20 Best Plants to Grow Under Oak Trees: Compatible Plants Under and Around Oaks

Oak trees, members of the genus Quercus in the beech family, Fagaceae, are remarkable specimens of nature. Growing plants under Oak trees can have numerous benefits. Not only does it create a visually appealing garden, but it also helps to maximize the use of space in your yard. Additionally, planting compatible species under Oak trees helps to enhance biodiversity in your garden. Oaks are known for supporting a wide range of wildlife due to their large size and long lifespan.

Oak Trees Shade Plantation

20 Best Plants to Grow Under Oak Trees


Trilliums, with their delicate beauty and distinctive three-petaled flowers, are popular for planting under Oak trees. These woodland plants add a touch of elegance to any garden and thrive in the dappled shade provided by the Oak’s canopy. One of the fascinating aspects of trilliums is their ability to change color as they age.

Their blooms start as pure white or pale pink but gradually turn deeper shades of purple or burgundy over time. This transformation adds visual interest and intrigue to your garden. Trilliums are low-maintenance plants that prefer moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. These lovely plants can naturalize and spread throughout your garden with proper care.

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells are beautiful spring-blooming plants that add color to any garden. These native wildflowers are known for their clusters of bell-shaped flowers that range in color. Their delicate blooms create a stunning carpet of color under the shade of Oak trees. One of the reasons why Virginia Bluebells are perfect for planting under Oak trees is because they thrive in partial shade and moist, well-draining soil. This makes them an excellent choice if you want to support local ecosystems and promote biodiversity in your backyard.


Hellebores are a beautiful addition to any garden. Their unique blooms and long-lasting flowers bring color and interest to the landscape. These perennial plants thrive under Oak trees because they tolerate shade. They prefer well-drained soil and can withstand dry conditions once established. Hellebores come in various colors, including white, pink, purple, and green. Their bell-shaped flowers bloom from late winter through early spring, providing much-needed color during the colder months.


Ferns are a wonderful option for planting under Oak trees! These ancient plants have been around for millions of years and bring a touch of elegance to any garden. With their delicate fronds and vibrant green colors, ferns create a lush and enchanting atmosphere that complements the majestic presence of Oak trees. One of the great things about ferns is that they thrive in shady areas, making them perfect companions for Oaks, which often cast dense shade. Their extensive root systems also stabilize soil erosion on slopes or uneven terrain.


Hostas are a popular choice for planting under Oak trees due to their shade tolerance and ability to thrive in moist soil. These plants provide a lush, green backdrop with large, heart-shaped leaves in shades of green, blue, and even variegated patterns. One of the great things about hostas is their versatility. They can be used as ground cover or standalone specimens in shady areas. Plus, they are low-maintenance plants that require minimal care once established. Additionally, hostas produce lovely flowers on tall stalks during the summer months.

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hosta plant


It is a beautiful flowering plant that thrives under Oak trees. Its delicate and vibrant flowers add a touch of elegance to any garden or landscape. With their unique swept-back petals and heart-shaped leaves, cyclamens are an eye-catching addition to the natural beauty of Oak trees. They can be planted directly under the canopy of an Oak tree, where they will receive just enough light to thrive. Not only do cyclamens provide aesthetic appeal, but they also have many practical benefits. 

Lily of the Valley

It is a delicate and enchanting plant that adds beauty to any garden. With its dainty bell-shaped flowers and sweet fragrance, it is no wonder why this plant has captivated gardeners for centuries. This perennial beauty thrives in shady areas, making it the perfect choice for growing under Oak trees. Its vibrant green leaves create a lush carpet-like effect, while its white blooms provide contrast and visual interest.

Not only does Lily of the Valley add aesthetic appeal to your garden, but it also offers some practical benefits. Additionally, its strong scent is known to repel pests such as deer and rabbits. Choose a spot with well-drained soil when planting Lily of the Valley under Oak trees. This plant prefers moist conditions but can tolerate periods of drought once established.

Solomon’s Seal

Solomon’s Seal, an elegant and enchanting perennial, is perfect for growing under oak trees. With its arching stems and delicate white flowers dangling like tiny bells, Solomon’s Seal brings a touch of woodland charm to any garden. This resilient plant thrives in the shade of oak trees’ dense canopy.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Solomon’s Seal also offers practical benefits. It acts as a natural weed suppressor due to its spreading habit and dense growth pattern. Furthermore, its underground rhizomes form thick mats that help prevent erosion on sloping terrain beneath oak trees.

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts are a stunning addition to any garden, especially when planted under Oak trees. These unique flowers get their name from their heart-shaped blooms that appear as if they are dripping with delicate drops of blood. The vibrant red and pink hues make them stand out in any landscape. They also prefer moist soil, so the natural moisture from the Oak tree’s root system can help keep these plants healthy and thriving.

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 Best Plants to Grow Under Oak Trees: Bleeding Hearts


Epimediums are a group of beautiful plants that thrive under Oak trees. Their delicate flowers and attractive foliage add beauty to any garden. Epimediums come in shades of pink, purple, yellow, and white, making them versatile for different color schemes. Oak trees provide dense canopy cover, making it challenging for other plants to grow. However, epimediums have adapted well to these conditions and can flourish even in low-light areas. Another benefit of growing epimediums under Oak trees is their resistance to deer browsing.

These plants contain compounds that deter deer from feeding on them, making them less likely to be damaged by these animals. Epimediums offer visual appeal and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies with their nectar-rich flowers. This makes them beneficial for promoting biodiversity in your garden ecosystem. When planting epimediums under Oaks, ensure the soil is well-drained and rich in organic matter. These plants prefer moist but not waterlogged conditions.

Woodland Phlox

Woodland Phlox is a beautiful perennial plant that can add beauty to any garden. This plant thrives under Oak trees because it prefers partial shade and moist soil conditions. Not only does Woodland Phlox bring beauty to your garden, but it also attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies. These beneficial insects are crucial in pollinating other plants in your garden, ensuring their continued growth and reproduction.

Sweet Woodruff

Sweet Woodruff is a delightful little plant that thrives under the shade of Oak trees. This low-growing perennial spreads quickly, creating a lush carpet-like ground cover. One of the great things about Sweet Woodruff is its ability to tolerate dry soil conditions. It can handle periods of drought without wilting or losing its vibrant color.

This makes it an excellent choice for areas where water may be scarce, such as under Oak trees. Another benefit of planting Sweet Woodruff under Oaks is its natural mosquito-repellent properties. The plant contains coumarin, which releases a sweet scent when crushed. Not only does this fragrance deter mosquitoes, but it also adds a pleasant aroma to your garden.

Coral Bells

Coral Bells are stunning perennials that can add color to your garden under the shade of Oak trees. These plants have vibrant foliage in shades of green, purple, bronze, and even silver. Their leaves are often textured or ruffled, adding visual interest to any planting bed. One of the great things about Coral Bells is their versatility. 

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coral bells plants

In addition to their beautiful foliage, Coral Bells produce delicate flower spikes in spring or early summer. Pair companion plants under Oak trees with Coral Bells with other shade-loving perennials like ferns or hostas for a lush and diverse aesthetic. Add some wild ginger or Lungwort for contrasting textures and colors.


Lungwort is a charming plant that thrives under the shade of Oak trees. With its unique spotted leaves and delicate flowers, it adds a touch of beauty to any garden. One of the great things about Lungwort is its versatility. Not only does Lungwort bring visual appeal, but it also attracts pollinators with its nectar-rich blooms. This makes it an excellent choice for those looking to support local wildlife and promote biodiversity in their backyard. It is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal attention once established.


Astilbes are a true delight for any garden enthusiast. These beautiful perennial plants add a touch of elegance and grace to the landscape with their feathery plumes of flowers in different shades of pink, red, white, and lavender. Their lacy foliage also provides an attractive backdrop even when not in bloom.

They prefer moist soil but can tolerate some dry conditions once established. Provide consistent moisture during dry spells and divide clumps every three to four years to keep them healthy and vigorous. Astilbes make excellent additions to woodland gardens or shady borders under Oak trees.


Foamflowers are delicate and enchanting plants that add a touch of elegance to any garden. These perennial beauties are native to North America and thrive in the shade of Oak trees. With their unique foliage and dainty flowers, foamflowers create a tranquil atmosphere under the majestic canopy of Oaks.

This variation in leaf color creates visual depth and dimension, making foamflowers an excellent choice for adding contrast to your garden. Growing Foamflowers under Oak trees enhances your garden’s beauty and supports local wildlife by providing food sources for pollinators.

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger is a versatile and hardy plant that thrives in the shade of Oak trees. With its heart-shaped leaves and unique, bell-shaped flowers, Wild Ginger adds a touch of elegance to any garden or landscape. One of the great things about Wild Ginger is its ability to spread and form dense ground cover. Plus, its deep green foliage provides a beautiful contrast against the earthy tones of the tree’s bark.

In terms of care, Wild Ginger prefers moist soil with good drainage. It can tolerate sun and shade but thrives best in partial or filtered sunlight. Regular watering will keep this plant happy and healthy throughout the growing season. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that can add beauty and functionality under your Oak trees, consider adding Wild Ginger to your garden.

Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese Forest Grass is a stunning and versatile plant. Its graceful arching leaves and vibrant colors bring a touch of elegance and serenity to the landscape. One of the reasons why Japanese Forest Grass is so popular is its ability to thrive in shady areas under Oak trees. Another great feature of this grass is its low-maintenance nature.

Once established, it requires minimal care and occasional watering during dry spells and trimming back dead foliage in early spring. So, if you’re looking for a beautiful groundcover option for your shaded garden under Oak trees, look no further than Japanese Forest Grass. Its unique texture and stunning colors will create an enchanting atmosphere you’ll enjoy all year round without much effort.


With their delicate and vibrant flowers, Columbines are the perfect addition to any garden under Oak trees. These beautiful plants come in various colors and shapes, adding a whimsical touch to the landscape. One of the great things about columbines is their ability to thrive in partial shade, making them an excellent choice for growing under Oak trees. Columbines are also known for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies with their nectar-rich blooms.

This adds beauty to your garden and helps support local wildlife populations. When planting columbines under Oak trees, it’s important to ensure they have well-draining soil, as these plants do not tolerate soggy conditions. These versatile perennials can be grown from seeds or transplants and often self-seed if allowed. They are relatively low-maintenance plants that require minimal care once established.


Begonias are a fantastic choice for planting under Oak trees. With their vibrant blooms and attractive foliage, begonias add a pop of color and interest to the understory of your Oak tree. One great thing about begonias is that they can tolerate shade and partial sun, so they will thrive even if your Oak tree provides dappled sunlight throughout the day.

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Begonias Pink

They also prefer moist soil conditions, making them an excellent match for the typically cool and damp environment under Oak trees. In terms of maintenance, begonias are relatively low-maintenance plants. They require regular watering to keep their soil consistently moist but not soggy. Removing spent flowers will also encourage new blooms to form and maintain the plant’s overall appearance.


Growing plants under Oak trees protect them from harsh sunlight and excessive heat. Many plants thrive in shady conditions, making these areas ideal for certain species, such as ferns and hostas. The dappled light that filters through the branches creates a unique environment for these shade-loving plants to flourish. These resilient trees provide numerous benefits to their surroundings. Their dense foliage creates shade and helps maintain cooler temperatures during hot summer.


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