WSU Clark County Extension

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Japanese Spurge

Scientific name: Pachysandra terminalis

Type:Groundcovers evergreen
Plant Requirements
Zone:4 to 8
Sun:Partial shade to full shade
Plant Characteristics
Height:1 ft
Width:2 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:March to April
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Japanese spurge is valuable groundcover for shady areas as it spreads nicely on its own but does not pose a threat to the surrounding vegetation.

This shade loving evergreen groundcover, commonly referred to as pachysandra, grows to a height of 8”-12” and spreads out by underground rhizomes to eventually form a dense canopy of rich green foliage. Mature leaves are oval in shape and can be 2”-4” long. They are arranged in whorls at the end of the upright stems. While spurge does flower, the tiny white blossoms are very small, appearing on short spikes in March through April.

The creeping nature of this evergreen makes it an excellent choice for shaded areas under the roots of shallow rooted trees. Set out new plants on sandy loam, acidic sites. Plant 6” apart in order to ensure good coverage. It's very cold hardy, but less forgiving of hot climates. Under the right conditions this would make for an excellent lawn substitute.

The literature describes a fungal disorder known as pachysandra blight, a fungal disease that is best controlled by ensuring good air circulation prior to planting.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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