Pachysandra axillaris

Axillary Pachysandra


Pachysandra axillaris, also known as Axillary Pachysandra, is a low-growing evergreen ground cover native to Japan and Taiwan. It features glossy, deep green leaves arranged in whorls around upright stems, forming dense mats that suppress weeds effectively. In spring, it produces small, white, fragrant flowers on spikes that rise from the leaf axils above the foliage.

Pachysandra axillaris thrives in partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil, making it ideal for woodland gardens, under trees, or as a border plant. This hardy and versatile plant adds lush greenery and seasonal interest to shaded areas, contributing to a tidy and attractive landscape.


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Origin: Japan and Taiwan
Genus: Pachysandra
Species / Cultivar: axillaris
Common Name: Axillary Pachysandra

Plant Biography

Pachysandra axillaris, commonly known as Japanese Pachysandra or Axillary Pachysandra, originates from Japan and Taiwan and has been cultivated for centuries. It belongs to the boxwood family (Buxaceae) and is closely related to the much more commonly-grown Pachysandra terminalis.

Introduced to gardens outside Japan in the late 19th century, Pachysandra axillaris gained popularity for its dense, evergreen foliage and adaptability to shade. Its ability to form extensive ground cover while suppressing weeds made it a favoured choice for landscaping and horticultural use. Over time, variations and cultivars have been developed, enhancing its ornamental qualities. Today, Pachysandra axillaris remains valued for its resilience, attractive appearance, and practical function in shaded garden settings worldwide.

Pachysandra axillaris
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Part Shade to Full Shade
Can enjoy several hours of direct sunlight, but also happy in full shade.
Eventual Height: 0.1-0.5m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.5-1m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Hardy
Survives unprotected in an average winter. May need protection in extreme long frosts.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Pachysandra axillaris thrives in shaded areas with well-draining soil enriched with organic matter. It prefers partial to full shade, making it ideal for under trees or along north-facing walls where sunlight is limited. This ground cover requires regular watering, especially during dry spells, to maintain soil moisture but avoid waterlogging. It benefits from a layer of mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Pachysandra axillaris typically grows 10-50 centimetres tall, spreading via rhizomes to form dense mats over time. Pruning after flowering can help maintain its neat appearance. With proper care, this evergreen ground cover provides lush, low-maintenance greenery, enhancing shaded garden areas beautifully.


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