Creeping Mazus

Creeping Mazus

"Nature poets can't walk across the backyard
without tripping over an epiphany."

-Christian Wiman,
b. 1966

"Wisdom is oftentimes nearer
when we stoop than when we soar."

-William Wordsworth,

Mazus reptans is a hardy groundcover that needs regular moisture with good drainage; it can tolerate excess wetness better than dryness. It is creeping groundcover only a half-inch to two inches tall, with toothed lance-shaped leaves forming a continuous mat.

Each plant will easily spread to a foot round, & makes a fine dense groundcover for small areas, path edges, or as attractive filler between larger sun perennials which will protect it a bit from hot summer sun. It also works nicely in outdoor pots along with tall upright plants or miniature shrubs or bonsai.

Creeping MazusThis leafy carpet produces many small but surprisingly showy tubular, lipped lilac blooms with white & yellow markings, resembling tiny snapdragons. These appear mid to late May, all of June & part of July, with slighter rebloom later in the year.

On Puget Sound, the foliage is slow to die back in winter, & refreshes itself early the following spring. It's trouble-free for zones 5 through 8, though to survive the colder end of that range it will need a protective mulching.

It likes a lot of sun but long hot summers can exhaust it so a bit of shade at the hottest time of summer days is adviseable, & it'll still bloom well in bright shade. If over-sunned & allowed to dry out, it'll die out of the garden. It will otherwise naturalize easily in loose humus-rich soil.

Sundry species of Mazus provide traditional medicines in India & China, for externer treatment of small cuts. There do not seem to be a lot of studies on its efficacy, & certainly nothing promising, but it appears at least to be harmless for hypochondriac use.


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