Epigaea Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Epigaea plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Laurel, Mayflower, & Trailing Arbutus: Cultivation & Garden Use

Members of the Epigaea genus are evergreen hardy perennials.

They carry cup shaped flowers of white or pink. These come into bloom in the spring.

Some of the common names for Epigaea plants include Mayflower, Ground Laurel, and Trailing Arbutus.

They grow low on the ground and have a creeping nature.

Epigaea repens
Epigaea repens by InAweofGod'sCreation's.

Epigaea gaultheroides
Epigaea gaultheroides by peganum.

Epigaea Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Ground Laurel, Mayflower, Trailing Arbutus.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm). Prostate shrubs
Native: Northern America, Asia.
Family: Ericaceae.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Early spring.
Flower Details: White, pink. Cup-shaped. Clusters.
Foliage: Evergreen. Oval. Large dark leaves.
Sow/Plant Outside: Seeds: 1/4 inch (6 mm). Midsummer using fresh seed. Germination time: at least a month. Spacing 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm). Seed grown plants will take around three years before they bloom. Transplant seedlings grown from cuttings, or nursery/ gardening centres either at the start of spring or early in autumn.
Sow Inside: No
Requirements and care: Full or partial shade. Sandy and gritty, moist, acidic soils. Soil pH 4.0 to 5.0. Oak leaf or pine needle mulch (permanently). Keep the soil that seedlings grow in moist at all times. Propagate: for best results softwood cuttings should be taken towards the end of summer.
Miscellaneous: A member of this genus Epigaea repens has the common name of Mayflower because of its abundance at Plymouth Rock when the ship of the same name landed there. The flower is also the state flower of Massachusetts.

How to Grow Mayflower, Ground Laurel, and other Epigaea Plants in the Garden

Ground Laural and Mayflower seeds (and other Epigaea members) should be sown outdoors using fresh seeds in mid-summer. Sow at a depth of about 6 mm (1/4 inch) into a sterile soil. This should beacidic in nature (pH 4 to 5) and gritty.

They prefer to be grown in a shady area as they are naturally found in woodlands locations.

It usually takes about a month for Epigaea to germinate, but it is difficult to establish the plants. They should begin to flower after about three years.

You may prefer to get plants from a garden centre. If so then plant them outdoors at a spacing of about 25 cm (10 inches) either at the beginning of spring, or the start of autumn.

Propagation of Epigaea

If you require more Epigaea plants, then propagate by taking softwood cuttings towards the end of summer.

Common Questions

How many members does the Epigaea genus have?

The Epigaea genus consists of three species.

Do members of Epigaea make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Epigaea repens, commonly known as Trailing Arbutus or Mayflower, is often used as a groundcover in shady areas.

Which Epigaea species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus) is the most popular among gardeners.

Are members of the Epigaea plant genus fragrant?

Yes, Epigaea repens has fragrant, pinkish-white flowers.

What is the perfect location to grow Epigaea?

Epigaea prefers partial to full shade with acidic, humus-rich, well-drained soil.

Is Epigaea invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Epigaea is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Epigaea plants from my garden?

Remove Epigaea by digging up the entire plant, making sure to eliminate all roots to prevent regrowth.


The Epigaea genus, commonly known as Trailing Arbutus or Mayflower, comprises three species of small, evergreen shrubs native to North America and Asia. These plants are loved for their fragrant, bell-shaped flowers that appear in spring, typically in shades of white or pink.

Epigaea plants prefer partial shade and acidic, well-drained soil, similar to their native woodland habitats. They can be grown from seeds or cuttings, but are slow-growing and can be difficult to establish. Given their trailing habit, they make excellent ground covers for shaded areas and are often grown under larger shrubs or trees.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Epigaea plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Pieris plant, and Gaultheria procumbens plants.