Plants for Under a Pine Tree
I would like to make a small rock garden under our pine tree because nothing seems to grow there except two small bunches of creeping phlox. Do you have any suggestions?
Create your rock garden in a sunny location where you can safely add soil and plants. Don’t add soil under trees to create planting beds. As little as an inch of soil can kill some types of trees. Since it can take up to ten years for the tree to die gardeners often don’t make the connection between the added soil and tree death.
Instead consider using mulch or growing drought and shade tolerant plants under your pine tree. Canadian ginger, coral bells, hosta, sedges, deadnettle (Lamium), Solomon's seal and foam flowers (Tiarella) are just a few that will work. You will need to give them extra attention the first few years. Check the soil moisture several times a week and water thoroughly as needed. After several years they should be established and better able to tolerate the dry conditions under the pine.