Planting along the edge of a wood is often a bit tricky. Such locations are either too dark, too moist or too calcareous for the majority of ornamental plants. As a native wild perennial, hazel root does not have such problems. With a height of up to 20 cm, the Easter Luze plant thrives in dense carpets, covered with spicy-scented, shimmering leaves in a powerful green. If the interested garden lover takes a look at the profile, the revealing attributes convey that the Asarum europaeum brings calm to the opulence of summer blooms, in order to set subtle splashes of color with reddish foliage in winter. Of course, the common hazel root does not require any elaborate care.


  • Plant family of the Easter Luza family (Aristolochiaceae).
  • Scientific name Asarum europaeum.
  • Native to Eurasia to Siberia.
  • Evergreen, hardy wild perennial.
  • Tolerant to cold down to -29° Celsius.
  • Growth height 5 cm to 20 cm.
  • Inconspicuous red-brown flowers in March and April.
  • Heart-shaped glossy green leaves.
  • Creeping habit with underground rhizome.
  • Trivial names: Hasewurz, pepperwort, kidneywort, chokeroot, hare’s ear.

Hazel root is considered poisonous and has long since lost its status as a medicinal plant. Today, creative hobby gardeners know how to use the Asarum europaeum as a shapely, fragrant ground cover where other plants hardly thrive. In addition to the decorative component, the plant also scores with an effective suppression of weeds thanks to the compact leaf cushion.


The name already suggests it; the hazel root feels extremely comfortable in the immediate vicinity of hazelnut trees. This preference can be extended to trees and shrubs in general, provided the soil on the tree grates, along the grove, or on embankments is not too dry.

  • Shady to partially shaded location, preferably under deciduous trees.
  • A sunny location is accepted from an altitude of 500 meters.
  • Moist, loamy soil with sufficient lime content.
  • A pH between 8 and 10 is ideal.
  • Well drained and without the risk of waterlogging.

The common hazel root does not get along well with dry, sandy planting sites. As long as the soil is not too compacted, it prefers to spread its rhizomes in heavy, humus-rich soil.

watering and fertilizing

A balanced relationship between moisture content and dryness has a beneficial effect on the growth of the ground cover. The better the kidneywort is established at the site, the easier it can cope with a longer drought.

  • Keep the soil evenly moist.
  • If the upper substrate layer dries, it is watered.
  • Regular mulching keeps the soil moist for longer.
  • Fertilize with compost or mineral preparation during the growing season.

The nutrient supply ends in September at the latest so that the hardy perennial can prepare for the coming cold season. Young shoots that do not appear until late autumn do not have enough time to fully mature and develop the winter hardiness they need.

To cut

The extremely slow-growing citrine does not receive any pruning in the true sense. Despite the subterranean rhizomes, which the plant uses to survive, it is by no means invasive and would require regular pruning. Rather, the experienced hobby gardener limits himself to thinning out the ground cover from time to time so that the dense carpet of leaves is preserved.

  • Cut off dried and dying shoots.
  • Gather dead leaves by hand.

If the pepperwort has reached the edge of the bed or the area allocated to it is completely overgrown, an attentive gardener cuts the edges into shape in the spring.

Tip: In the event that seeding of the wild perennial is not desired, the seed pods are cut out in good time after flowering.


Hardy Asarum europaeum keep their green foliage all year round, which turns reddish in the persistent cold. The groundcover is not protected from snow and ice. Only persistent frost can cause considerable damage to the plant. There is talk of frost when temperatures are below zero without snow falling. Since the evergreen hazel is constantly evaporating water, it is at risk of drought stress under these conditions. Rhizomes and roots cannot draw moisture from the frozen soil. For this reason, hobby gardeners reach for the watering can on a frost-free day and water the Easter Luze plant.

multiply by division

Little rabbits’ ears owe their longevity, among other things, to the underground rhizome, in which all the reserve substances essential for survival are stored. This is where the above-ground shoots sprout, as well as the root system, which the plant sends out in search of water and nutrients. At the same time, the rhizome offers excellent starting material for uncomplicated propagation by division.

  • Carefully dig up the entire perennial in the spring before they sprout.
  • Remove any clinging soil to expose the rhizome and side shoots.
  • Cut off these side shoots with a knife over a length of at least 5 cm.
  • Disinfect and seal the cuts with charcoal ash.

Each of these young rhizomes is immediately planted in the new location in the ground. It is important to note that the shoot is inserted horizontally exactly as deep as it was previously in the ground on the mother plant.

Propagation by seed

In contrast to the uncomplicated division, the sowing of the pepperwort requires a little gardening experience, because the seeds are cold germs. This is a protective mechanism that prevents the seeds from germinating in late summer or autumn after flowering because the seedlings would not survive the winter. Rather, a cold stimulus lasting 6 to 8 weeks is required to break the dormancy.

  • Sow the hazelnut seeds in a seed tray in a peat-sand mixture.
  • Keep constantly moist for 6 to 8 weeks at a minimum of 22° Celsius.
  • Then set it up for another 6 to 8 weeks at -4° to +4° Celsius.
  • After the cooling period, gradually get used to higher temperatures.

Ideally, winter weather prevails during the cold phase, so that the growing pots or seed trays are placed in a protected corner on the balcony. If this is not the case, experienced hobby gardeners fill the seeds with a portion of moist sand in a plastic bag in order to deposit them in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.

In view of the unpredictable winters in the local regions, prudent gardeners refrain from direct sowing. Without a sufficient warm/cold period, life in the seeds does not stir, so that germination sometimes only begins after 1 to 2 years. By then, predatory birds and hungry pests would have long since discovered and devoured the seeds.


Perennial wild perennials, such as hazel root, can be planted all year round, provided the ground is not frozen. The best prospects for growing quickly and successfully are in spring during the months of March, April and May.

  • Place the used or ready-made citrate in water.
  • Meanwhile weed the bed thoroughly and loosen it up deeply with the rake.
  • Dig planting holes at a distance of 20 cm to 25 cm.
  • Mix the excavation with compost and lime to then plant the perennials.

Finally, the substrate is pressed down well and watered abundantly. Adequate water intake is essential during the following days and weeks. In addition, it should be borne in mind that the slow-growing Asarum europaeum is initially harassed by weeds for a few months until they have established themselves. Regular weeding combined with a thick layer of mulch prevents young perennials from overgrowing until they in turn wrestle down the weeds with their dense habit.

diseases and pests

The common hazel root is extremely rarely attacked by plant diseases. Sometimes voracious slugs are only after the tender leaves of the young plants. A few precautions should be taken to ensure that these omnipresent pests do not eat the entire plantation bare:

  • Set up a moving barrier from coarse materials such as grit or wood chips.
  • A snail fence drawn around the bed is helpful.
  • Inside the fence, beer traps attract the slugs.
  • Water Asarum europaeum in principle in the early morning.
  • Before that, collect the cold-sluggish slugs with the tongs.

Coffee grounds, which have been proven to be poisonous to slugs, have proven to be best. Scattered around the bed or the individual plant, the home remedy reliably prevents an infestation. However, it is necessary to replace the ground coffee after every downpour. Using chemical slug pellets should only be considered as a last resort. In order not to expose other animals in the garden to the poison, environmentally conscious hobby gardeners only use the preparation in gap traps.

Nice companion plants

If a creative garden lover wants a little more variety in the appearance of the planting, he combines hazel root with ornamental plants that harmonize without dominating.

  • Gloss-Turtle (Polystichum aculeatum)
  • Gelbrand-Wald-Marbel (Luzula sylvatica)
  • White periwinkle (Vinca minor)
  • Echter Waldmeister (Galium odoratum)

Since the hazel root is ideal for greening large embankments and slopes, the hobby gardener is sometimes faced with the problem that parts of the area are exposed to the sun or have very dry soil. In this case, the subspecies Asarum caudatum – tailed hazel – is just right, which fits perfectly into the visual appearance.

The common hazel root is without a doubt one of the best ground covers for the private ornamental garden. The native wild perennial impresses with an elegantly shiny sea of ​​leaves that even thrives in shady locations. As long as the soil is moist, humus and rich in nutrients, even adverse weather conditions cannot harm the pepperwort. Nevertheless, the robust plant does not want to know anything about complex care as long as it is sufficiently supplied with water and nutrients. Even the propagation is quite uncomplicated by division in the spring.

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