Best 10 Plants to Grow Under Trees

Shady sections of the garden and particularly the areas under trees are generally regarded as problem places where it is hard to find anything that will grow well. Fortunately there are a number of plants that do manage to cope with these conditions. In addition to the list of plants this article by Julie Christensen which I found on the Gardening Channel website also includes tips for success.

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. If you’ve given up on growing plants under trees and opted for the landscape fabric and mulch solution, read on. In this article, we’ve included suggestions on how to plant under trees, along with ten plants that not only grow, but thrive, in the difficult growing conditions found there.

Shade Loving Shrubs

Azaleas and Rhododendrons. These acid-loving shrubs grow best in USDA zones 6 through 9. They need a pH between 4.4 and 6.0 and won’t tolerate alkaline soils, making them an unsuitable choice for most of the Rocky Mountain area and some parts of the Midwest. If you live in an area where they grow, though, azaleas and rhododendrons make lovely understory shrubs. Azaleas need consistent moisture, so use a drip system regularly.


Oregon Grape Holly. Oregon grape holly is a tough, drought-resistant plant that can grow in almost any environment. The plant is available as an upright shrub or with a trailing form, which is especially attractive under trees. It has holly-shaped leaves, yellow flowers and purple berries.

Hydrangeas. Like azaleas, hydrangeas need consistent moisture, but they tolerate and even prefer shade. In zones 6 through 9, you can grow mophead or French hydrangeas. In zones 4 through 5, you’re better off growing panicle or arborescens hydrangeas, which are more cold hardy.

See more at the Gardening Channel


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