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Landscape Ideas for Planting Plants Under a Tree

By Callie Barber ; Updated September 21, 2017

Jazz up the base of your tree with colorful and shade-loving plants like impatiens and petunias. Plant them in a ring around the base and watch them come to life. Use a variety to create splashes of color against the bark. The accents of the plants mixed with the dramatic tree will create a stunning landscape addition.

Monkey Grass

Monkey grass is a tough ornamental grass that is tolerant of most soil types and is easy to maintain. It also thrives when planted under trees and along walkways. The dark green grass grows thicker and thicker every year, and when fully mature, resembles hair. When in bloom, the small purple flowers accent beautifully with the bright green leaves. Weeds are not a problem, and little fertilizer is required for these quick bloomers. To start, plant monkey grass every 1 to 2 feet and around the base of the tree. Mix in variegated monkey grass, which has white striations running down the base of the leaf, for variety. Overtime, the tree will have a lush ring of grass running around the base.


Impatiens love hanging baskets, garden beds and window boxes. They also flourish around the base of trees and will provide bursts of color and texture in your landscape. They thrive in shady conditions and are rapid growers, perfect for shady tree bottoms, and can reach 12 to 14 inches tall. Impatiens come in a range of colors--purple, pink and red--and can withstand the outdoors until a hard frost. Use more than one color of impatiens around the base of a tree for a rainbow of color. Keep them moist but not overly wet, and you will have a vibrant and colorful addition to your trees.


The hosta is a dependable and hardy herbaceous perennial. They're grown for their beautiful foliage, and are simple to grow and are shade-tolerant. Their leaves come in a variety of colors and sizes, making it the perfect plant to grow under your favorite shade trees. Plant the hosta and watch its beautiful lavender and white blooms come to life and flourish each year. Plant them at least 10 inches apart to prevent them from encroaching on each other.


About the Author


Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on Travels.com and GardenGuides.com. Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.