Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pachysandra Planted Out of Place can Lead to Problems

A declining pachysandra (Japanese Spurge) was submitted to the U of I Plant Clinic and examined for all problems.  There were no signs of disease on the foliage and the roots.

After reading some of the information included with this sample, I suspected that the main problem was that this plant was receiving too much sun.  According to the following website:  http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/oneida/home%20garden/Annual%20&%20Perennial%20FLOWERS/perennials/Pachysandra.pdf

"Japanese spurges are particular about their growing sites so select a good site carefully.  They will not grow well in full sun or in poorly drained areas."

If too much sun is a problem, you may want to try to transplant it to a better location that suits its growing needs. 

Unfortunately, a "stressed" plant can lead to disease and pests!  I found some scale ( Oystershell Scale - Lepidosaphes) on the stems of these plants, but I do not think this is the main problem.

When people see pests, they jump to conclusions and assume that they are the problem!  Well, if the plant is stressed from not being planted in the proper site, pests like these scales, could become a full blown infestation.

According to the following website: http://landscapeipm.tamu.edu/ipm -for-ornamentals/susceptibles/

"The first line of defense against insect and mite pests of ornamental landscape plants is to select adapted plants that are not known to develop perpetual pest problems. Plant ornamental plants in suitable locations and care for them properly to avoid plant stress conditions."


  1. I'm a beginning garden and I thought my pachysandra was suffering from winter burn (salt, snow plow damage) -- but it's not growing back and seems to be spreading. The leaves have brown spots on them. I live in Evanston, IL. Any suggestions on how to treat? Can I do this myself or do I need to hire someone? Thank you. I will send pics upon request.

  2. Hello BrandNewGardener2012! I am used to diagnosing problem via samples, but I will try to head in you the right direction based on your description of the problem. Is it possible that it might be a fungal leaf blight such as Volutella Blight of Pachysandra? Here is a factsheet describing this disease: http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/plant_pathology_and_ecology/volutella_blight_of_pachysandra_04-10-08r.pdf

  3. Thanks so much -- As you'll be able to tell in a second, turns out it's not pachysandra after all. It's euonymous (I wish I could attach a photo)...not only are there some brown spots on only a few leaves, but there is a pale white dust on many of the leaves. I hope they can be saved! If you have an email, i can send photos! Thanks!

  4. My email is satterle@illinois.edu. Where are you located?


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