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Q.Growing in a shaded area under Conifers

Zone Essex UK | Anonymous added on January 25, 2018 | Answered

I have a large area under 5 very well established Christmas Trees and would like to add colour to the area and I’m considering Azalea’s could you tell me if they would survive and thrive. Is there another shrub that would also add colour and survive in the same environment???

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Answered on January 25, 2018

Conifers have shallow, extensive roots. You will be cutting into roots in order to plant which isn't the best for the tree. In addition, the tree will consume most of the moisture in the soil making it nearly impossible for other plants to thrive. I don't think an azalea stands a chance. Do an internet search for perennials/shrubs/annuals for dry shade in your region. I would start with a very small plant, either a plug or something you grow from seed. It's going to be difficult, but possible, for the new plant's roots to find spaces where moisture remains A small plant will need less water during establishment than a larger plant so is more likely to survive transplanting. Plus, as mentioned, you will be destroying feeder roots of the trees to make a planting hole so you want to minimize the risk to the trees. Anything you plant will soon be infiltrated by tree roots. Look for plants that grow deep roots, like many native plants, or ones that have taproots. Alternatives are garden statuary, fountain, fairly garden or growing in containers.

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