Best in acidic, peaty, moist to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Plants will spread by rhizomes to form dense thickets over time.
Chamaedaphne calyculata, commonly known as leatherleaf, is a rhizomatous broadleaf evergreen shrub that is native to wet soils in bogs, fens, pond peripheries and meadows in the cooler areas of North America, Europe and Asia. In the U. S., it is found in Alaska and from Minnesota to Maine south to Illinois and Georgia. It typically grows to 1-3’ tall and as wide, and is noted for its glossy green foliage and white spring flowers. Short-stalked, urn-shaped white flowers in small-leaved, one-sided, terminal racemes (to 5” long) bloom in spring (April-May). Fruits are flattened five-chambered capsules. Elliptic to oblong evergreen leaves (to 2” long) have slightly rolled margins that are finely toothed or smooth, with distinctive white or rusty brown scales present on the leaf undersides. ‘Verdant’ was discovered in the New Jersey Pine Barrens in 1985 and subsequently introduced into commerce in the 1990s. This cultivar was selected for the improved quality of its evergreen foliage in winter (verdant meaning green).
No serious insect or disease problems. Rust, dieback and leaf spots may occur.
Borders. Boggy areas. Interesting addition to moist/wet sites in the landscape where other plants are difficult to grow.