Most gardeners are familiar with the ubiquitous Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis), the aggressive plasticine groundcover found in many urban shade gardens. By contrast, Allegheny Pachysandra (P. procumbens) is rarely grown except by native plant enthusiasts. Allegheny spurge is a much prettier groundcover, growing a bit taller with beautiful silver-green mottling on the leaves. It also isn't nearly as aggressive, playing nicely with less vigorous woodlanders.
Allegheny spurge blooms in early spring, and where the plants die back over the winter, the flowers are particularly showy as they are found on the stems below the leaves. The flowers are cream colored with a tinge of pink, and have a very pleasant cinnamon-clove scent.
Alleghany spurge is found primarily in the Southern Appalachian region, ranging as far north as Southern Indiana but mostly found in Kentucky, Tennessee & North Carolina, south to Mississippi and Georgia. It is mostly found in moist, acidic hardwood forests, especially rich cove forests in the mountains. It grows about 8 inches tall depending on soil moisture and nutrition, spreading about 6 inches per year.
Allegheny spurge makes an excellent ground cover for moist, acidic woodlands. In warmer zones, it is evergreen in the winter; in zone 5 it usually dies back and goes dormant. Here in Central Indiana (Zone 5b) it usually stays green all winter unless we have a particularly severe winter, blooming along with the first wildflowers in mid-April.
Allegheny spurge provides early season pollen for tiny native bees, and then cover for the rest of the season for ground-feeding woodland birds, small animals and insects. Larger animals avoid Allegheny spurge, except for rabbits which will nibble on the leaves in the winter. In our experience rabbits don't usually bite below the flower buds, so the plants come back fairly quickly in the spring.
Allegheny spurge is very easy to grow - Plants usually establish well the first year and roughly double in size each year. They are best planted 9-12 inches apart in moist woodland soil, though they will tolerate drought once they're established. They are typically found in acidic soils but we've grown them just fine in rich neutral soil.
We currently provide Allegheny Spurge in our signature 1-Quart SuperPlugs - These fabric containers produce well-developed root systems so the plants establish very quickly.
|Common Name:||Allegheny Spurge|
|Botanical Name:||Pachysandra procumbens|