Partridgeberry – Evergreen Groundcover For Deep Shady Areas

Partridgeberry (Michella repens)

Partridgeberry (Michella repens) (photo credit: Mt. Cuba Center)

Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) is grown for its evergreen foliage, spring flowers and winter berries. This native low-growing groundcover can be found in moist woodlands and along stream banks in the Eastern and Midwest U.S. It is a good choice for planting in deep shaded garden areas (USDA hardiness zones 4–8).

In the spring woodlands, small four-petaled white tubular flowers are arranged in pairs above the foliage. Bright scarlet red berries follow late summer, fall and winter. Partridgeberry may re-bloom lightly in fall.

Partridgeberry is a creeping evergreen perennial up to 2 inches high. Round, 1/2 inch wide, bright green leaves form a dense cover all year. Stems root into the soil where they touch and grows non-aggressively. Bare root plants should be set in very early spring and kept irrigated until the new growth has definitely started. Container plants (plugs) may be set at any time.

Grow partridgeberry in full or partial shade and in compost-rich, acidic, well-drained soil. When first planted, young plants need low to moderate watering. Plants become quite tolerant of dry soils after one season. If you observe leaf wilting, irrigate more frequently or move to a shadier site.

Decorative value: Occasionally, I’ve seen partridgeberry utilized in Christmas greenery for the festive bright red berries and dark evergreen foliage. Fruits are favorites of  all kinds of woodland wildlife including deer. However, deer cause little damage to the overall vine.

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