What Plants do not like pine needles? Have you tried pine needle mulch before? It works great for many plants, and many gardeners know this trick; however, some plants don’t like it and would wither if you use pine needle mulch.

What Plants Do Not Like Pine Needles PlantAmerica

Continue reading to discover what plants you should avoid using pine needles on.

A List of Plants That Do Not Like Pine Needles

Do you have a pine tree in your backyard? If you do, you will notice that the pine needles that drop on the ground don’t adversely affect most plants that grow underneath the pine trees, or even the ones next to them.

This is because pine needles increase soil acidity, and most of these plants survive underneath the trees because they thrive in acidic soils. However, many plants will not tolerate pine needles, and knowing which plants won’t, will save you a lot of stress.

1. Green Artichoke

Green artichoke or globe artichoke is a thistle plant commonly grown as a vegetable in Mediterranean gardens. These vegetables are grown as annual plants in warmer climates, and in cooler temperatures, they are grown as perennials. They can grow in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 11.

– Features

Artichoke plants have distinct features that add structure and texture to gardens. Their flowers are shaped like pine cones, with silvery-green leaves that appear soft.

Artichokes have gained popularity for their fleshy flower buds, which are eaten as a delicacy in various parts of the world. The real prize is the soft part at the bottom of the flower bud, known as the heart. 

– Mulching Requirements

Mulching is essential to gardening, as most plants need that extra boost in soil nutrients and moisture retention. Artichokes prefer neutral soils, so you must be careful of the type of mulch you use because a slight shift in the soil pH can affect the plant’s growth.

Green Artichoke Mediterranean garden PlantAmerica

On the other hand, this case will give it a twist as the pine needles would reduce the pH of soils, and as such, they’re an unsuitable type of mulch for artichokes. 

While artichokes do not like pine needle mulches, other organic mulches are suitable for them. Dry-aged grass, straw, manure, or a mixture will serve as perfect mulch components for your artichoke plants. 

– Growth Requirements 

As you would plant artichokes, where they will receive ample sunlight to get the best flower bud production. They don’t mind a little shade, but if you grow them in shaded areas, you will get tiny flower buds at best, which would show you that your plant is growing in a healthy way. 

Also note that the artichokes grow well in rich, moist sandy soils with a pH that ranges from neutral to alkaline. Good drainage is essential when planting artichokes, so whatever soil you plant them in must drain well to prevent root decay. 

However, there has to be a proper balance, as artichokes require plenty of water, which helps the flower buds to remain supple and succulent especially during long hot summers you must irrigate it properly. 

2. Boxwood Plant

Boxwood is a common evergreen shrub that belongs to the genus Buxus. They are slow-growing plants that you can find growing wildly all over Europe, Asia, Africa, and some parts of America. However, one thing you should note about this plant is that it is toxic to pets like cats, dogs, and horses, so you must be careful where you plant them.

– Features

They are grown for their densely packed leaves that add an elegant look to any landscape. The mature plants only grow about two to eight feet tall and wide. 

Boxwood can be grown in pots because of its small size, and as a result, it is a great ornamental plant.  If you wish to add a touch of elegance and elevated aesthetics to your garden, these shrubs are a great choice. 

– Mulching Requirements

How you mulch and the materials you use will affect your Boxwood Plant significantly. Boxwood have fibrous root systems that grow close to the soil’s surface, so they require adequate mulching. 

Boxwood Plant slow growing plants PlantAmerica

The most common mulches gardeners use for this plant are bark mulch or wood chips. As an inexperienced gardener, you might be tempted to use pine needles as mulch because it helps soil humidity retention. This would be an expensive mistake because Boxwood plants do not thrive under pine needle mulch, and this is a keen feature if you decide to do so.

They don’t do well in soils that are too moist or soggy. As a result, pine needles are an unsuitable option for mulch for these shrubs. As a general rule, you shouldn’t add mulch close to the trunk of any tree, as this can invite pests and diseases to your tree. Before you spread your mulch, you will need to leave about two inches of space from the tree trunk. 

– Growth Requirements

Boxwood shrubs grow well in well-drained loamy soils with a neutral to alkaline pH. Boxwood can sometimes tolerate slightly acidic soil if the pH isn’t lower than 6.8. These plants like to be planted in full view of the sun. However, they can benefit from some afternoon shade, especially when the weather gets scorching. 

On another note, remember that Boxwood plants need a lot of water when they’re freshly planted. This is why the soil must be well-draining, so it doesn’t become waterlogged and cause root decay for your plant.

3. Roses

Rose bushes are common perennial garden plants. They belong to the Rosaceae family. These bushes are ornamental plants that are primarily grown for aesthetic purposes. They are perfect in bouquets and other floral arrangements because of their sweet fragrant, and vividly colored flowers. 

Roses are fantastic because you can grow them almost anywhere in the world. There are species for every growing region. If you want a rose bush in your garden, you must check which varieties thrive in your growing zone.

– Features

There are many varieties of roses, each with different bloom sizes, colors, and shapes. Their petals are usually showy and vibrantly colored, ranging between shades of orange, red, pink, yellow, and white. In addition, these different varieties can grow as climbing, standing, or trailing shrubs, with prickly thorns on their stems.

– Mulching Requirements

Young rose bushes are delicate and need any extra care you can give to them. One such care is mulching. While mulching is a great way to help the soil around your plants retain moisture, it also helps to keep weed growth to a minimum

Rose bushes are ornamental plants PlantAmerica

Pine needle mulch is a popular mulch material among gardeners. However, it’s unsuitable to use on rose bushes because it affects the soil pH. 

There are options like gravel mulch, cedar mulch, sugarcane mulch straw, grass clippings, and tree bark are great types of mulches for rose bushes to thrive. These mulches break down quickly without adding to the soil’s acidity. 

– Growth Requirements

The sun plays a vital role in rose petals production, and remember that you must be planting roses in an area under the full view of the sun encourages the growth of big, colorful flowers. 

If you grow your rose bush in a shaded area, you will notice that the plants start to become weak and produce fewer blooms over time. Hence, at least six hours of uninterrupted sun exposure is ideal for a healthy plant and optimum flower production.

Rose bushes need proper spacing to grow and spread out, so it’s important to avoid crowding them when planting. Also, these plants require loose, and a well-draining soil that cannot become waterlogged, or else the roots will be damaged. 

4. Asters 

Asters are flowering perennials. This group of flowering plants belongs to the Asteraceae family. The name aster translates to “star,” referring to the plant’s flower head shape. Their attractive blooms invite pollinators like bees and butterflies to visit frequently.

– Features

Depending on the species, asters produce stunning flowers with varying hues of pink, blue, purple, red, and white all summer through fall. 

They also attract seed eaters like nuthatches, finches, and cardinals. Also, asters can grow between one and six feet tall and one to approximately four feet wide. This height range makes them versatile plants that are suitable for rock gardens or borders.

– Mulching Requirements 

While retaining moisture in the soil is excellent for your plants, asters will not do well in water-logged soils. As a result, you should avoid using pine needle mulch because they tend to cause water build-up in the ground. Wood chips, chopped leaves, or shredded bark are the best mulches for aster plants.

Asters are flowering perennials PlantAmerica

All your plant needs is a single light layer of these mulch types along its base, but not too close to the trunk or stem. What you must remember in this case is that as you are adding a single layer of mulch to the soil will prevent it from becoming too warm while discouraging weeds’ growth.

– Growth Requirements

Growing them under the right conditions will get you beautiful blooms year after year. Some of these conditions include; the soil type, soil texture, pH, drainage, and light intensity. To get healthy asters and beautiful blooms, grow plants where they’ll be adequately exposed to direct sunlight, especially the morning sun.

Remember how asters do well in slightly acidic loamy soils, with a pH range of 5.8 to 6.5. These plants are easy to grow. If you’re starting out, make sure to water your newly planted asters frequently up until they start producing flowers. However, as a little precaution, you must water your plants close to the base to avoid diseases and fungal growth.

5. Lavender

Lavendula, commonly known as lavender, is a sweet-smelling perennial plant. This fragrant flowering plant belongs to the mint family. They’re grown as herbs. You’ve probably soaked in or bathed with some lavender products before. The plant has interesting properties and, as a result, has been used widely in medicine and cosmetics.

– Characteristics

They are mainly grown for their extracts which are used to scent several products such as clothing, furniture, and bath products. Also, lavender extracts are used to flavor drinks and desserts. 

– Features

The colorful blooms of lavender plants contrast perfectly with their green stems, adding a striking beauty to the landscape. There are different varieties of the lavender plant, but the commonly planted ones are woolly lavender, French lavender, and English lavender.

Lavender sweet smelling perennial plant PlantAmerica

– Mulching Requirements

Due to the plant’s preference for dry climates, mulching lavender plants can be challenging. The goal is to get as little moisture as possible on the leaves and the top of the plant. So this means that whatever mulch you use must be thinly spread around the plant and must be able to reflect light– keeping the soil moist and the plants dry.

Even though pine needles are excellent mulches, but not for lavender, because they would be harming the plant instead of keeping it healthy.

A layer of pine mulch will complement the deep purple color of lavender plants, but their roots won’t benefit from it, since the water pines hold too much. Examples of suitable mulch for lavender include; nutshells, pea gravel, coarse sand, and small, crushed rock.

– Growth Requirements

Lavender herbs require total sunlight exposure to produce beautiful flowers and thick bushes. They don’t tolerate any shade.

Also, these plants grow well in loose, alkaline soils, like chalky sand. They prefer alkaline pH, usually a pH higher than 6.5. You will have healthy plants if your soil has good drainage and all the other requirements are met.


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