planting under pine trees - Knowledgebase Question

dayton, Oh
Question by ilishaschwa
April 26, 2010
I would like to plant flowers or anything with color under my pine tree, which is facing east in my front yard. Is there any hope?

Answer from NGA
April 26, 2010


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. When in the garden center, look for plants that tolerate dry soils and part shade. I'm sure you'll come up with some winners. Enjoy your garden!

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