanese pachysandra simply can’t do that. Native pachysandra is a particularly important source of pollen for bees in early spring when pollinators must have a food source.
So, when looking for a great ground cover, be proactive and think pachysandra procumbens!
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