When choosing plantings for areas under pines you should consider not only lack of light, but soil quality as well. Dropped pine needles acidify soil, so choose plants that can tolerate partial shade as well as acidic conditions. Fortunately quite a few plants and shrubs fit into this category. Check with your local garden center or university extension for plants specific to your area.
Rhododendrons and Azaleas
These acid-loving bushes survive in partial shade, and they bloom. Choose varieties with white, pink and fuchsia blooms to brighten up an otherwise dark area of your yard or garden.
For a true woodland landscape, consider planting heather. Heather thrives in acidic soil and withstands shaded conditions. Often used for ground cover and foundations, these flowering plants transform with brilliant autumn foliage. Thousands of varieties exist, so consult your local garden center or extension to find which heather is best suited for your area.
Japonica is an evergreen shrub that can reach heights of 8 feet. Ensure you have room in your garden before planting this species of evergreen. With shiny green leaves and red foliage, this shrub complements existing pines and is often used as a foundation plant or within a shrub border.
Great Blue Lobelia
Great blue lobelia, or Lobelia siphilitica, is an attractive flower that reaches heights of 3 feet. Plant this water-loving flower in areas with high moisture. Since it is a perennial you can expect to appreciate this plant for up to four years. Lobelia is native to eastern and midwestern North America and thrives in these areas.
Yarrow grows prolifically throughout all regions of North America. The white flowers and green foliage of the common variety create a soft blanket beneath pine trees. Yarrow is a perennial, so the flowers will return year after year. Some varieties offer colors other than the traditional white flowers. Visit your local nurseries to see available species and cultivars.
- University of Texas at Austin: Planting Shrubs and Flowers Under Pine Trees in New York
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension: Landscape Plants for Acid Soils
- University of Connecticut Department of Horticulture: Calluna Vulgaris
- University of Connecticut Department of Horticulture: Pieris Japonica
- USDA Plants Profile: Lobelia Siphilitica L.
- USDA Plants Profile: Achillea Millefolium L.
- USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Cooperative Extension System Offices
Catherine Duffy's writing can be found on gardening blogs, tech sites and business blogs. Although these topics seem quite different, they have one area in common: systems and design. Duffy makes systems and design (as they pertains to plants, supply chains or software) entertaining and welcoming to general readers.