The Q&A Archives: Plants for Dry Shade

Question: I have a cedar tree and am having difficulty finding plants to fill in that area. I'm looking for plants that will grow in mostly shade, with some dappled sunlight in the morning.

Answer: Planting under cedar trees is a real challenge. The trees emit an allelopathic chemical that inhibits the growth of other plants. Cedars also drop lots of "leaves" each fall, which are intended to add mulch to the top of the soil and protect the roots of the tree. Additionally, the roots are shallow and don't particularly like competing with other plants for moisture and nutrients. To bring color to the area, you could try planting annuals like impatiens, primroses, or pansies. There are alsosome deciduous ground covers like Bishop's Weed that die back in the fall, making it easier to rake up the cedar leaves.

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