Best/Worst Plants Under Cherry Trees + Landscaping Ideas!

Revised: The gardening space under the cherry tree should not go to waste, as it offers the opportunity to display its attractive foliage, lovely blossoms, and changing leaves.

You can take advantage of that area to plant ground covers and other plants to increase the visual appeal of that corner in the garden or yard.

What can you plant under a cherry tree? You can plant a wide variety of shade-loving herbs, ground cover, and flowers under the cherry tree. Some of the best candidates include toad lily, lavender, white clover, chamomile, rosemary, dandelion, lovage, cilantro, oregano, viola, and chives.

Not all of these plants will thrive under a cherry tree with its shallow roots that spread far and wide.

Some plants require different soil and fertilizer than what the cherry tree needs. Read more to find out the best companion plants to grow under a cherry tree.

Having a cherry tree is fun and rewarding, but it also comes with questions. Find the answers you’re looking for in my comprehensive guide, Ornamental Cherry Trees Questions.

Planting Under Cherry Trees, Tips & What To Avoid

The cherry tree is a lush tree with a sprawling canopy that casts shade on the area within the tree’s drip line.

If you want to take advantage of that large area to grow other plants, you’ll need to pick plants that can handle partial to full shade. Luckily there are herbs and even flowers that thrive in the partial or total absence of direct sunlight. 

Best Companion Plants To Grow Beneath Cherry Trees

Some of the best companion plants to grow beneath cherry trees include:

  • Chives – Chives bloom at the same time as cherry trees and attract pollinators. They also repel pests and have antifungal properties.
  • Chamomile – This is another flower that attracts pollinators and repels pests. However, it also attracts aphids, so you need to spray it often with neem oil.
  • Rosemary – Plant rosemary in a spot that gets a few hours of sunlight every day. It repels mosquitoes and attracts pollinators.
  • Lavender – Lavender prefers partial shade, so you should plant it around the perimeter of the cherry tree’s drip line. 

Can You Plant Under Weeping Cherry Trees?

You can grow plants under the weeping cherry tree as long as these are low-profile plants that don’t interfere with the branches of the weeping cherry tree. Evergreen shrubs and groundcovers are ideal companions.

Tips For Under-Planting Carefully Beneath Cherry Trees

While trees might look hardy and strong, their roots are actually quite vulnerable. This is true of cherry trees in particular since they have shallow roots close to the surface. Here are a few tips to help you plant under the trees without damaging them.

  • Don’t till the soil under the cherry trees; otherwise, you might disturb the roots.
  • Watch out for cuts and scratches in the bark. They could lead to fungal infections.
  • Choose plants that thrive in partial or total shade.
  • Plants that need a few hours of sun every day can be planted around the edge of the tree’s drip line.
  • Don’t plant a bunch of plants together. That could disturb the soil around the roots of the tree. Start small and add a new plant every few weeks.
  • Less is more. Focus on a few varieties of plants, and space them out to improve ventilation.
  • Plant evergreens and winter bloomers.
  • Focus on perennials to minimize the work.

Alternative Ground Cover Ideas for Cherry Trees

You can always find alternative ground cover among the plethora of shade-loving herbs, shrubs, and grasses.

Shade-loving perennials such as ajuga, hosta, bunchberry, hardy ferns, and spotted deadnettle are ideal under cherry trees.

They don’t require mowing, are cost-effective, and have plenty of varieties each to suit every lawn, yard, and garden. Many of these plants repel pests to protect the cherry.

You can also try fragrant ground covers such as chamomile lawns, creeping thyme, and Corsican mint.

They are drought tolerant, control weeds, and require little fertilizing and watering. They have shallow root systems so they won’t compete with the cherry tree over resources. Moreover, they have a delightful fragrance.

Two cute little boys running along a lane beside cherry trees in full bloom.

What NOT To Plant Under Cherry Trees

When choosing companion plants for cherry trees, make sure that the plants don’t have a deep root system that would disturb the shallow root system of the cherry tree. Cherry tree roots don’t do well with competition.

Avoid plants that require a lot of direct sunlight. From the spring until the fall each year, the area under the cherry tree will be mostly shady. Plants that need sunlight to thrive will not grow well under the cherry.

Some plants repel pests naturally, and others attract pests. Avoid those plants that act as pest magnets or those that are prone to disease and infections. They might spread the infections to the cherry tree. 

Landscaping Ideas for Cherry Trees

You can use cherry trees to transform your yard, lawn, or garden. Cherry trees will fit in almost any design or landscaping idea you come up with.

You can use it in a Japan-inspired water oasis, hanging over a gazebo or pergola, as a central feature of spring borders, or as planting pairs adjacent to a walkway/bench.

How To Keep Cherry Trees Small

The best way to keep cherry trees small is to prune them regularly to manage the size and spread of the trees. However, there are other ways to keep the cherry tree compact without impacting its growth rate or damaging its canopy.

  • Choose a small cherry tree to grow. Dwarf cherry trees are small by nature and can be planted in containers. They also have a small root system so you will avoid damage to structures and fences.
  • You can also plant the cherry tree in a container. That way, you can manage its size by limiting the feeding and watering. 
  • Prune the tree regularly and methodically. Keep a main leader, and space out the branches evenly around it. Trim off other branches to keep the tree compact.

Related Questions:

What Is the Best Organic Pest Control for Cherry Trees?

Both neem oil and jojoba oil are natural pesticides that come from plants and have no chemical additives.

These organic pest control methods eliminate pests such as aphids, thrips, scales, and caterpillars without damaging either the cherry tree or the plants growing under it. Neem oil is an all-purpose pesticide that you can use on veggies, fruits, and flowers safely.

How & When Should You Prune a Cherry Tree?

The best time to prune cherry trees is when they’re dormant. Late winter is the ideal time for pruning the trees.

However, you should be ready to trim off any damaged, broken, or diseased branches at any time of the year to maintain the tree’s shape and prevent the spread of infections.

When pruning, choose a main branch as the leader, trim the branches around it, and space them out to improve airflow and sunlight exposure.

Start the trimming from the outside and work your way into the canopy. Take small bites off the branches to avoid disfiguring the tree, which would take it years to recover from.


You can plant shade-loving herbs, shrubs, and ground cover under your cherry tree. Choose evergreens and winter bloomers to add some color to the garden when the cherry tree goes dormant in the winter.

Ready to keep learning about cherry tree care? These articles are packed with helpful and useful information: