Podophyllum peltatum, commonly known as the mayapple, is a perennial herb native to the rich, fertile deciduous forests that once extended from southeastern Canada to the upper southern states of the United States. As a shade-loving plant, the mayapple is an excellent choice for bringing interest and greenery to the shadier parts of your garden.
Partial Shade is Welcome
Although the mayapple thrives in full shade areas, it can also tolerate a partially shaded environment. This adaptive quality makes it a versatile addition to any garden landscape needing ground cover or a pop of color.
Caring for the Mayapple
Planting the mayapple is a breeze. Simply loosen your soil and add some compost or shredded leaves to improve drainage and boost nutrients. Once the mayapple is well-established, it requires minimal care—even in relatively arid climates. To maintain its health, occasionally water the plant and de-compact the soil by adding a scoop of compost occasionally. Apart from these simple steps, the mayapple is remarkably self-sufficient and sure to please any low-maintenance gardener.
Welcoming Green Foliage
Breathing life into those tricky shady spots is easy with adding mayapple plants. Over a few seasons, the mayapple will expand into an attractive colony, adding a fern-like presence to the shaded areas. Reaching up to two feet in height, this plant boasts large, umbrella-shaped leaves in a rich, glossy green hue. Each leaf can measure about eight inches long, featuring five to seven lobes and a toothy edge.
Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden
In the spring, the mayapple’s lovely green leaves emerge, soon followed by the appearance of its delicate flowers. These cup-shaped, creamy white blossoms typically measure about one inch across, featuring six petals and a vibrant yellow center. They grow in the fork of the leaf stalks, adding a touch of charm and beauty to your garden.
After the flowers fade, the mayapple produces small apple-shaped fruits that are not edible for humans but are a delightful treat for various garden wildlife. Songbirds, in particular, are attracted to these tiny fruits, bringing an added layer of life and entertainment to your outdoor space.
Companion Planting with Moss
The mayapple’s love for shady areas makes it an ideal companion plant for moss. These plants can be grown together to create a stunning, lush greenery carpet that will look beautiful and serve as an effective ground cover, preventing soil erosion and deterring weeds.