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Old 10-01-2000, 02:04 AM
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Default what natives to grow under oak trees

I'm looking for attractive, ideally colorful natives that will grow well under oak trees. That is, natives that can tolerate and thrive in shade and no additoinal water.</p>
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Old 10-03-2000, 06:37 AM
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Default Re: what natives to grow under oak trees

Maya -

Good question! Here is a two-part answwer. First, the plants - Heucheras and their hybrids are a good choice. H. micrantha and H. maxima might do. They tend to be white or pale coral pink in the case of H. micrantha, but look wonderful when massed. The smaller, mountain species are very drought tolerant, but may get lost under oak leaf duff.

The hybrids between California Heucheras and H. sanguinea from Arizona are more colorful, and excellent under oaks. There are many to choose from - 'Wendy', 'Old La Rochette' 'Santa Ana Cardinal' and so on. There are hybrids of the smaller species, too - Santa Barbara Botanic Garden specializes in these.

What else to grow under oaks? Consider 'filler' plants like Horkelia, Satureja douglasii, Whipplea modesta. For larger plants, the wood rose, Rosa gymnocarpa is lovely, though not gaudy. Ribes sanguineum grows under oaks naturally in many areas, and it's showy in the spring, plus being a fine bird plant. In Southern California, some of the shade-growing daisies might do - Venegasia or Viguiera - Must confess I haven't grown those.

If you can find plants or seeds, the tap-rooted houndstongue, Cynoglossum grande, does very well under oaks, and you can't do better than something that looks like a giant, intense-blue-flowered forget me not!

Has anyone tried some of the creeping daisies, like Lessingia filaginifolia, or Aster chilensis? I've seen the coast perennial, Erigeron glaucus grown under oaks - looks fine. These last three daisies have lavender flowers.

There are probably more plants that take dry shade under oaks, but another consideration is when and how to plant them. You should use seeds or plant out small plants - in the fall. Digging holes for gallon cans in the spring is likelier to lead to failure.

Good luck -


Some wildflowers will also grow under oaks, if the shade is not too dense - Clarkias and Chinese houses come to mind.</p>
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