How to Care for Aegopodium podagraria (Snow on the Mountain)

Aegopodium podagraria is also known as the Ground Elder, Herb Gerard, English Masterwort, Wild Masterwort, and Snow on the Mountain, is a perennial flowering plant from the carrot family. The name Snow on the Mountain refers to its beautiful white flowers and its green foliage color. This is a perfect plant for a ground cover in shady places, you can even grow it to the places where most other plants do not grow.

This plant is also a beautiful choice for indoor decoration as they grow very well in shady places and small pots. While you can also grow them as a ground cover in your backyard or landscape. They create beautiful scenery and from a little far away, it looks like the plants are all covered by the snow.

The Snow on the Mountain plants can grow up to 100 cm or 39 inches tall and can cover almost 50 cm or 18 inches. They have erected hollow stems that divide into multiple branches. The leaves are mostly on the tip of these branches. Flowers are also on the edge of the branch and covered with 3 or more leaves. Their flowers are tiny and they grow in clusters. They produce a white umbrella-shaped flower head.

At the end of the flowering season, these flowers turn into the tiny fruit that contains the seeds. These seeds are mostly harvested during the summer. Apart from these flowers, this dark green foliage of the Snow on the Mountain, also creates beautiful scenery. Their origin is not confirmed but they are found worldwide and grown for different purposes including their ornamental uses.

Snow on the Mountain was used as part of soup and green vegetables in different parts of the world in ancient times especially in the Mediterranean region. They are also used for the treatment of arthritis and gout (a type of bone and muscle disease) but their use in modern-day medicine is decreasing now and they are mostly grown just for ornamental purposes.

Growing Conditions and Requirements

They like to be grown in a partially shady place, where they can get indirect sunlight. They can be grown in different types of soils including the clay, chalk, loam, and sandy as well. The soil can also be slightly acidic to neutral. The most important thing for their soil is that it must be a well-draining soil.

They can be grown in different temperature zones, but they prefer slightly hot and humid environments. You can also prune the plants if you want. If you have grown them into the pots you can report them as well.  

Below are the details about the growing conditions and requirements:

Water Requirements

Snow on the Mountain needs more watering during the early days of their plantation. Their watering requirements change depending upon their age, size, area, temperature, and season. You can prepare a watering schedule that covers all these factors.

● Adult and established plants need less water than a plant that has just been planted or is just a few days old. The smaller plants have small roots that are not stretched deep into the soil to fetch the water, that is why we need to water them more often and regularly during the early days.

●     Once the plant is almost 10 inches, its roots are deep enough into the soil that it can fetch water from the soil. Now, you can water your plants less often than the early days. Watering them once every 7 to 8 days is enough.

● The plants that are grown in under the full sun or in a hot area, also need more water. While the plants that are grown in the cold areas and under the shade need less watering.

● Snow on the Mountain needs more frequent water during the summer, spring, and less frequent watering during the autumn and winter. During the winter, you can water them occasionally and they will survive as they can survive a short-term drought during the cold.

Lighting Requirements

Grow the Snow on the Mountain under a shade, grow them in a place where they only get sunlight during the morning, and the evening while during the noon, they need protection from the hot sun. If the plants are planted without any shade, there are chances of abnormal growth, discoloring, and burning of the leaves of the plants due to the extreme sunlight.

But if you live in a cold region where the sunlight can cause no harm to its leaves, you can grow them without the shade as well. You can also grow them indoors very easily, all you need to do is to place them somewhere in your house, where they can get the sunlight directly during the morning.

Temperature Requirements

Snow on the Mountain is mostly grown in the USDA hardiness zone 3 to 9. They can live and survive the extremely cold temperatures as low as the -30 F. They can also survive the hot temperatures. Snow on the Mountain thrives when the temperature is between 40 F to 65 F.

Snow on the Mountain can also survive the frost for a short period. If you are looking forward to growing them in an extremely cold region, you might have to place them indoors to protect them from a prolonged winter. While it is the same for extremely hot regions as well, if you want to grow them in extremely hot regions, it’s best to keep them inside to protect them from the extreme heat and sun.

Soil Requirements

The Snow on the Mountain needs well-draining soil to thrive. It can survive in different types of soils including the clay, loam, and sandy soil.  It can also be grown in slightly acidic to neutral soil.

The roots of the Snow on the Mountain are very weak and they need protection from the impacts of overwatering, and root rot. To protect the roots from rotting due to overwatering, it is a must that the soil should be porous so that it allows the quick drainage of the water.

Porous soil mostly contains cocopeat, mulch, compost, sand, perlite, pumice, and other materials that make it porous and allow the water to quickly drain. These materials also protect the plant from drought as the mulch layer in the soil can store some water. This small amount of stored water will not let the soil get dry.

Fertilizer Requirements

Snow on the Mountain needs only a small amount of fertilizers to grow, they are mostly able to survive with the nutrients that are already in the soil. But if you want to see more flowering, and want your plants to quickly grow, you can use the fertilizers as well.

The use of fertilizers helps the plant get all the nutrients that they need for their proper growth. Before applying any plant fertilizers, have a soil test. The soil test will allow you to track all the nutrients that are in the soil and will also help you identify the ones that are depleted.

With the help of soil tests, you can use the fertilizers more effectively. You can choose a fertilizer that contains the required amounts of all the required nutrients and then you can feed this directly to your plants.

How to apply fertilizers?

Three different methods are commonly used for fertilizing the Snow on the Mountain, below are their details.

  1. Mixing the plant fertilizers with the soil, this is done before the plantation. You can take the required fertilizers and then mix them with the soil. Then you can water the soil so that the fertilizers become a part of the soil. After that wait for one or two days and then sow the seeds or plant the Snow on the Mountain.
  2. This method involves mixing the required amount of plant fertilizer with water and creating a mixture. You can feed this mixture to your plants once every month. Instead of watering your plants, you can directly feed them this mixture of water and plant fertilizer.
  3. Spreading the fertilizer near the stem of the plants, this is the third method and mostly used for the plants that are bigger than one foot. You can take the required amount of recommended fertilizers and then simply spread it around their stems in the soil. After that give them some water so that fertilizers can dissolve and become available to the plant. 

You can use the proper guidelines and usage instructions, only use according to the recommended methods. Guidelines and usage instructions are mostly written on fertilizer bags.

Common Diseases and Pests Control

The flowers of the Snow on the Mountain attract a variety of plant insects including the bees, aphids, and many others. There are a lot of different methods to control their populations including chemical sprays.

Root rot, that is mostly caused due to the overwatering of the plant. If your soil is not well-draining you must be careful before watering. Only water them once you feel that your soil is slightly drying. Root rot can cause severe damage to the plant. The only way to protect the plant is by regulating the water supply and following the schedule.

Leaf Spots is caused by the fungi, these fungi attack the young leaves and start eating them slowly. You will see the spots on the leaves of the plants, this is a contagious disease and spreads quickly. The best way to prevent the spread is by removing the infected plant or infected leaves. Apart from removing the plants you can also use the chemical spray to kill the fungi and protect your plants.

How to Plant

The Snow on the Mountain plants spread with the help of their rhizomes (underground stem). These rhizomes mature and grow bulbs on them. These bulbs then turn into a new plant. You can grow them using the same technique, but you need to cut the rhizome into two or three halves and then plant each of the halves into a different pot. After that provide them with some water and leave them in a bright place. In a few days, you will see the new Snow on the Mountain plants growing.

Growing from the seeds:

If you are looking forward to growing them from the seeds you need to harvest their seeds from a healthy plant. Keep these seeds in a warm place so that they can dry and then you can sow them in the potting soil. After that provide them with some water and cover the pot with the plastic sheet. In a few days, you will see that the seeds will start to sprout and then you can transfer them to a new pot.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: Why is my Snow on the Mountain turning brown?

Answer: There are different reasons for the Snow on the Mountain turning brown. It can be due to the lack of nutrients in the soil, it can also be caused due to overwatering or less watering, these conditions are mostly treated with the proper care of the plants. If you keep them dry, you must water them, check if they need fertilizers and also check for the root rot signs.

Question: Is Snow on the Mountain invasive?

Answer: Yes, the Snow on the Mountain is a quickly spreading plant species. They spread with the help of their underground stem known as the rhizome. If you do not control their growth, they can take over all your backyard or your lawn. That is why it is advised to grow them in a confined area.

Question: How to get rid of Snow on the Mountain?

Answer: You can use different methods, if you just want the plants to die and regrow, you can mow a lawn-mower with the highest settings. They will regrow in the next season, but if you want to completely kill them, you will have to remove their rhizomes. You can do this by spraying herbicides, or stop watering the rhizomes and they will die, once they die you can remove them.

Question: How fast does Snow on the Mountain grow?

Answer: Snow on the Mountain is a perennial plant that can take up to a year to reach its potential height, while the plant can live for almost three years if the conditions are stable. They can get a height of two feet within a year.