The Q&A Archives: Pepper Tree, What Can I Grow Under It

Question: I've ben told that absolutely nothing can grow under it.
The pepper tree is quite mature but has limited foilage due the power and electric lines. It is tall but quite thin.
I'd like to create a fern dell. was thinking of papyrus purple fountain grass, polka dot plants and snow busch for ground cover. Your opinion/suggestions are very important to me!
Thanks Ellen


Planting under pepper trees can sometimes be successful, if you choose the right plants. Your tree has a multitude of surface roots, which will make digging difficult. Even more important, these established roots will hog all of the moisture and nutrients you apply, leaving your new plants with very little of these necessary elements. If you choose shade-tolerant plants with a preference for dry soils, you may have some degree of success. I'd suggest planting Polypodium (with fern-like leaves), Vinca minor, Lamium, SarcococcaBergenia, Cyclamen, Dicentra (bleeding heart) and Epimedium under your pepper tree.

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