The Q&A Archives: Complimentary Planting And Tree Fern Trimming

Question: Can you suggest a complimentary planting for a Scotch pine?
Can you also tell me how to get my tree fern to grow branches on the lower portion of the trunk? It is getting too tall where it is.

thank you

Kirk Shrum

Answer: Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) has a narrow, pyramidal shape and showy red bark. Complimentary plants will thrive under the same growing conditions as your pine, and highlight either the bark or the needle color. Since the roots of your pine will compete for moisture and nutrients with companion plants, be sure to provide adequate space for all. Some perennial plants for you to consider include Achillea (yarrow), Linum perenne (blue flax), Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage), Scabiosa (pincushion flower), Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly flower), Helictotrichon (blue oat grass), Eriogonum (sulfur flower), Penstemon (common penstemon), Gaura lindheimeri (appleblossom grass), and Penstemon pinifolius (pineleaf penstemon).

Cyathea cooperi, the tree fern, is a fast-growing plant which begins as a clump of fronds but eventually develops a tall, bare trunk with fronds only at the very tip of the trunk. Since this plant will eventually reach 20' in height, you may want to move it to a more suitable location.

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