Planting under yew tree


I would like to know what plants would be suitable for growing at the base of a yew tree. Ideally I would like them to be evergreen with the odd rockery/alpine plant and was looking at Juniperus.

Any help/advice would be appreciated please before I empty my purse or worse ruin our lovely yew tree!!

Thank you,




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,759

    I don't know of anything that will grow in the dense dry shade of a yew treeimage.  The only upside is that not even weeds will grow there image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Andy19Andy19 Posts: 549

    Surely there is something yew can grow image oh sorry will get my coat.

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,406
    We see a lot of yew trees in our work in churchyards, the others are correct, nothing at all will grow under the yew. They grow huge in time, my advise would be to get rid of it, especially if its near your house.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • Thanks for your feedback so far. The yew has a preservation order so we don't have much other than to work with it! A tree bench may be the answer then!!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,759

    That would be a gorgeous idea - I love having a place where I can sit under the thick foliage of overhanging branches in the rain and watch the garden image

    something like this would be wonderful!

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 5,234

    I have a large yew tree [ 200 years old ] and not surprisingly it is very dry and shady beneath it. However over the years when I have had an excess of plants I have found that there are a few things that grow there. These include: snowdrops, primula, vinca [ although doesnt flower ], pernyetta, honesty, dog violets and symphytium. I continue to try new things each year and although it is not the best looking area of the garden it is not too bad. Try it you might be surprised.

    If I could stick a knife in my heart. Suicide right on stage
    Would it be enough for your teenage lust. Would it help to ease the pain?
  • Jon9Jon9 Posts: 1

    Rocks.  That's what I am going to put beneath my yew.


  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    I have seen ivy, planted some distance from the trunk of a yew, grow in underneath the shade of a yew tree' and give some ground cover.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,499

    There are vinca minor growing under yew trees on a steep, dry, north-facing bank beside a path I walk down on the way to work, so if anything is going to work those are a good bet.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 772
    We had a yew tree at the edge of our old garden and grew the following underneath it quite successfully. We did make sure we watered until we were confident the plants had started to establish. The yew was right on the boundary so the trunk was just behind our fence but of course we had lots of roots and overhang in our garden.

    Ivy and Jasmine on the fence (clotted cream jasmine - took couple of years before it flowered but romped away after that)

    Cyclamen coum and cyclamen hederifolia


    Forget me nots (self seemed so no extra care from us ditto the honesty)

    Primula vulgaris


    We did mulch each year with home made compost to help boost the soil

    There are also some lovely ferns which will tolerate dry conditions

    The other alternative is to grow what you can but also use pots to brighten the area which you can either swap and change for seasonal colour or leave permanently in place

    Our last garden was surrounded by mature trees and so shady and full of roots. When I moved in I was wishing for a sunny garden but by the time we left enjoyed our shady woodland garden and had thoroughly enjoyed learning and experimenting with what would we could grow successfully
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