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Fat man or Ysander (Pachysandra terminalis) is a very robust plant - as long as the requirements for the location are right and the ground cover is otherwise healthy. If the leaves change color and entire shoots rot, fungal diseases are responsible. How to recognize diseases and what you can do about them.

The fat man does not like too much humidity

Diseases that make things difficult for the fat man

Fungal diseases can be really dangerous for the Ysander. Very moist soil and mild temperatures favor the spread of fungal spores. There are two types of fungi in particular that occur more frequently and cannot always be distinguished diagnostically by laypersons.

Shoot dieback occurs more frequently than root rot. The first signs of this are discoloration of the leaves. Ring-shaped spots are conspicuous. The leaves then turn black while the shoots soften.

You can recognize root rot by the fact that the shoots begin to rot from below, especially after the winter. They can be easily pulled out of the ground. The above-ground parts of the plant no longer have any support and simply tip over, which is why root rot is also called damping-off.

Treat volutella dieback and phytophthora root rot

For both fungal diseases, first generously cut off all affected parts and discard them. Perennials that still have enough healthy shoots and roots can be planted in a new location.

Volutella pachysandrae, the fungus responsible for dieback, survives in the soil for a long time. If the infestation is severe, you may need to remove the top soil surface. Sometimes the use of a fungicide helps.

Ysander that has been affected by Phytophthora root rot can usually no longer be saved. There are no fungicides for control that are approved in Germany. Here you can only prevent.

This is how you prevent diseases

Ensure optimal location and care conditions:

  • Shady to semi-shady location
  • well drained, well drained soil
  • do not fertilize too much
  • Combat pest infestation immediately
  • Prune diseased shoots immediately

If aphids or other pests appear, you should take immediate measures to combat them.


Pachysandra terminalis is fully hardy and does not need winter protection. Nevertheless, in very cold winters, individual above-ground parts can freeze. Simply cut off these branches, the plant will recover very quickly.

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