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Beautiful Plants That Will Grow Under Trees And Shrubs

A well thought out selection of plants made by Tanya Kime-Wallace of the most beautiful popular garden plants that will grow in the worst of areas, under trees and shrubs. Providing the descriptions, blooming times of all of the plants provided. Images provided for all favorite plants. All images are by author.

Most gardeners today think that the biggest problem area in their garden is the bare space that lay beneath their trees and shrubs. Given the fact they not only have to find plants that will grow in shade but also in the inhospitable dry soil that lies beneath the trees and shrubs it can become a rather daunting task to find plants that will grow in this type of environment.

The reason for the lack of moisture is due to the roots of trees and shrubs seeking out water and absorbing huge amounts of it and the bigger the tree or shrub, the more water it will take in.

On top of trying to find plants for those two conditions there is also another problem to take under consideration, the fact that that the roots of trees and shrubs spread out greatly while in their search for water and get in the way of planting new plants.

It is easy to see why a lot of gardeners dislike these areas and why it is known as the most problematic area in the garden, however; though you may not know it, you can still maker good use out of this area because there are plants that will grow under these conditions, it is just a matter of finding out which plants are best for the job.

Plants That Grow Under Trees And Shrubs

Bergenia

This is a low spreading plant with large rounded glossy leaves. The nodding clusters of bell-shaped flowers are beautiful and come in colors of light pink to deep magenta red flowers. Normal varieties bloom in March-April, however; the hybrids usually bloom twice during the year once in the spring and once in the summer. Some say they need reasonable moist soil, however; I beg to differ as I have grown them in deep shade in very dry soil and the only difference is that the color of the flowers are usually a little lighter then if they were placed in the open.

Convallaria

Lily-of-the-valley is truly a beautiful sight to see in the spring. It is a graceful plant with lance-shaped leaves and tiny, waxy, fragrant white to pink flowers.The trick to this plant is that they love rich organic matter.

.Corydalis

This is a charming plant with ferny pale green leaves and tubular milk-white, yellow and purple-pink flowers that are borne in a great profusion in the spring and then intermittently throughout the summer and fall.

Cyclamen

This plant is also known as the hardy cyclamen. This little gem is a flower that will light up any darkened area. It has twisted petals and comes in colors of white and pink blooming in the spring and fall. Their interesting leaves have a lovely marbled effect that persists throughout the winter.

Dicentra

The bleeding heart is a stunning plant with ferny foliage and racemes of very decorative,locket-shaped pendant flowers resembling hearts and comes in colors from white to red. Many will say this needs dappled shade, however;I have grown this plant with ease in full shade in very dry soil under trees. It does do better in soil enriched with humus.

Endymion

Bluebells are one of the most beautiful sights to see in the spring. They are bulbous and self seed as well as spread readily. This stunning plant has strapped-shaped leaves and spikes of bell shaped flower coming in colors of dark blue, lilac pink and white. They preform best in humus-rich soil.

Epimedium

The Barrenwort or bishop's hat has an attractive evergreen foliage usually tinted with red and is superb for ground cover. It has small but very pretty flowers ranging in colors from white to red blooming in the spring.

Galanthus

The charm of the snowdrop is amazing when shining from beneath a darkened area in a large clump. Each white, pendant-shaped, nodding flower spreads wonderfully over woodland floors and from beneath trees and shrubs in the early spring.The grey-green leaves are also a huge asset as they set the flowers off and then go on to form arching mounds later on in the spring.

Geranium Macrorrhizum

Not to be confused with the pelargoniums,the annual with the common name geranium. This crane's-bill spreads it roots readily and is mat forming making for an excellent ground cover. It has aromatic leaves often turning purplish red in the early summer. The flowers are long lasting blooming early in the summer and come is colors of white to pink.

Hedera Hibernica

Irish ivy is a quick spreader and can easily cover any ground with ease,however; this is a plant to keep in check as it can be quite of a thug.

Helleborus

The Lenton Rose is among the most beautiful of all winter flowering plants. It ranges in color of from greenish white to blush and deep pink. They are heavily spotted with maroon and deep plum-purples. The flower season extends from the late winter with flowers unfurling from ground level to the early summer when the flowers shed their seeds. A wonderful evergreen plant that self seeds readily.

Hosta lancifolia

This wonderful plant has narrow, dark green leaves with lovely lilac colored flower spikes in the early fall. Hostas normally like moist soil in the shade, however; this particular Hosta is very tolerant of dry soil and shade and preforms well under trees and shrubs.

Lamium

The Lamium is grown mainly by gardeners as a ground cover for it wonderful variegated foliage that brightens any dark area. The leaves are most often splashed with white or silver and the flowers are broad and hooded ranging in colors of yellow,white and purplish pink blooming throughout the summer.

Rucus aculeatus

Butchers broom has an interesting leaf structure that has a lovely effect under trees and shrubs and the bonus about this plant is that it has eye catching red berries in the fall.

Trillium

This is a very useful plant for shady areas, most with clusters of broad green leaves and very showy three petaled flowers blooming in spring-summer and coming in colors of white, yellow, pink, red, maroon and deep purple.

Vinca

The periwinkle is an evergreen and is a low growing, trailing plant that is wonderful as a ground cover. They have tubular flowers ranging from single to doubles and coming in colors of bright blue, pink, white and purple. It is a long lasting flowering plant blooming from March- August.

Other plants you may want to try that thrive under trees and shrubs are:

Cotoneaster Family

Various members of this species provide a profusion of small white spring and summer flowers with lovely light red berries in the fall.

Hypericum. Calycinum

The St John's Wort, rose of Sharon is lovely plant and makes a wonderful ground cover. It has clusters of saucer-shaped yellow flowers. This plant blooms in June-September and grows in any soil type that is not too rich.

Mahonia aquifolium

The Oregan grape produces small lovely white or yellow flowers in the spring and summer, followed by blue-black berries that are suitable for jam,jelly and wine.

Phyllitis scolopendrium

The hart's tongue fern has bright green glossy fronds arrange in a shuttlecock-fashion around the crown of the plant. A lovely little fern-like plant to brighten up dull areas.

Prunella

The Self-heal plant makes for a lovely ground cover and had tubular flowers on short spikes. This spreads well but should be kept in check.

Ramonda

This is a beautiful hardy evergreen plant that forms flat rosettes of crinkly,hairy leaves with tooth edges. From the center flower heads arise in the spring coming in colors of lavender-blue,white and pink..

End Note (Add organic matter to ground before planting.)

About Author

Tanya Kime-Wallace is a writer and freelance writer as well as the owner of a small gardening business. She developed a love for writing at a very young age and is extremely passionate about the written word. She is capable of writing virtually anything she sets her mind to and is an upcoming horror novelist. She has extensive knowledge about horticulture and gardening teaching workshops relating to this subject and enjoys being able to share it with others. She has many interests and when she feels something is interesting or important enough to share, she will write about it. She is also a mother of two beautiful children and cherishes every second of it.

All the images used in this article are the Copyright © of Tanya Kime Wallace so please ask before using.

More Gardening Articles By Tanya

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The Secret To Finding Your Gardening Green Thumb

Save Money On Vegetable Gardens By Recycling Your Seeds

Pruning And Training Your Berry Bushes

Copyright © 2010 Tanya Kime-Wallace

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Comments (8)

excellent thank you

You're such an expert on this subject. You have a very strong aesthetic sensibility as well as a wealth of horticultural knowledge. Of course, you're also a poet and photographer, so this doesn't surprise me. The images are amazing, as always.

Great gardening tip! These are beautiful plants. My favorites are Lilly-of-the-valley, Bluebells and Snowdrops but all of them are lovely.

this is such a great article for me again Tanya... I am beginning to wonder what I would do without you! I have lots of trees and although I am clearing some out the roots have traveled so far under ground!

these are beautiful plants, Tanya, i hope i can grow them, to touch them and see them right before my eyes. Thanks garden expert, thumbs up!

Ranked #37 in Gardening

I love gardening too...Great images and great sharing.

wonderful article and pictures, i enjoyed reading this. i love flowers and gardening and this reading will help me a lot

We have just moved to a new home with a garden containng lots of trees. Ive stumbled across your excellent article in a timely fashion! Lovely pics too - gets my vote!

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