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Revised: It is a pleasure for gardeners to have crabapple trees as they provide a stunning display of bright flowers in the spring, colorful fruits in the autumn, and add visual appeal all year round.
But what about the space under these trees? It’s an area that often poses a challenge for gardeners.
The dappled shade, the competition for water and nutrients, and the fallen leaves and fruits can make it difficult for many plants to thrive.
However, with the right plant choices, you can transform this underutilized space into a beautiful garden bed.
Here are 20 flowering varieties that can thrive under a crabapple tree, creating a stunning garden tapestry that complements the beauty of the tree.
- The space under a crabapple tree can be transformed into a beautiful garden bed with the right plant choices.
- Shade-loving perennials like hostas, ferns, and lungworts can thrive under a crabapple tree, providing lush foliage and visual interest.
- Flowering plants like bleeding hearts, foamflowers, and astilbes can add color and charm to the garden, complementing the beauty of the crabapple tree.
- Ground cover plants like creeping phlox and creeping Jenny, as well as spring bulbs, can add a splash of color to the space under a crabapple tree.
Curious about crabapple trees and looking for answers to commonly asked questions? Uncover a wealth of knowledge in my article, Commonly Asked Questions About Crabapple Trees.
1. Hostas (Hosta spp.)
Hostas are shade-loving perennials known for their lush foliage. They come in a wide range of sizes, leaf shapes, and colors, making them a versatile choice for underplanting crabapple trees.
The large, heart-shaped leaves of hostas provide a beautiful contrast to the delicate blossoms and fruits of the crabapple tree.
2. Ferns (Various Species)
Ferns are a diverse group of plants that thrive in shady conditions. Their delicate, feathery fronds add texture and a sense of tranquility to the garden.
Ferns can be a beautiful addition to the space under a crabapple tree, providing a lush, green backdrop for the tree’s colorful blossoms and fruits.
3. Foamflowers (Tiarella spp.)
Foamflowers are shade-loving perennials that produce clusters of delicate, foamy flowers in spring.
They also have attractive, heart-shaped leaves that provide visual interest even when the plants are not in bloom. Foamflowers can thrive under a crabapple tree, adding a touch of whimsy to the garden.
4. Lungworts (Pulmonaria spp.)
Lungworts are hardy perennials that are known for their attractive foliage and delicate spring flowers. The leaves are often spotted or variegated, adding visual interest to the garden.
Lungworts thrive in part shade and moist, well-drained soil, making them a great choice for pairing with crabapple trees.
5. Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.)
Coral bells are versatile perennials that are prized for their colorful foliage that can range from green to bronze to deep purple. They produce delicate, bell-shaped flowers on tall, slender stems.
Coral bells can thrive in a range of light conditions from full sun to part shade, so growing under a crabapple tree should not be a problem.
6. Epimediums (Epimedium spp.)
Epimediums are low-growing perennials that are known for their attractive foliage and delicate, fairy-like flowers.
They are tolerant of drought and can thrive in part shade, making them a great choice for the challenging conditions under a crabapple tree.
7. Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)
Creeping phlox is a ground cover plant that produces a carpet of vibrant flowers in spring.
It thrives in part shade and well-drained soil, making it a great choice for adding a splash of color to the space under a crabapple tree.
8. Ajuga (Ajuga reptans)
Ajuga, also known as bugleweed, is a low-growing perennial that produces spikes of blue flowers in the spring.
It’s a robust plant that can thrive in a range of conditions, including the dappled shade under a crabapple tree. Ajuga’s glossy, evergreen leaves also provide year-round interest.
9. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily of the valley is a charming perennial that produces delicate, bell-shaped flowers in the spring.
It thrives in part to full shade and well-drained soil, making it a great choice for planting with crabapple trees. Its sweetly scented flowers are an added bonus.
10. Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
Bleeding heart is a shade-loving perennial that produces unique, heart-shaped flowers in the spring. It’s a great choice for adding a touch of drama to the garden, and it can thrive in dappled shade.
11. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)
Creeping Jenny is a ground-cover plant known for its vibrant, golden foliage.
It produces small, yellow flowers in the summer and can thrive in a range of light conditions, making it a flexible choice for crabapple tree companion planting.
12. Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
Sweet woodruff is a shade-loving perennial that produces clusters of delicate, white flowers in the spring.
It’s a great choice for adding a touch of brightness to the space under a crabapple tree and also has the added benefit of being deer resistant.
13. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum spp.)
Solomon’s seal is a shade-loving perennial that produces arching stems with delicate, bell-shaped flowers in the spring.
Its attractive, green foliage turns yellow in the fall, providing additional seasonal interest.
14. Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
Virginia bluebells are charming perennials that produce clusters of bell-shaped, blue flowers in the spring.
They thrive in part shade and moist, well-drained soil, making them a great choice for underplanting crabapple trees.
15. Columbines (Aquilegia spp.)
Columbines are versatile perennials that produce unique, spurred flowers in the spring.
They can thrive in a range of light conditions, from full sun to part shade, making them a flexible choice for planting under crabapple trees.
16. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)
Japanese forest grass is a shade-loving ornamental grass known for its cascading, bamboo-like foliage.
It can add a touch of elegance and movement to the garden, and its dense foliage will help prevent weeds.
17. Astilbes (Astilbe spp.)
Astilbes are shade-loving perennials known for their feathery, plume-like flowers. They also have attractive, fern-like foliage that provides visual interest even when the plants are not in bloom.
18. Lupine (Lupinus spp.)
Lupine is a robust perennial that produces tall spikes of colorful flowers in the summer.
It’s a great choice for adding height and drama to the garden, and it attracts various pollinators and hummingbirds to your yard.
19. Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
Bee balm is a vibrant perennial that produces clusters of tubular flowers in the summer.
It’s a great choice for attracting pollinators to the garden, and it can thrive under the dappled shade of a crabapple tree.
20. Spring Bulbs (Various Species)
Spring bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, and crocuses, can add a burst of early spring color to the garden.
They can be planted in the fall under the crabapple tree, where they will lie dormant over the winter and then burst into bloom in the spring.
The space under a crabapple tree can be transformed into a beautiful garden bed with the right plant choices.
From shade-loving perennials like hostas and ferns to vibrant bloomers like bleeding hearts and astilbes, there are many flowering varieties that can thrive under a crabapple tree.
By choosing plants that complement the beauty of the tree and can thrive in the conditions it provides, you can create a stunning garden tapestry that provides visual interest throughout the year.
There’s more to learn! We’ve answered other common questions about Crabapple trees you might want to check out.