Pachysandra procumbens
Common Name: Allegheny spurge 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Buxaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Drought, Heavy Shade


Best grown in acidic, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Plants thrive in sun dappled shade under large trees. Foliage tends to bleach when grown in too much sun. Established plants tolerate drought. For use as a ground cover, set starter plants 6-12" apart. Plants will slowly spread by rhizomes to form colonies. Avoid overhead watering and thin plants periodically to promote good air circulation, particularly if plants have experienced problems with leaf blight. Propagate by root division or cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pachysandra procumbens, commonly known as Allegheny spurge is a shrubby, perennial ground cover which grows 8-12" tall and spreads indefinitely by rhizomes to form a dense carpet of matte blue-green leaves mottled with purple and white. It is native to woodlands in the southern United States from Kentucky south to Alabama and Mississippi. Ovate to suborbicular leaves (to 3" long) are coarsely toothed at the apex but untoothed at the base. Leaves are typically deciduous in USDA Zones 5 and 6 but semi-evergreen to evergreen in Zones 7 to 9. Even where evergreen, the leaves may appear worn and tattered by mid winter. Tiny, fragrant, greenish white to white flowers bloom in terminal spikes (2-4" long) in early spring before the new leaves arrive.

Genus name comes from the Greek words pachys meaning thick and aner or andros meaning stamen with reference to the thickened white filaments.

Specific epithet from Latin means trailing in reference to the rhizomatous ground cover habit.


Leaf blight is a potentially serious problem which can necessitate remedial fungicide applications. Root/stem rot may also occur. Watch for aphids, slugs, scale and mites.


Popular ground cover for a variety of shady locations in the landscape including areas under trees, foundations, around shrubs or along walkways. Mass on banks or slopes. Woodland gardens. Native plant gardens.