Selecting bedding plants to place beneath your designer trees can be challenging. Trees tend to be resource hogs, and it pays to know what the forests look like where your trees grow naturally.
Plants that naturally grow beneath designer trees.
Cedar glade trees are likely to have moss or lichen growing beath them. Whilst Queensland bottle trees are the central part of thickets that include liana vines, native Australian finger limes, and similar growth. Joshua trees are often the uniting feature of desert locations, surrounded by cactus, and seasonal wildflowers, and serve as an oasis for all sorts of insects, animals and birds. Tree Aloes tend to grow in dense thickets that crowd out other growth, in somewhat the same manner as pine forests. Therefore, when selecting bedding plants to complement your trees, you need to keep their natural growing habits in mind.
When bedding plants beneath your designer trees, you need to remember that the plants share the same water, temperature, and light. These plants have the same requirements as the trees near where they are planted.
Shrubs, bedding plants, and ground cover should be selected with the health of the tree, soil, and surrounding vegetation in mind. Here is a list of plants to complement your feature trees, with their growing habits and best companion trees included.
Three Plants to Complement your Featured Designer Trees
These chubby cacti get their name from their shape when healthy and from the haze of yellow spines that adorn their structural ribs. Like most desert cacti, these natives of Mexico, are structured to soak up seasonal rains, storing moisture for dry seasons. Their ribbed shape looks like a fat pincushion, which is where they get one of their common names, “mother-in-law’s pincushion”. In season, they have colourful blossoms on the top ring of the “cushion”, which can become edible fruits. They are perfect for teaming up with their regional neighbours, Yucca Filifera, Yucca Rostrata, or Yucca Brevafolia (Joshua tree).
Blue Agave agave tequilana
Agave plants are often grown in temperate climates as an ornamental that was sometimes called a century plant because it blooms so infrequently. There are hundreds of different kinds of agave, but blue agave is cultivated as a food plant in Jalisco, Mexico. The agave flowers of several types are said to be edible, and these plants were cultivated by the people who lived in the southern part of North America, Central America, and South America.
They have been traditionally a source of food, fibre, and medicine. Today, they are often made into agave syrup which is a high fructose sweetener that has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar or corn syrup. However, medical websites caution that this high fructose sweetener still has an impact on the liver. Processing is usually required before eating any part of this plant, some types are toxic, while others can produce an allergic reaction for some people. It is not a pet-friendly plant.
In spite of its possible disadvantages, it is a gorgeous ornamental that can easily serve as a complement for your golden barrel cactus, ground and tree yuccas. Teamed up with other arid zone plants, agave can be part of a low-maintenance, low-water garden area that can remain beautiful during hot weather.
A beautiful mid-level spiny shrub, Australian finger limes make a beautiful hedging plant to complement your Queensland bottle trees. Since they often make up part of the thickets that are supported by bottle trees, they are an absolute natural in your low-water garden. Its round, green leaves stay on the bush year-round. In spring, it puts on clusters of small white blossoms, and in fall bears a crop of finger-long, tart citrus fruit. This little charmer will not only be an all-year spot of green, but it will also contribute blossoms that exude an aroma similar to rose blossoms, with the added bonus of a fall fruit crop that has an extra super boost of vitamin C.
Benefits of Complementary Plants
There are many benefits of selecting plants that complement each other and that share the same sort of water and soil requirements. You will be repaid with increased plant health, lower maintenance, and a delightful, low-care landscape solution.