Five Shrubs that Grow Well Under Pine Trees

Five Shrubs that Grow Well Under Pine Trees - Green Garden Tribe

You can make your garden full of different plants and shrubs so they will look colorful. One thing you can do is to plant shrubs under your pine tree.

Are there shrubs that grow well under pine trees? Pine trees are evergreens because their needles do not change color throughout the year. They are, therefore, beautiful additions to your yard.

You can further enhance the beauty of your pine tree by planting shrubs that grow well under pine trees. Here are some gorgeous shrubs you can plant under your pine trees.

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Pine trees are a perfect choice in landscapes because it is an evergreen and its cheerful leaves are seen year­round.

These trees also act as windbreakers and privacy barriers. what are the shrubs that grow well under pine trees?

Finding Shrubs that Grow Well under Pine Trees

Pine trees are great for landscapes because they stay evergreen throughout the year. Many, though, do not believe that they can grow plants and shrubs under a pine tree.

The canopy of pine trees creates a good shade. Not too many plants though can tolerate shades. Besides, the pine needles falling can make the soil acidic and the root system uses too much water.

It is a must, therefore, to keep in mind that when planting shrubs under pine trees, the shrubs should meet these criteria:

• Tolerant to full shade

• Tolerate dry soils and acidic soils

It is, however, much better if the shrubs you choose should be requiring these growing conditions rather than just tolerating them.

Creating a garden under a pine tree can be a tricky task. At first, you might think that doing so under a pine tree may not provide a suitable environment because of:

• Lack of sunlight

Pine trees provide shade. The dense shade provided by pine trees may cause shrubs that thrive on the full sun to suffer and die.

• Acidic soil

The ground under pine trees can be an area not suitable for many shrubs and plants. Pine trees grow best in acid soil or soil with between 4.5 and 5.5 pH levels. Shrubs that love acidic soil can tolerate dry soil and shade, thus they can thrive under pine trees. Pine needles on the ground also cause the soil to be acidic and will not be suitable for growing many plants.

A wide variety of plants, including shrubs, however, can grow under pine trees. You just need to do some research on shrubs that grow well under pine trees.

Tips on How to Choose Shrubs that Grow Well under Pine Trees

Do have pine trees in your yard but do not have any idea on shrubs that grow well under pine trees? Make sure to keep these in mind.

• Plant shrubs that prefer shade

Pine trees have many branches and loads of packed needles. The many branches and dense needles create a lot of shade under the pine tree. It is, therefore, important to find shrubs that do not need plenty of sunlight because they will
only be getting partial light exposure under the pine tree.

• Plant shrubs that thrive in acidic soil

The pH level of the soil beneath your pine tree is acidic because these trees like acidic soil. Pine trees grow best in acidic soils or neutral soil with a pH level of 7.0 or more. Besides, the pine needles have a 3.5 pH level when it falls to the ground and these needles can make the soil slightly acidic.

The shrub should also be hardy enough to deal with the pine needles falling on the ground.

If the shrub you want to plant under your pine tree will not thrive in acidic soil, you can neutralize the soil to make it alkaline.

• Plant shrubs that do not need too much water

Any shrub or plant for that matter that you plant under a pine tree will have to compete with it (pine tree) for water. So, it will be much easier for the shrub if it does not need much water in the first place.

Shrubs that meet any of these three factors are great choices for shrubs that grow well under pine trees.

In summary, the shrub should love the shade, will thrive in acidic or neutral soil, drought­resistant, and should be able to deal with pine needles.

Now, let’s look at Five Shrubs that Grow Well Under Pine Trees

1. Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

The Pagoda Dogwood is a deciduous shrub that can grow from between 20 feet to 35 feet tall. This shrub has a flat top and short trunk. It also has long horizontal branches. It has upturned branch ends. Its twigs and bar are green to purple.

It has clusters of fragrant flat topped white­cream flowers that become reddish purple berries. Its fall foliage is maroon. Wildlife consumes in huge quantities its bitter and berrylike fruits in fall and winter.

The Pagoda Dogwood will grow well under pine trees because they like the shade.

USDA Zones: 5 ­9

2. Smooth Azalea (Rhododendron arborescens)

The smooth azalea is a deciduous shrub that can grow from between 8 feet to 12 feet tall. It is a large shrub with loose branches. It spreads equally.

The smooth azalea has bright green and glossy foliage. Its foliage turns deep red or purple in fall. It has a fragrant slightly pink or white funnel­shaped flower. Its clusters of red stamens protrude in groups of 3 to 5 when its leaves appear.

The smooth azalea is a fast­growing and tall shrub. It is sensitive to drought and requires partially shaded and moist sites making it ideal to be planted under pine trees.

USDA Zone: 10

3. Eastern Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens)

The Eastern Teaberry is an evergreen that grows to be between 1 foot to 3 feet tall. This shrub has an evergreen foliage, flowers, and berries that are low, wintergreen, and with a woody ground cover.

It has underground stems where 2­inch to 6­inch­long branches creep from. This shrub has shiny, oval, and long dark green leaves that become reddish when the weather gets cold.

The small and bell­shaped flowers of the Eastern Teaberry are white to pink. The creeping stem of this shrub has straight branches with white and bell­shaped single flowers or in clusters of 2 or 3 in the leaf axils. Fragrant smelling red berries appear after the flowers.

The Eastern Teaberry grows well under pine trees because it loves the shade.

USDA Zone: 3­6

4. Tree Fuchsia (Halleria lucida)

The Tree Fuchsia is a small evergreen tree that is drought resistant and frost resistant. It grows fast in semi­shade making it grow well under pine trees.

Lucida means bright Tree Fuschia has bright and shiny leaves. Its orange flowers attract birds, bees, and insects (nectar eaters). Birds also use the flowers as nesting sites. Its berries, on the other hand, attract pigeons, parrots, and robins.

USDA Zone: 6

5. Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum)

The Flame Azalea is a deciduous shrub that grows to be 6 to 12 feet tall. This shrub has an upright branch and has showy, large, and funnel­shaped flowers that grow in groups of 5 or more.

The Flame Azalea’s foliage is medium green in summer and yellow to red in fall. Its pale yellow, apricot, or bright scarlet red flowers do not have any fragrance appears with or before the leaves. Its vase­shaped tubular flowers appear in groups. This shrub is often planted as an ornament.

USDA Zone: 5 – 7

You may not have heard of some of the shrubs on the list. A little research or a trip to your local garden center can help you know more about them.

How to Get Started on Shrubs that Grow well under Pine Trees

Although many shrubs will do well when planted under pine trees, some extra care needs to be provided before your start planting them.

• Clean the area under your pine tree.

• Remove twigs and needles under the pine tree to allow more moisture and sunlight to get to the soil.

• Prune or cut the bottom branches of the pine tree from anywhere between 6 to 10 feet from the ground.

• Determine the pH level of the soil.

• Increase the pH level of the soil, if necessary. The soil under your pine tree will usually be acidic. You can add lime to the soil (chalk or powdered limestone).

• Till the soil under the pine tree. Be careful because the roots can easily get damage.

• Add in new topsoil.

After preparing the area under your pine tree to create a conducive planting condition, choose the shrubs that grow well under pine trees.

Neutralizing Pine Needle Acid in Soil

Some shrubs will not grow on acidic soil. If there is a particular shrub you want to plant under your pine but will not thrive in acidic soil, you can neutralize the soil.

Neutralizing the soil is just a quick fix. Your pine tree will be constantly shedding pine needles, thus neutralizing the oil is not really a solution. Your best option in successful planting shrubs under your pine tree is to pick shrubs that thrive in acidic soil.

There are many plants that love acidic soil. There are many shrubs, evergreens, and perennials, or plants that are good ground covers.

How to Deal with Pine Needles

Pine trees add a lot of beauty to your garden. Thing is, you will need to deal with frequently picking up and cleaning pine needles.

Every spring, the ends of the branches of pine trees produce new needles and the older pine needles are pushed back to the inside portion of the tree. When the older needles mature, they no longer produce energy that can be used by the pine tree.

Eventually, the older needles will turn brown and fall off from the pine tree to give way for new needles to grow and provide energy and food for the pine tree.

While pine trees are called evergreens, their leaves do not live long or forever. Leaves of pine trees live from between 2 to 5 years before they shed and do not fall off each autumn like other trees.

The wind tends to carry these needles to other areas of your garden, and they always multiple so fast. There are many ways to pick up and get rid of pine needles so they do not multiple. Here are some tools you can use:


Raking pine needles is more challenging than raking leaves because the needles are thinner, smaller, and lighter than the leaves of other trees.


Sweeping is probably the simplest way of cleaning pine needles.

• Leaf blower

Cleaning pine needles with a leaf blower is a two­step process. While it is faster, you will still need to rake or sweep the needles after leaf blowing them.
However, this is going to be a two­step process because, while using a leaf blower

• Garden shovel

You can also use your hands or let the tiny needles stuck on duct tape.

• Duct Tape

When using duct tape to clean pine needles, you will need to get down on your knees and hands and roll the duct tape to allow it to pick up the pine needles.

• Bare Hands

This is the most time­consuming and most difficult way of cleaning pine needles. It is the least fun, too. Even if you constantly get rid of the falling pine needles, they will keep on coming back.

Final Thoughts

Shrubs are essential for the ecosystem in your garden. They not only provide shade; they also improve the stability of the soil, improve air quality, and create habitats for a wide range of wildlife. Shrubs and trees, of course, add beauty to your garden.

Growing shrubs under pine trees can add to the beauty of your yard. When taking care of shrubs that grow well under pine trees, remember to frequently remove the pine needles. Feed and water the shrubs regularly as they will be competing with the pine tree for food and water.

It is a brilliant idea to plant shrubs that grow well under pine trees in large pots and line them under the pine tree. Your garden will look stunning and gain many admirers!

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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