what to plant under oak trees

Planting under an oak tree can be a great way to add beauty and interest to your garden. With its large, spreading branches and deep, shaded roots, oak trees can provide a perfect environment for a variety of plants to thrive. Whether you’re looking for a ground cover, flowering shrub, or foliage plant, there are many options that will work well in the shade of an oak tree.When choosing the right plants for under oak trees, it is important to take into consideration the amount of sunlight and shade that the tree is providing. Some plants that thrive in shaded areas include begonias, impatiens, hostas, and ferns. Depending on your climate, there may be other plants that do well in shaded areas. Additionally, some of these plants may require extra attention to get established under an oak tree. To ensure successful growth of your desired plants, make sure to select ones that can tolerate the dry soil caused by a large tree canopy as well as choosing ones with a deep root system so they can reach the moisture and nutrients they need from further down in the soil. Additionally, consider mulching around the roots of your chosen plants to provide extra protection from weeds and to help retain moisture in order for them to flourish.

Native Plants to Plant Under Oak Trees

Oak trees are a common sight in many parts of the United States, and they provide shelter and food for many species of wildlife. Planting native plants under oak trees can help to create a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem that will benefit both the tree and the local wildlife. There are many native plants that can thrive under an oak tree, from annuals to perennials and even shrubs and vines.

Some of the best native plants for planting under an oak tree include wildflowers like black-eyed Susans, bee balm, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, daisies, gaillardia, lupines, phlox, purple coneflower, and cardinal flower. These plants will attract beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies that will help pollinate other plants in your garden. They also provide food for birds and other wildlife.

Grasses such as little bluestem and switchgrass are also great options for planting under an oak tree. They provide cover for small animals such as mice and voles while also offering aesthetic value to your landscape design. Ornamental grasses like muhly grass or feather reed grass can add texture and movement to your garden while still providing food sources for wildlife.

Shrubs like American cranberrybush viburnum or arrowwood viburnum can provide shelter as well as food sources for birds and other mammals. These shrubs should be pruned regularly so they don’t become too overgrown or unruly in appearance. Other native shrubs that do well under oaks include beautyberry, sumac, elderberry, buttonbush, wax myrtle, bayberry shrub with their lovely aromatic berries in late summer.

Vines are another great option for adding color to your garden while providing food sources for birds and other wildlife species. Native vines such as honeysuckle or trumpet creeper will climb up the trunk of an oak tree while providing nectar sources in late summer or fall flowers that attract hummingbirds or butterflies. Virginia creeper is another good choice for covering large areas quickly with its attractive foliage that turns a brilliant red in autumn months.

By planting a mix of native plants under an oak tree you can create a healthy ecosystem that benefits both the tree itself as well as local wildlife species who depend on it for shelter or food sources. With careful selection you can create a beautiful garden full of color while also encouraging biodiversity in your landscape design!

Ground Cover Options for Under Oak Trees

Oak trees are majestic and beautiful, but they can also be a challenge to garden around. Shade and acidic soil can make it difficult to find plants that can thrive under the canopy of an oak tree. The key is to select groundcover plants that are adapted to shade and acidity. Here are some great ground cover options for under oak trees:

Creeping Phlox is a low-growing, flowering perennial perfect for creating a carpet of color beneath an oak tree. This groundcover produces star-like blooms in the springtime in shades of pink, lavender, red, or white. The plant is hardy and drought tolerant once established.

Liriope muscari is a grass-like perennial that features evergreen foliage and delicate purple flower spikes in summertime. This low-maintenance ground cover will spread quickly to fill in gaps beneath an oak tree.

Vinca minor or periwinkle is an attractive spreading ground cover with glossy green foliage and small, star-shaped blue flowers from spring through fall. This evergreen variety requires little maintenance and will tolerate dry shade conditions well.

Pachysandra terminalis is a spreading evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves that has white flowers in late spring. It makes a great choice for shady areas underneath an oak tree due to its ability to tolerate dry soil conditions.

Dwarf mondo grass grows well underneath the canopy of an oak tree due to its ability to tolerate deep shade. It’s a low-growing plant with grass-like blades that stay green year round. This versatile plant also makes a great choice for edging along walkways or flower beds near an oak tree.

These are just some of the great ground cover options available for under oak trees. With careful selection of plants suited for shady, acidic conditions, you can create a lush garden beneath your majestic oaks!

Ornamental Grasses for Under Oak Trees

Ornamental grasses can be a great addition to any landscape, but they’re especially well-suited for planting under oak trees. Hardy varieties, such as feather reed grass and switchgrass, tolerate dry shade and can be planted in large sweeps to create a striking visual effect. Ornamental grasses also provide food and cover for small wildlife in the area.

When choosing ornamental grasses for planting under oak trees, consider the height of the grasses as well as the color and texture of their foliage. Taller varieties such as fountain grass look beautiful when planted around the trunk of an oak tree, while shorter ones like blue fescue look best when planted closer to the tree’s canopy.

In addition to ornamental grasses, other plants can also be used to create an attractive landscape under oak trees. Hostas, ferns, and heucheras all thrive in shady conditions and can help soften the look of the tree’s trunk. Ground covers like pachysandra or vinca minor are also excellent choices for adding texture and color around an oak tree’s base.

When planting ornamental grasses or other plants around an oak tree, ensure that they receive enough water by using a drip irrigation system or by hand-watering them during dry spells. Mulching is also recommended to help keep weeds out and retain moisture in the soil. With proper care and maintenance, ornamental grasses will provide years of beauty under your oak trees!

Perennial Flowers to Plant Under Oak Trees

Perennial flowers are an ideal choice when planting under oak trees. They will come back year after year and require minimal maintenance. Some of the best perennial flowers to plant under oak trees include peonies, daylilies, larkspur, hollyhocks, and columbine. Peonies are a classic old-fashioned flower that comes in many shades of pink, white, and purple. They bloom in late spring or early summer and can reach up to three feet tall. Daylilies come in many colors from yellow to orange and even red. They bloom for several weeks during the summer and are very low maintenance. Larkspur is a tall flower that comes in shades of blue, pink, purple, and white. It blooms in late spring or early summer and can reach heights of up to six feet tall. Hollyhocks are tall flowering plants with large colorful blooms that come in shades of pink, yellow, red, or white. They grow up to seven feet tall and bloom from mid-summer to fall. Columbine is a low-growing flower that comes in many colors from blue to pink or red. It blooms from late spring until early summer and is an excellent choice for shady areas under oak trees.

Overall, perennial flowers are a great choice when planting under oak trees as they require minimal maintenance and will come back year after year with beautiful blooms. Peonies, daylilies, larkspur, hollyhocks, and columbine are all excellent choices for adding color to your garden while providing shade for the tree roots beneath it.

Shrubs and Vines Suitable for Planting Under Oak Trees

Oak trees can be a majestic and eye-catching addition to any garden. However, many gardeners are hesitant to plant them due to their large roots which can compete for space with other plants. Fortunately, there are a number of shrubs and vines that are well-suited for planting near or even under oak trees.

One of the most popular choices is the English Ivy (Hedera helix). This hardy evergreen climber has an attractive foliage that can add a beautiful splash of color to any garden. It is also relatively drought tolerant once established, making it an ideal choice for dryer climates. It does best in partial shade and prefers moist soil, so it is important to water it regularly when planted near oak trees.

Another great option is the Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii). This shrub has bright red or yellow foliage which will provide a dramatic contrast against the green of the oak leaves. It is also quite versatile as it will thrive in sun or partial shade and is moderately drought tolerant once established.

Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, consider planting a trumpet vine (Campsis radicans). This fast-growing vine produces bright orange flowers throughout the summer and its foliage provides excellent cover for birds during the winter months. The trumpet vine does best in full sun but can also tolerate some shade so it’s perfect for planting near or under an oak tree.

Ground Covers and Perennials for Shade Under Oak Trees

When planting a garden beneath an oak tree, it is important to consider the amount of shade that the tree provides. Certain plants thrive in shaded areas and can provide beautiful ground cover or perennial flowers for your landscape. Some of the best ground covers and perennials for shade under oak trees include hostas, ferns, astilbe, heuchera, impatiens and begonias.

Hostas are a popular choice for shady gardens. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and can be used both as ground covers or taller accents in the garden. Hostas require little care once established, although they do need to be watered regularly during dry periods.

Ferns are a classic choice for shady gardens. They come in many varieties, from small ground covers to tall accents that can reach several feet in height. Ferns prefer consistently moist soil and need to be watered regularly during dry periods.

Astilbe is another popular choice for shady gardens and comes in many different varieties with vibrant colors ranging from deep reds to bright pinks. They are low-maintenance plants that require minimal care once established. Astilbes prefer consistently moist soil but do not need to be watered as frequently as other plants.

Heuchera is a great choice for shady gardens because it provides bright foliage year-round with its evergreen leaves. Heucheras come in a variety of colors including shades of red, purple, silver and green. They prefer evenly moist soil but do not need to be watered often.

Impatiens are perfect for shady gardens because they bloom all summer long with vibrant colors ranging from pink to white and even yellow or orange. Impatiens need regular watering during dry spells but do not require much maintenance otherwise.

Begonias are another great option for shady gardens due to their bright foliage which comes in shades of green, bronze or red depending on the variety chosen. Begonias need regular watering during dry spells but do not require much maintenance otherwise.

Colorful Annual Plants for Shade Under Oak Trees

Shade gardens provide a respite from the summer sun and can be filled with lush foliage and colorful annuals. When creating a garden under oak trees, it is important to choose plants that can handle the shade provided and will thrive in that environment. Fortunately, there are many beautiful annuals that can be planted in the shade of oak trees.

One of the most popular choices for a shade garden is impatiens. These vibrant annuals have large blooms in a wide range of colors, making them an excellent choice for brightening up shady areas. Impatiens require soil that is consistently moist but not soggy and prefer filtered sunlight or partial shade.

Caladiums are another colorful choice that provides splashy foliage and interesting shapes to a shaded garden. These plants come in shades of green, pink, white, and red, making them suitable for any color scheme you may have in mind. Caladiums need rich soil with plenty of organic matter to thrive and prefer indirect sunlight or filtered light.

Coleus is another popular choice for adding color to shady areas. These plants are known for their showy foliage with vibrant hues ranging from bright pinks to deep reds and purples. Coleus prefers moist soil but not overly wet conditions, so care should be taken to ensure they don’t become waterlogged in heavy rains or when watered too often.

Lastly, begonias are an ideal choice for adding texture to shaded gardens under oak trees. These plants come in both waxed leaf varieties with glossy foliage as well as fibrous leaf types with attractive veining patterns on their leaves. Begonias do best if given indirect light or filtered sunlight and need well-draining soil that is kept consistently moist but not soggy.

With these colorful options, you’ll find plenty of ways to bring bright blooms and vivid foliage into your garden while still allowing your oak tree to provide ample shade!


Oak trees provide important environmental benefits, and they can be a great addition to any landscape. However, it is important to choose plants that will work well with the environment in which the oak tree is planted and that will not compete for resources. Plants that thrive under oak trees are typically those that have adapted to the conditions of shade and dry soil. These can include ferns, hostas, ivy, columbines, impatiens, and coral bells. With careful consideration of these factors, you can create a beautiful and low-maintenance garden beneath your oak tree.

In conclusion, when planting under an oak tree you must consider the amount of shade it provides and select plants accordingly. Plants should also be chosen based on their ability to thrive with dry soil conditions. With careful consideration of these factors, you can create a stunning garden beneath your oak tree that will last for years to come.