The Q&A Archives: What Will Grow Bneath My Deodar Cedar?

Question: My front yard is approximately 10 X 20 feet. On one side we have a very old deodar cedar which we prune regularly but it still creates shade over most of the garden. I currently have English ivy over the entire yard which I plan to rip out. It's been there 18+ years so it will be quite a chore.

Once I have clear ground to work with - what plants will be pretty and grow well underneath my cedar??

The tree does drop lots of needles and cones most of the year.

thank you
daniele mills

Answer: Besides the litter they drop, the chief problems when planting under cedar trees are deep shade and thick mats of relatively shallow roots that crowd out others and compete unfavorably for water. The severity of the problems depends somewhat on the size of the cedar, so you'll have to watch your plants carefully and rescue them if the competition is too great.

With that said, I'd concentrate on using plants that tolerate dry shade. Some suggestions include Bergenia, Erigeron (Mexican daisy), Iris, Nepeta (catmint), Penstemon, Clivia, Senecio, Heuchera (coral bells), Hosta, Impatiens, Lily, Lobelia, and Caladium bicolor. Vinca minor makes a nice groundcover beneath trees and isn't as aggressive as ivy.

Good luck with your renovation project!

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