Soil free plants - Knowledgebase Question

bridgeport, Co
Avatar for ricqi33
Question by ricqi33
April 12, 2010
I am trying to add some curb appeal to my house by planting some flowers around the base of a tree. When I checked the soil, there is really none, just lots of hairy roots.
Is there a majic plant that will survive in such conditions?

Answer from NGA
April 12, 2010
It's difficult for plant roots to compete with the fibrous feeder roots of a tree. You can dig through the mat of roots and plant annuals (annuals are generally shallow rooted so they won't take up much root space) or you can plant a flowering ground cover such as dead nettle (Lamium maculatum). 'White Nancy' stays relatively short but spreads. It bears an attractive silvery variegated foliage. These spotted dead nettles have white blooms, but other cultivars offer blooms with different colors. Spotted dead nettles are generally grown for their foliage, however, not their flowers. Coral bells (heuchera) are perennials with shallow roots. Or, you can plant irises. The rhizomes will grow well just beneath the soil surface and don't seem to mind sharing the soil with tree roots. Hope this information helps you find just the right plants.

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