The Q&A Archives: Plants for under a Pine?

Question: We have a raised bed under a pine tree, and I would like to know some good drought resistant perennials that would do good in there? The soil is also sandy. I did have success with some colus in there but would really like perennials , so I wouldn't have to replant it every year. Also try azaleas, they died right away. sure would appreicate your help.

Answer: The soil beneath pines tends to be on the acidic end of the pH scale because of the needles they drop. But another problem associated with growing plants under pines is that the trees have fibrous roots near the soil surface which will compete with any other plant for moisture and nutrients. Additionally, the canopy of pines effectively divert rainwater so things are usually pretty dry directly under the trees. Now that you have a little background information on why it's so difficult to grow plants under pines, you're better equipped to make the right plant choices. Look for plants that grow well in acidic soils, have shallow roots, grow in partially shady locations, and don't mind dry conditions. Some of the plants that will adjust to these conditions include Artemisia, Erigeron karvinskianus, Heuchera (Coral Bells), Limonium, Evening Primrose (Oenothera), Penstemon, Romneya coulteri (Matilija Poppy), Salvia, Santolina (Lavender Cotton), Stonecrop, Campanula and Ferns of all kinds.

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