Forum home Problem solving

Shade and dry loving plants

We have a fairly large tree near to the house that we love, as do the birds.  Around its base, there is a good amount of sandy soil which we've now cleared of the brambles that were there.  Having done that, I would now like to plant something there but, especially during summer, no direct sunshine gets to that soil and very little water.  The tree is very thick with leaves (we thought it was a false acacia but, now it's in leaf, it's obvious it isn't that), and even the mint I've put in there temporarily isn't that chuffed to be there.  Any recommendations for something suitable I can put there?  All advice warmly welcomed! 


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,735

    I have a place like that where Periwinkle (Vinca) thrives. Only problem is that it's spread into a border where I don't want it. But if your place isn't on the end of a border it may be OK. Another plant I have in a dry shady place is Euonymus Silver Queen.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • MarionSMarionS Posts: 7

    Oh, that's a good idea: thank you.  Actually, the tree is surrounded by paving slabs, so they would provide a good barrier for the periwinkles.  Thank you for that.  I shall investigate the Euonymus too.  

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,149

    Whatever you plant, try and add a good layer of mulch from a compost heap or bought in to improve nutrients and water retention as the tree will suck up both in huge quantities.

    Another good ground cover would be hardy geranium macrorhizum which comes with flowers of white, pale pink or purpley pink in late spring.   The foliage is scented and persists through all but the hardest winters and often changes to red for winter.


    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • MarionSMarionS Posts: 7

    Many thanks for the mulch tip, obelixx.  And geraniums would look lovely there: I shall look into those.

  • jo4eyesjo4eyes Posts: 2,058

    I agree, Vincas, Lamiums, Epimediums & the ground cover G.Macrorhizum all should cope. A small leaved varigated ivy too.

    Whatever you decide to use, when planting dig a small 'pocket' in the soil, water it, then add some nice compost before you plant. Keep any new plantings well watered even in wet weather, as the tree canopy will not necessarily allow that much moisture to percolate down to the ground.

    Small bulbs such as cyclamen & Erythroniums would also cope quite well. Both die back as the canopy closes over in late Spring. J.

  • MarionSMarionS Posts: 7

    Thanks all for the tips: they are greatly appreciated.  As for the tree canopy, when it's in full leaf (as it is now), it takes sustained, heavy rain to get anywhere close.  Saturday's constant downpours finally got through by late afternoon! 

Sign In or Register to comment.