What to Plant under Aspen Trees?

Under aspen trees, one can plant shade-loving plants like hosta, ferns, and wildflowers. Aspen trees offer a perfect shade for plants that grow well in cool, moist, and shaded sites.

Native plants such as columbine, wild rose, and lupine, and other low-growing shrubs that match the aspens’ native habitat do well in this environment. In addition to these native plants, there are also non-native options such as bleeding hearts and lilies that thrive beneath aspens. In this article, we will explore some great plant options that you can consider for under your aspen tree. We will also provide tips on how to care for and maintain these plants and make your garden an enviable landscape.

What to Plant under Aspen Trees?

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Characteristics Of Aspen Trees

Aspen trees are unique and special, owing to their characteristics. They can grow tall and wide, with a stunning white bark that makes them stand out in any landscape. Their leaves are round, glossy, and green, but turn golden in the fall.

These trees prefer moist, well-drained soil, and need plenty of sunlight to thrive. When planting under aspen trees, it’s essential to consider the shade they provide and choose plants that can tolerate it. Native shade-tolerant plants like ferns, hostas, and wildflowers are an excellent choice.

However, it’s crucial to avoid aggressive species that may compete with and harm your aspen trees. As long as you carefully select your plants and follow proper planting techniques, you can create a beautiful and thriving garden under your aspen trees.

Best Plants To Grow Under Aspen Trees

There are several plants that can thrive under aspen trees, including wild strawberries, periwinkle, hostas, serviceberry, elderberry, lady fern and cinnamon fern. Wild strawberries are low-growing plants that can tolerate different light conditions and produce tasty berries. Periwinkle is a hardy plant that thrives in moist soils with dappled light.

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Hostas are known for their striking foliage and grow well in the shade. Serviceberry produces edible berries in early summer and can tolerate a range of light conditions. Elderberry is a favorite of birds and other wildlife, benefits from moist soils and prefers dappled light.

Lady fern is a favorite of gardeners and can tolerate different soil and light conditions. Cinnamon fern is a tall, stately fern that prefers moist soils with dappled light and produces striking cinnamon-colored spores in the fall.

Don't Plant Aspen Trees in Your Colorado Landscape

Planting Tips For Understory Plants

Growing plants under the shade of aspen trees can be a challenging task, but with the right knowledge and planting tips, you can create a beautiful, thriving understory. When choosing plants for an aspen tree understory, consider their ability to tolerate shade, and their root structure.

Look for varieties that are shade-loving and have shallow roots. Some good options include ferns, wildflowers, and ground covers like vinca and lamium. By planting a variety of plants, you can create a diverse and visually appealing understory that will thrive under the aspen trees.

Remember to keep the planting area well-mulched and watered regularly to ensure your plants establish well. Follow these tips and create a stunning understory under your aspen trees.


Aspen trees bring a unique beauty to any landscape, but finding the right plants to thrive under them can be a challenge. By considering the shade, soil, and moisture requirements of the aspen, you can find the perfect plants to enhance the area.

Whether you prefer low-growing ground covers or tall shrubs, there are options that will create a stunning and functional environment. Remember to choose plants that are native to your area and can withstand the conditions of the aspen’s root system.

Plan carefully, and you can create a vibrant and peaceful garden oasis under the beauty of your aspen trees. Experiment with different combinations of plants to create a unique and personalized landscape that you can enjoy for years to come.

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With patience and care, your garden will thrive, and your aspen trees will stand tall and proud for all to admire.