Planting Beneath Magnolia - Knowledgebase Question

Longview, TX
Question by MYWatson37
September 26, 1999
The homeowners before us created a raised flower bed beneath
a mature magnolia and, I believe, a mature redbud tree. They planted azaleas in this flower bed, and I have added
even more azaleas to the flower bed. The problem is that the azaleas beneath the magnolia tree won't grow well and remain small while the azaleas beneath the red bud do well. A couple of years ago we planted groundcover, jasmine, in this bed and are considering transplanting all of the azaleas. Is there any type of evergreen shrub that should
grow well beneath a magnolia tree, or are we better off transplanting the azaleas and letting the groundcover fill in the flower bed? Thanks for your advice!

Answer from NGA
September 26, 1999


Magnolias have lots of surface feeder roots which will effectively compete with other plants for moisture and nutrients. The azaleas are on the short end of this competition by virtue of their smaller root systems and stature in the garden. I'd transplant the azaleas to a spot of their own and allow the groundcover to gently take over the ground beneath your magnolia.

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