There’s something about blooming flowers underneath a tall tree that seems so romantic and beautiful.
What’s the most troublesome area in your home landscape? If you’re like many homeowners, it’s probably the area under evergreen or shade trees. Plants that are to be grown under trees and at the bases of hedges need to be chosen carefully, as not all plants will thrive in these tricky conditions. The soil under trees can be dry, depleted of nutrients and shady, so the soil needs to be prepared well before planting.
In this article, we’ve included suggestions of ten plants that not only grow, but thrive, in the difficult growing conditions found there.
Dicentra plants provide textural interest in the landscape even when not in bloom. Finely divided leaves are a delicate backdrop to the pendulous pink heart-shaped blooms that give the plant its name.
Anemone’s are easy to find, longer blooming, and spread out nicely, but aren’t impossible to control. In our opinion, they’re one of the best choices you can make for a ground cover.
LILY OF THE VALLEY
Lily of the valley is a tough little plant with a sweet spring fragrance. The tiny bell-shaped flowers look like they belong in a fairy’s landscape, but Convallaria majalis is a formidable ground cover that can quickly fill in any blank spot in the garden.
Aquilegias flourish in dappled shade. They come in many pretty colors and flower shapes. Stalwarts of the cottage garden, they are equally at home in a woodland setting, where they self-seed happily.
Vinca minor plants are aggressive enough to become somewhat of a pest in a mixed planting garden, but if a tough plant is what you seek, then periwinkle will satisfy that need.
Wild ginger needs some moisture, but it tolerates shade and spreads quickly. Its large, heart-shaped leaves form a dense mat.
A beautiful plant for a woodland garden. It does well as a ground cover or in a flower bed. Beware the berries, as they are poisonous to animals and children.
If the soil beneath your tree is loose enough for digging, add some spring-blooming bulbs for a spring show that will increase in size each year. The Narcissus group of bulbs does need sunlight to get the energy for future blooms.
The heart-shaped leaves with contrasting white veining catch the eye of many gardeners with shady lots, but the cloud of sky blue flowers that Brunnera macrophylla produce in the spring is the icing on the cake.
Yarrow is actually best suited to full sun, but if the tree in question is smaller and your bed would receive at least 6 hours of sun a day, plant on.
For the garden-loving homeowner, mature trees cause a conundrum: no one wants to remove a stately shade tree that took decades to mature, but trees are sun and moisture hogs that won’t share their turf with just any plant. Gardeners sometimes compensate with a fresh planting of annuals each year, but this constant root disturbance isn’t good for the tree either. Fortunately, there are a number of perennials that you can use to create an attractive and harmonious landscape under a tree.