What Grows Well Under Pine Trees? - Knowledgebase Question

Ridgecrest, CA
Question by christydavi2
March 30, 2000
I don't have much of a green thumb, but get a lot of joy having beautiful flowers in my back yard. I have huge pine trees in my backyard that get watered regularly and provide good shade for my backyard. Which is nice since it can reach 120 in the summer. What kind of flowering plant will do well under pine trees? Not a lot of direct sunlight, but climate is very hot.


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Answer from NGA
March 30, 2000

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The soil beneath pines tends to be on the acidic end of the pH scale because of the needles they drop. 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 (Santa Barbara Daisy), California Poppy, 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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