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I would like to know what plants would be suitable for growing at the base of a yew tree. Ideally I would like them to be evergreen with the odd rockery/alpine plant and was looking at Juniperus.

Any help/advice would be appreciated please before I empty my purse or worse ruin our lovely yew tree!!

Thank you,



I don't know of anything that will grow in the dense dry shade of a yew tree.  The only upside is that not even weeds will grow there 

Surely there is something yew can grow  oh sorry will get my coat.

We see a lot of yew trees in our work in churchyards, the others are correct, nothing at all will grow under the yew. They grow huge in time, my advise would be to get rid of it, especially if its near your house.

Thanks for your feedback so far. The yew has a preservation order so we don't have much other than to work with it! A tree bench may be the answer then!!



I have a large yew tree [ 200 years old ] and not surprisingly it is very dry and shady beneath it. However over the years when I have had an excess of plants I have found that there are a few things that grow there. These include: snowdrops, primula, vinca [ although doesnt flower ], pernyetta, honesty, dog violets and symphytium. I continue to try new things each year and although it is not the best looking area of the garden it is not too bad. Try it you might be surprised.

Rocks.  That's what I am going to put beneath my yew.


I have seen ivy, planted some distance from the trunk of a yew, grow in underneath the shade of a yew tree' and give some ground cover.


There are vinca minor growing under yew trees on a steep, dry, north-facing bank beside a path I walk down on the way to work, so if anything is going to work those are a good bet.

We had a yew tree at the edge of our old garden and grew the following underneath it quite successfully. We did make sure we watered until we were confident the plants had started to establish. The yew was right on the boundary so the trunk was just behind our fence but of course we had lots of roots and overhang in our garden.

Ivy and Jasmine on the fence (clotted cream jasmine - took couple of years before it flowered but romped away after that)
Cyclamen coum and cyclamen hederifolia
Forget me nots (self seemed so no extra care from us ditto the honesty)
Primula vulgaris

We did mulch each year with home made compost to help boost the soil

There are also some lovely ferns which will tolerate dry conditions

The other alternative is to grow what you can but also use pots to brighten the area which you can either swap and change for seasonal colour or leave permanently in place

Our last garden was surrounded by mature trees and so shady and full of roots. When I moved in I was wishing for a sunny garden but by the time we left enjoyed our shady woodland garden and had thoroughly enjoyed learning and experimenting with what would we could grow successfully

I have a 30 foot high Yew tree with a broad canopy about 40 feet across.  

Seven  years ago I planted a Trachelospernum Jasmonides each side of the Yew10 feet away from the trunk when the canopy was about 20 feet wide.

Both plants have grown very well against the fence (which is south facing) just behind the Yew.  However the amount of blossom has diminished over the years, though I suspect that this could be because of less sunlight as the canopy has grown and shaded them.

I also planted some Lily of the Valley close to the trunk of the Yew and they have prospered well and spread happily.

However, as Jasmonides is a thirsty plant I make sure that I water it heavily and regularly throughout the year.  Without this, the dry conditions underneath the Yew canopy woulkd have killed them off years ago.

The grass that was growing around the Yew has retreated as the canopy has expanded.  Not much I can do about that one.

I am drastically reducing the width of the canopy to let more sunlight onto the Jasmonides in the hope of reversing the decline in blossom.

One of the great things about Yews is that you can be really brutal with pruning and lopping.  They recover with considerable vigour, and after a second season, you really cannot notice what was chopped back.

Good luck.





Janet  Rodway

Myself I would fence a yew tree off  it is poisonous, one mouthful to an animal and it dead. We have lost cows from it. We found one by the fence of our fields and cut it down making sure we picked up every last piece, But one dogs walked on where the tree fell and then licked her paws and she was very ill only just saved her, So I wouldn't even consider having one anywhere near our farm and certainly not in the garden.

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