All about plant fertilization

How and when to fertilize Pachysandra


Pachysandra is a genus of subshrubs formed by 4 species. With origins in the Far East and North America, these plants are capable of covering large areas with their dense foliage. They usually do not exceed 20 cm in height and do very well under other trees or when grown in pots as houseplants. In this post we will see how to use the fertilizer for Pachysandra, in what way and when to apply it. We will also take a moment to analyze how to plant your pachysandra

Bonus fact: by far the most popular species in this genus of subshrubs is Pachysandra terminalis. Known by various names such as carpet box, Japanese pachysandra, or Japanese spurge. The term terminalis means “termination”. It refers to the small clusters of leaves that appear at the end of the short stems.

1. How to plant Pachysandra


We will start this post by analyzing what measures to take into account when planting a pachysandra in your garden. You will see that although fertilization is quite an important point, it is not the only precaution that we must take when planting this particular bush.

Fertilizer for Pachysandra
Pachysandra flowers
  • When to plant: the right time to plant varies depending on how cold the winters are where you live. In areas with very harsh winters, it should be planted in the first days of spring. While in areas with mild winters it can be planted during the fall.
  • Where to plant: it prefers semi-shady places with a fairly acidic soil and with good drainage. If you plant a large plant, leave at least 15-20 cm of distance between plant and plant.
  • Irrigation: it will be necessary to water abundantly the first 15 days after transplanting. This will help you develop good roots. Once the plant is well established, a weekly watering will suffice.
  • Pests and diseases: it is quite prone to contracting different types of fungi. Hence the importance of planting it in soils with good drainage and not exceeding the amount of irrigation.
  • Fertilization: it is good to fertilize pachysandra from the moment of transplantation. This will give the seedlings a boost to develop more vigorously. In the following sections we will study this point in depth.

2. What is the meaning of the three numbers on any package of fertilizer?


If you are not fertilizing a plant for the first time, you may have noticed that there are three numbers separated by a dash on fertilizer packages. Are you sure what they mean? In case you know, you can skip to the next section. Otherwise, here you can get rid of the doubt.

These three numbers are what are known as NPK values. Indicating in each letter three of the most important nutrients for the development of a plant. Let’s see in more detail which nutrient each letter represents:

  • Nitrogen (N): favors the growth of the aerial part of the vegetables (leaves, stems). It is, in part, responsible for the green color of plants and confers resistance to pests.
  • Phosphorus (P): it is very important in the ripening of flowers, seeds and fruits. It participates in the formation and development of roots and has an important role in resistance to drought.
  • Potassium (K): it is decisive in the development of the whole plant, it allows the roots and stems to be strong and the seeds, fruits and leaves, large. It provides resistance to pests and diseases, aids in the circulation of other nutrients around the plant, and regulates the functions of the plant.

On the other hand, each number specifically indicates the percentage by weight of the nutrient with respect to the total weight of the fertilizer. Since I know this may not be entirely clear, let’s look at a simple example:

“If you have bought a 5 kg bag of 10-15-20 compost. This compost contains 500 g of nitrogen, 750 g of phosphorus and 1 kg of potassium. The remaining weight is taken up by minor nutrients and other components.”

With this I think you should have no doubts about these numbers. Now we can go ahead and get fully involved with the fertilization of the pachysandra.

If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.

3. Best fertilizer for Pachysandra


There are many types of fertilizers that can be helpful when feeding a Pachysandra. Although each one can have its advantages and disadvantages, it is important that you know which are the most suitable fertilizers to apply on this semi-shrub.

Keep in mind that regardless of the type of fertilizer you are going to use you should always be very careful with the dose. This is because, as we always say on this website when it comes to fertilization, less is more, it is preferable to fall short than to exceed.

3.1 Homade fertilizer

Pachysandra needs contributions from the three main nutrients, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. And without a doubt one of the most complete homemade fertilizers, which can deliver all those nutrients and more is compost.

A well-mature compost, which has undergone a correct formation process and has been obtained from various remains, has the advantage of incorporating all the essential elements for plants and providing richness and balance of nutrients to the soil where it is applied.

Other options are well-fermented manure, which provides large amounts of nitrogen. Earthworm humus is also a very complete compost. You can also make use of less complete but very useful fertilizers, such as wood ash, eggshell, coffee beans, etc.

The downside to homemade fertilizers is that we don’t know exactly the proportions of nutrients they contain. This makes the process of using Pachysandra organic fertilizer carefully. This in order not to exceed the dose of necessary nutrients.

3.2 Commercial liquid fertilizer for Pachysandra

If you want to use commercial fertilizers, what to look for is balanced fertilizers. That is, those fertilizers with a balanced mixture of its three main nutrients.

Since we have already discussed what NPK values are, you can imagine that a balanced mix fertilizer is one with all three numbers equal. Generally, gardeners recommend applying one 12-12-12.

The format of the fertilizer will vary depending on the stage in which the plant is. Fast-acting liquid fertilizers are useful at certain times, although throughout the life of Pachysandra we will use slow-release fertilizers more frequently.

4. Fertilizing Pachysandra plant


We have already studied in a basic way how to plant, then we saw what are the NPK values and what are the best fertilizers that can be used in a Pachysandra. It is time for us to discuss how and when fertilization should take place.

4.1 When to fertilize

In the early days of spring, your Pachysandra will begin to emerge from winter slumber and the first shoots will begin to develop. It will be in these days when you must carry out the fertilization, thus giving it a push for a stronger development.

Depending on the fertilizer format you have chosen, you may need more fertilizations during the growing season (spring and summer). There are slow-release fertilizers that a single annual fertilization will suffice. While with others it must be repeated in late summer.

4.2 How to fertilize

As we said, once spring rolls around, take a 12-12-12 slow release fertilizer and apply it to your Pachysandras. Among the most common fertilizer formats that adapt very well to these plants is granules. But there are many types of fertilizers on the market, it will be enough if it is slow release and with a balanced mix.

In general, it is good to avoid fertilizers that are too rich in phosphorus, which favor flowering. Since while Pachysandras produces flowers, its greatest virtue is its dense foliage. Therefore, applying a lot of phosphorus (something that favors flowering) in the case of this subshrub is not recommended.

Always remember once the fertilization is finished to accompany a good watering. This will allow the nutrients to be dispersed more evenly and that there are no high concentrations at specific points that could damage the roots and / or stems.

Both the dose and the regularity with which you should fertilize will depend on the fertilizer you use. There are fertilizers that release their nutrients in 12 months, so an annual application is sufficient.

If your Pachysandras are in very fertile soil and under the shade of other trees. Which constantly provide you with new organic matter (fallen leaves, fruits, etc.) most likely you do not need to perform any type of fertilization.

5. Transplanting Pachysandra (Youtube video)


To end the article, and as usual in our blog, we have selected a video (brokkenstar channel). For the occasion, we are not looking for a video on fertilization, but on the transplant of Pachysandra, since it is something that is highly consulted by our users. I hope it is of use to you, and if you liked it, give it a like. 😉

If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.

And so we finish this article where we talk about the use of fertilizer for Pachysandra. I’m sure it took longer to read our post than it took to finish the fertilization task.

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