Virtues: We love partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) for its evergreen foliage, spring flowers and winter berries. This native groundcover can be found in the woodlands of much of eastern North America, making it a good choice for shade gardens.
Common name: partrdigeberry
Botanical name: Mitchella repens
Flowers: Small, four-petaled white flowers with tubular throats are held in pairs abouve the foliage in spring. Fragrant. These are followed by scarlet red berries. May rebloom lightly in fall.
Foliage: Broad, rounded half-inch bright green leaves form a dense cover all year.
Habit: Creeping evergreen perennialto two inches tall. Stems root to the ground where they touch the soil.
Season: Year-round for foliage; spring for flowers; late summer and fall into winter for berries.
Origin: Dry and moist woodlands, stream banks and slopes of roughly the eastern half of North America, from Nova Scotia and Minnesota south to eastern Texas and north Florida.
How to grow partridgeberry: Grow Mitchella repens in full or part shade, with well-drained soil. Requires low to moderate watering. If partridgeberry is sited in part shade, it will need more frequent watering than if it’s in full shade. Watch for wilting of the leaves. Partridgeberry does not like to be disturbed or transplanted after it is established in the garden. USDA Zones 4–8.
Image: “Mitchella.repens01”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Download the October 2012 issue of Horticulture, which includes much content on groundcovers, lawns and other low-to-the-ground garden plants.
Find more great native plants for a naturalistic garden in The Living Landscape.
Design a beautiful, low-maintenance year-round garden with The Creative Shrub Garden.