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10 Spectacular Plants That Grow Well Under Pine Trees

10 Spectacular Plants That Grow Well Under Pine Trees

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Pine trees make a wonderful addition to any landscape, but finding a plant that thrives underneath them is pretty challenging because of limited light exposure and acidic soil. 

If that’s an issue you’ve been dealing with, you’ve come to the right place because I’m going to show you 10 gorgeous plants that grow well under pine trees! From striking colors to fascinating textures, each of these plants will enjoy the environment under pine trees. 

Perennials That Thrive In Acidic Soil

Here are some great perennial plants that flourish in acidic soil. All these plants tolerate shade, so they won’t struggle to grow under pine trees. 

1. Rhododendron

It’s really hard to decide what looks better on rhododendrons, foliage or blossoms. Vibrant flower hues and glossy foliage make the perfect addition to any garden. 

However, these plants have another excellent feature; they thrive in acidic soil types, making them suitable for planting under pine trees. Additionally, Rhododendron species don’t need full sun to generate blossoms. 

As you may know, pine trees shed a layer of needles, which creates mulch that retains moisture. Rhododendrons enjoy moist soil types, so they are definitely a great choice. 

2. Hosta

These plants don’t specifically require acidic soil, but they are highly adaptable and won’t mind growing in such conditions. There’s one thing they won’t tolerate, though, and that’s too much exposure to full sun.

That’s another reason why growing these species under pine trees is a good idea. 

This plant species generally loves rich soils, and many gardeners, including me, use pine needles as a soil amendment. Therefore, hostas will fill the role perfectly!

3. Grape Hyacinth

These plants generate all their blossoms at once, so the space under pine trees will look simply breathtaking during the season. 

Don’t worry about the health of your grape hyacinths if you decide on planting them under pine trees. These plants can also grow well in partial shade and withstand higher levels of acidity in the growing medium. 

Grape hyacinths aren’t a fan of drought, so keeping high moisture content in the soil is crucial. Luckily, mulch created out of decomposed pine needles will take care of this.

4. Hydrangeas

You can choose between many hydrangea types and each will grow well under pine trees. Even though some varieties develop well in full sun, from my experience it’s always better to plant them in partial shade. 

Acidic soil with a lot of nutrients will make your hydrangeas healthy and happy all season long. 

You can play with acidity when it comes to hydrangeas. For instance, if you want these plants to retain their deep blue color, aim for a pH of 5.5 and lower. On the other hand, you’ll get purple blossoms if you plant them in a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5.  

This is especially great for experienced gardeners who love a challenge and to experiment. 

5. Lily of the Valley

The gorgeous white blossoms of Lily of the Valley create a mesmerizing display of beauty. These fast-growing perennials are actually the most common choice for planting under trees.  

There are numerous flowering species that can’t withstand the conditions that Lily of the Valley thrives in. For instance, this plant grows best in full shade in warmer regions

It also thrives in various soil types; acidic, neutral, and slightly alkaline soils will all work. Lily of the Valley will appreciate a spot under pine trees because it loves organic matter

6. Columbines

The bell-shaped blossoms of columbines come in a wide range of colors, such as red, orange, and purple, and make a stunning addition to any garden design. 

Appearance isn’t the only thing columbines have to offer, however; these perennials grow well in slightly acidic soil types and don’t require exposure to sunlight. So, cultivating columbines under pine trees will meet all their requirements.

If you have issues with deer or rabbits, columbines will help you repel them. And if your garden lacks beneficial insects, columbines will attract them. 

Ground Covers That Thrive In Acidic Soil

Gardeners love groundcovers not only because they look amazing, but also because they can hide problematic parts of gardens. Here are some groundcovers that can fill the space under pine trees without suffering from health problems!

1. Bugleweed

The glossy, deep green foliage and purple, violet, or blue blossoms of bugleweed make it one of the prettiest ground covers out there. 

Bear in mind that this plant species is an aggressive grower (1) and shouldn’t be planted near borders.

Bugleweed flourishes in slightly acidic soils and prefers dappled sunlight, making them perfect for planting under pine trees. 

2. Creeping Phlox

This colorful plant will give your garden a special touch in late spring when it generates its first blossoms. 

It prefers filtered sunlight and can grow well in acidic, alkaline, and neutral soils. 

This splendid ground cover is also a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies

3. Barren Strawberry

It would be great if you could get delicious strawberries under your pine trees, but that’s impossible. Still, you can grow a fascinating ground cover named Barren strawberry. Unfortunately it does not bear fruit, but its appearance can compensate. 

This plant thrives in various soils, including acidic, and prefers dappled sunlight. It suppresses weeds and forms a dense, carpet-like mat of foliage.

It will benefit from the moisture provided by decomposed pine needles, especially in the first year of growth. Once established, this strawberry-like plant can withstand short periods of drought

4. Wintergreen

Who doesn’t like the scent of pine? Well, there is a plant that goes with it really well, and it’s called Wintergreen.

If you crush or brush against its foliage, this plant releases a pleasant minty aroma. 

Just like all the other plants on the list, it performs well in acidic soil and prefers filtered sunlight. Deer don’t like Wintergreen, making this plant perfect for those who have issues with these animals.

If you have pine trees in your garden and don’t know what to plant under them, any of the plants above will do a great job. 

Until next time!

1. Aggressive Plants in the Landscape. (n.d.). Horticulture and Home Pest News.