Success Planting Anything Under Spruce Trees?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 05, 2010 1:18 AM GMT
    I have a couple spruce trees and am contemplating planting Hostas underneath the base. It would just look nicer than mulch.

    However, the acidity of the fallen spruce needles may not permit anything to grow. I'm contemplating cutting the bottom out of some very large pots and planting the Hostas in premium soil.

    Ideas? Success stories?
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    Apr 05, 2010 5:32 PM GMT
    Spruce is difficult to plant under because of the copious amount of surface roots radiating from the base of the tree. Do not be tempted to add soil over tree roots, this can kill the tree. Mulching will control weeds, regulate soil temperature, and conserve moisture. If you decide on plants you may need to aggressively prune lower branches to allow light to reach your plants. Azaleas, rhododendron, or hosta are good traditional plants for around the base of the tree. Hosta is very tolerant of roots. I think it will work - go for it.
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    Apr 10, 2010 8:00 AM GMT
    I agree w/ Pianist; go with some Hostas. Out here they don't thrive due to akaline soil. Get some very variegated ones to brighten up the darkness under the trees.
    Vinca would do as well and you could just mow the hell outta' of it every couple of years or in the spring to clean it up; it too comes in a variegated form. Beware Vinca can be invasive; but up in Canada the cold should keep it in check.
    Or perhaps some native cold hardy ferns; most ferns LOVE acidic soil and deep shade.
    Cheers.
    Good luck and happy planting!
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    Apr 10, 2010 8:52 AM GMT
    Salal is native to the west coast and thrives as a groundcover in forested areas. I've read that it's good in very acidic soils, and it's very hardy, extending far north into Alaska. I think it would at least look good mixed in with your hostas. It's not native east of the Rockies, but I think it would do just fine.
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    Apr 10, 2010 2:39 PM GMT
    Pianist suggested just what we were thinking, but we're not sure whether rhodos, hostas etc survive the winters there.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Apr 10, 2010 2:46 PM GMT
    Ivy and periwinkle/weeping myrtle.
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    Apr 10, 2010 3:04 PM GMT
    European ginger......glossy deep green leaves....likes lots of shade and i think it likes acidity.

    Try torenia.......beautiful blue flowers )but needs somewhat moist conditions.
    If you go with hosta try some of the smaller hybrids.

    or
    Bishops weed
    Ajuga
    Lilly of the Valley
    some ferns
    Heuchera
    Lirope
    Pulmunaria

    Dry shade is difficult but the above plants will probably thrive