Pachysandra terminalis
Common Name: Japanese pachysandra 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Buxaceae
Native Range: Japan, north-central China
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil


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

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pachysandra terminalis, commonly called Japanese pachysandra, is a shrubby, evergreen ground cover which grows 8-12" high and spreads by rhizomes to form a dense carpet of rich, dark green foliage. Oval leaves (2-4" long) appear primarily in whorls at the stem ends. Tiny white flowers in 1-2" long, terminal (hence the species name) spikes bloom in early spring. Flowers are not particularly showy, but on close inspection are quite attractive.

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 means terminal in reference to the flower location at the ends of the stems.


No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf blight is a potentially serious problem which can necessitate remedial fungicide applications. Root/stem rot may also occur. Watch for scale and mites.


Extremely 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.