The Q&A Archives: Planting Under Douglas Firs

Question: What would be a good plant or flower to plant directly under a Doug Fir tree in my backyard?

Answer: It's difficult to keep plants growing under fir trees. They cast dense shade, drop needles, and their surface roots can suck the moisture out of the soil in a hurry. Inspite of these habits, you can plant under them. Be careful about disturbing their roots, or using plants that require a lot of water. It's important not to plant within 5-6 feet of the trunks of your trees. The shrubs, groundcovers and perennials that will do well under firs in your gardening region include Barberry, Wild Lilac (Ceanothus), Rock Rose, Pacific Wax Myrtle and Cape Plumbago, Wild Strawberry, Rosemary, Evergreen Currant, Aloe, Dusty Miller, Daylily, Oregano, Penstemon, Salvia, Sedum, Thyme and Vinca. Following the above guidelines should result in happy fir trees and attractive, healthy landscape plants.

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