I live in East Murray, West Holaday, Salt Lake County. We have a large pine tree and want to plant some flowers under/near it. The plants would be along a fence that runs to the east of the tree. Some, very little west sun in the evening. Any suggestions? I would love some long lasting flowers.



First of all, I hope you're not planning to plant flower beneath your pine tree.  The area from the tree's trunk out to the edge of the tree's canopy is where most of the tree roots are.  Anything you plant beneath that canopy will have to compete with tree roots for soil water and nutrients.  I don't recommend it.

That said, it sounds like you may be talking about planting near the tree in a relatively shady spot.  That would be fine, and I have some recommendations for you:

Aquilegia (columbine) - this would be a choice perennial for the situation you describe as it is native to woodland areas.  Three great columbines are native to Utah: Aquilegia flavescens or chrysantha (yellow), Aquilegia Formosa (bright red), and Aquilegia caerulea (light blue or white) are native to the Intermountain West.  Aquilegia hybrids are fine too, but they are more susceptible to leaf miners.

Geranium - true geraniums (not the annual Pelargonium that most people think of as "geranium") are long-blooming perennials with colors that range from light pink to deep purple.  Geranium viscosissimum (sticky purple geranium) is especially nice and is native to our region.

Heuchera (coral bells) is a perennial with evergreen leaves and rose-pink to crimson or even white bell-shaped flowers.  There are many hybrids to choose from.

Impatiens is an annual (needs to be replaced every year) that blooms all summer long in colors that range from white to pink to lilac.

Bergenia cordifolia is great for borders or within the shade of trees. Not only do they have nice rose or lilac flowers, but the leaves have a great texture that shows up nicely in shaded areas.  This is a perennial that will last for many years.

This should give you a good start. Happy planting!

Posted on 16 May 2008

Heidi Kratsch
Ornamental Horticulture Specialist

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