The Q&A Archives: What can I plant in the shady area under my orange tree?

Question: I have an area (10'x10') under an orange tree that gets sun only about 5 hours a day, I would like to plant some nice plants under the tree but don't know which ones. Any suggestions?

Answer: Citrus trees like moist soil and they're not especially anxious to share their root space with other plants. You can damage tree roots by digging beneath the tree to plant. It's best for your tree to have bare earth directly under the canopy, but you can plant outside of the dripline. And, if you include a groundcover that likes shade, it can slowly creep beneath your tree and provide color as well as helping to slow water evaporation.

Groundcovers for shady areas include carpet bugle, periwinkle, English ivy, mock strawberry, plumbago, sweet woodruff, woodbine, wintercreeper euonymous and dead nettle.

Perennial flowers to consider include daffodil, tulips, crocus and other spring bulbs that bloom and complete growth before trees leaf out late in the spring.

Other perennials include coral bells, bellflower, pigsqueak bergenia, astilbe, bleeding heart, bugloss, cranesbill geranium, lady's mantle and the European type daylilies.

Don't forget ornamental grasses such as maiden grass and tufted hairgrass, and annual flowers such as coleus, foxglove, impatiens, lobelia, wax begonia, flossflower, and browallia.

Best wishes with your garden!

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