Illustration for article titled How To Pick Plants That Grow Well Under TreesPhoto: Kluciar Ivan (Shutterstock)

The ground around the trees, which are covered with a carpet of flowers or other leaves, has something fairytale-like about it. Somehow, even when purposely planted and cultivated, it can look so natural – like you’ve stumbled into part of a forest that no one has seen before.

At the same time, we learn pretty early in school that plants need water and sunlight to grow, and that living under a tree may not be optimal. While this is true for some plants, others do not mind shade and are even well protected from direct sunlight.

If you’re interested in any of these, Holly Crossley wrote an article in Gardening Etc That provides some examples of plants that grow well under trees and the characteristics that make them suitable for shade. Here’s what to know.

Little evergreen

This one is the first because he probably needs a confidence boost with a name like that. With a maximum height of around 10 inches, this purple flower usually shows up in mid-spring and is with us by early fall. But that doesn’t leave your sub-tree area bare for the rest of the year – the green leaves last year-round. According to Crossley, a lesser periwinkle “does well in the partial shade under the canopy of leaves and grows relatively quickly into a dense mat.”

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Hostas are one of the classic sub-tree plants. One reason for this is likely because these are hardy, low-maintenance perennials that pop up in spring even if you’ve forgotten they were there. While most hostas like their soil to be fertile, the varieties with thicker, waxy leaves do well when the soil under the tree is drier, Crossley notes. “Wherever you plant them, mulch them annually and keep them watered in dry weather,” she writes. “Watch out for snails that like to devour the leaves.”


It’s hard to hit a good fern and its ability to look wild yet intentional. It’s easy to see why The Victorians were so excited about them. However, since not all ferns are created equal, you should choose a variety that can handle the shade, e.g. B. the hard-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium), the Japanese shield fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) or the “male fern” (Dryopteris filix) -mas) according to Crossley.