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What is Mazus?

Jennifer Voight
Jennifer Voight

Mazus reptans is an attractive perennial low-growing, spreading plant that produces numerous small purple flowers in the spring with yellow and white centers resembling snapdragon blossoms. Often used as a ground cover, Mazus tolerates light foot traffic and the occasional mowing; grows well in moist, well-drained soil; and is popular with gardeners for use in rock gardens, as a lawn substitute, and between pavers. Mazus grows well in USDA zones three through nine in areas receiving full sun to partial shade, making it a popular plant for use in a variety of locations.

Although it grows only around 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) high, Mazus will grow quickly, forming a dense mat of foliage. It is not invasive and is not deer resistant. In most areas, numerous tiny lavender blooms will appear in late spring or early summer, although some varieties produce reddish or white flowers. The plant is considered low-maintenance. For a neater appearance, old foliage should be removed in the fall or spring before new foliage appears, and spent blooms should be removed to encourage new blooms.

In warmer climates, the plant will stay green year-round. In cooler climates, the plant should be mulched in the winter to protect it from extremes of temperature. The plant will tolerate hot, humid summers if the soil is kept moist.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Plants are available in nurseries in the spring in small pots. Individual plants should be spaced around 12 inches (about 30.5 cm) apart, as they will quickly fill in the empty space between them, spreading anywhere from 6 inches to 1 foot (15 to 30 cm). As it grows, the plant will put down roots from spreading stems. Mazus is easy to share with other gardeners because it can be easily divided in the spring by pulling apart the plant with roots attached and planting in fertile soil. It can also be propagated from seed in spring or fall.

Although somewhat drought-tolerant, Mazus does best when watered frequently after planting to establish a strong, deep root system. It should be watered whenever rain is in short supply thereafter, as dry conditions will hinder its growth and appearance. Plants located in full sun may need more frequent watering than plants in partly shaded areas. Mazus tolerates acid to neutral soil and a wide variety of soil conditions. Mazus does not have any major insect or disease problems, although it can be susceptible to damage from slugs or snails.

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