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What to plant in deep shade, under a very large beech tree

The garden in our new house has a v large beech tree in it. The area underneath it was overgrown with weeds etc that have now been cleared.  Now we want to plant something to stop the weeds coming up again.  We have other sections of garden with shrubs perennials etc we just want this part not to become overgrown with weeds again.  We did want to just have it as a wildflower meadow but reading up on this I am not sure if those seeds would grow. So I would like advice on what to plant that doesn't require a lot of ongoing care and will stop weed growth. The area is large about 48sqm. Would also consider lawn if it would grow?? Any advice greatly received as newbie gardeners and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the size of the plot!


  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,248
    edited August 2020
    Hardly anything will grow in the deep, extremely dry shade near a Beech tree.
    Not even weeds grow.
    Just look at the ground near any Beech tree in a park or wood.
    You could try copes with these conditions.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,045
    You would need to find things which naturally grow , flower and disappear while the tree is dormant, ie Spring bulbs and such like.
    We have the same problem.
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,126
    Hello @judehirst1971,

    I have that situation here with two large beech trees and an oak.
    The area underneath is a lovely mixture of bulbs and suitable herbaceous plants which have now spread to create a dense carpet.

    I have quite a few epimediums .... see this info here,x%20versicolor%20and%20x%20youngianum.

    also hedera helix 'Goldchild' which brightens the area up .... a large patch of ajuga repens .... and a large patch of lily of the valley. All of these are very good spreaders.
    There are also some forget-me-nots which have put themselves there and come back each year.
    Maintenance is easy. I just remove the forget-me-nots in late spring when they've finished flowering and shake them over the area to disperse seeds for the following year ... and pull off any tatty bulb foliage that has finished.
    In autumn, once all the tree leaves have dropped, I use a plastic rake to take off most of the leaves. It doesn't matter if there are still some left as the worms deal with them.

    Hope this is helpful .... and good luck with your garden.

    Bee x

    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • HippophaeHippophae Posts: 154
    edited August 2020
    Saw on the most recent Gardener’s World episode that Monty Don recommends the native plant called stinking Iris - Iris foetidissima for shade. The name sounds off putting but it is in fact quite a lovely flowering plant and the intricately marked flowers are popular with bumblebees. If you are not too fussed about flowers you could try Asarum europaeum for a lovely ground cover of large, shiny green kidney-shaped leaves which to me look quite attractive. Shade is a difficult one and the choices tend to be fairly limited. Good luck 😉 
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