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Flowers That Will Grow Under Pine Trees


I need advice about what type of plants/flowers, preferably perennials, could be planted under pine trees. I've been told that the dropping pine needles kill most plants because they give off kerosene. The area in question is very shady. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!


Hardiness Zone: 6a

Teri Hayes from Klamath Falls, OR



Planting under pines can be difficult for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that that the soil under them is made acidic from dropping pine needles. Large tree roots also tend to suck up all of the water and nutrients in the area and the site tends to be dry. To grow successfully, plants need to prefer acidic soil and be able to thrive in a shady site.

Here are a few good candidates (annuals and perennials): Impatiens, wallerana, trillium, lungwort, hellebores, Virginia bluebells, rhododendron, azalea, hydrangea, cardinal flower, hosta, Jacob's ladder, Canadian ginger, saxifraga, heuchera, hepatica, ferns, barren strawberry, big-root geranium, lily-of-the-valley, bishop's hat, dead nettle and sweet woodruff. Look for shade-loving plants that prefer acidic soil. You might also consider pot-scaping with container plants or creating raised beds around the trees to avoid having to disturb any tree roots. Incidentally, you've been misinformed. Pine needles do not give off kerosene.

Good Luck!

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 7, 20060 found this helpful
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I too have over 50 pine trees in a group in my back yard. I have let the needles drop for a number of years, as it became to much to rake. I have put big pots of different plants and made a walk through and around. By leaving plants in pots you can control the acid level. Just select plants that prefer shade.

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July 7, 20060 found this helpful
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Blueberries are your answer. They thrive in acid soil. And hostas do grow under pines pretty well, but you and the birds will love having the blueberries.


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By guest (Guest Post)
July 7, 20061 found this helpful
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In our acid Ozark soil, wild strawberries grow under cedar and pines. I would think tame berries would do as well. Blueberries love acid soil and so do azaleas. Google search plants for acid soil and see what else comes up. Good luck.

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 23, 20060 found this helpful
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I live in Michigan. Mums also grow well under pine trees.

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July 5, 20060 found this helpful

It's not kerosene! All evergreen plants perfer acid soil and most flowers perfer alkaline. I've planted Chinese latern plants under my pines and they have taken over the area and are now are almost becoming pests!


Just look for plants that perfer a more acidic soil.

All the best!


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By guest guest (Guest Post)
July 6, 20060 found this helpful


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April 23, 20140 found this helpful

The confusion with kerosene comes from the fact that many type of Pines trees do produce terpenes mostly from their sap and terpenes are members of the hydrocarbons family. They are majors components of many products like Turpentine for example. Some derived products are used in agriculture for plant protection.

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May 19, 20160 found this helpful


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By 0 found this helpful
September 3, 2012

I live in the southeastern part of Connecticut. I have an area surrounded by tall pine trees and grass does not grow there. What kind of ground cover do you recommend that will grow underneath these pines? There are lots of pine needles. I want to plant something that looks nice, but won't overtake my other plants and shrubs planted on the perimeter. Thank you.


By Cindy S.

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September 5, 20121 found this helpful

Hosta will be happy. Many varieties, colors, sizes, etc. They are happy and flourish like a secret garden in the shade.

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