Introduction to Planting Under Trees

Growing plants under trees can transform the space into a lush and multi-layered garden. However, it’s essential to choose the right plants that can thrive in the challenging conditions beneath tree canopies.

Selecting Plants for Shaded Areas

Shade-Tolerant Plants

Plants that can thrive in partial to full shade conditions are ideal for growing under trees. Local horticultural experts and resources like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) can provide recommendations.

Soil Considerations

Understanding the type and quality of soil beneath the tree is crucial. Academic experts from institutions like Cornell University can offer insights into soil preparation and improvement.

25 Ideas for Plants to Grow Under a Tree

Consider these 25 plant ideas for under-tree gardening:



Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Coral Bells (Heuchera)



Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa)


Foamflower (Tiarella)

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria)

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia)

Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera)

Wild Ginger (Asarum)

Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum)

Columbine (Aquilegia)

Japanese Anemone (Anemone hupehensis)





Hellebores (Lenten Rose)


Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum)

Japanese Toad Lily (Tricyrtis)

Soil and Environmental Considerations

Understanding the environmental factors, such as soil pH, moisture, and drainage, is essential when planting beneath trees. Consult your local horticultural extension service for guidance tailored to your region.

Planting Techniques

Proper planting techniques, including spacing and soil amendments, can greatly impact the success of under-tree gardening. Academic experts and horticultural resources can provide detailed instructions for successful planting.

Companion Planting and Design

Companion planting and thoughtful design are essential to create an attractive and harmonious under-tree garden. Consider factors like plant heights, bloom times, and colors to achieve an aesthetically pleasing landscape.

References and Expert Recommendations

For in-depth information on plants suitable for growing under trees, consult local horticultural experts and agricultural extension services. Additionally, you can find valuable insights from reputable sources like the USDA, academic institutions, and horticultural bodies, such as the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), to ensure the successful cultivation of a diverse and thriving garden under your trees.

Why should I consider planting under a tree, and what are the benefits of this gardening practice?

What factors should I consider when choosing plants to grow under a tree?

What are the ideal growing conditions, including sunlight and soil, for plants under a tree?

Can I plant perennials under a tree, and if so, which ones work best in the shade?

Are there specific annual flowers that thrive under the shade of a tree?

How do I choose ground cover plants suitable for growing under a tree?

What are some evergreen shrubs that can handle the competition for light and nutrients from a tree’s roots?

Can I grow herbs and vegetables under a tree, and which ones are well-suited for this environment?

What are the low-maintenance options for planting under a tree?

Are there any plants I should avoid planting under a tree due to potential issues with the tree’s roots or other factors?