Shade-loving impatiens are perfect for growing under mulberry trees.

How to Landscape Around Mulberry Trees

by Marta Santos

Landscaping under a mulberry tree can be tricky because flowering plants must compete with wide-spreading mulberry roots, thrive in the shade of its foliage and survive a barrage of berries in spring or summer, unless you mange pick them all -- which you might because the loganberry-size fruit on some mulberry varieties is tasty off the bush and others are good in jams, pies and homemade wines. Nevertheless, the roots and the shade alone can be a challenge. Placing portable containers of flowering plants under your mulberry tree will provide the color and interest that you want without the risks.

Container Gardens Brighten the Area Under a Mulberry Tree

Remove the lower branches of the mulberry tree with the pruning shears. This will open up the area and allow a little sunlight to reach the ground around the tree. It'll also give you a roomier work space.

Determine how much sun the area under your mulberry tree actually receives on a daily basis. If it gets more than four hours of direct sunlight per day, select plants that thrive in light shade. Purchase plants that perform well in partial shade if the area gets more than two hours of direct sun but less than four. Anything under two hours of direct sun will require plants that grow well in full shade.

Site your containers in various spots under your mulberry tree. Much like moving furniture in your home interior, you can find the look that you like the best by experimenting with different placements.

Fill the containers up with potting soil, making sure to leave an inch or two at the top. Plant the plants in the containers using the hand trowel and your fingers. Tamping the soil around the plants down gently but firmly will help the roots of the plants take hold in their new home.

Water the plants in using a gentle stream from a garden hose diffuser or a watering can. Many shade-loving plants are also heavy drinkers, so be certain to check them for water several times during the course of the week. Keep in mind that because of the heavy canopy of the mulberry tree, they won't have very much access to rainwater.

Items you will need

  • Pruning sheers
  • Shade-loving flowering plants
  • Potting soil
  • Containers
  • Small hand trowel
  • Watering can or hose


  • Mulberry trees (Morus spp.) grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 and 9 and have shallow, lateral root systems that need room to spread out.


  • Mulberry sap causes rashes in some people, so be certain to cover up while landscape underneath a mulberry tree.
  • Moving the containers to safety once your mulberry tree starts dropping fruit will protect them from being crushed by the onslaught of falling fruit as well as shredded by the birds that swarm anywhere they can find the fruit. It will also keep the containers you bought from being stained.

About the Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Marta Santos studied ornamental horticulture at Clackamas Community College between the years of 1994 and 1996 and has been writing about garden related issues since 2001. As an active participant in the Master Gardeners Program, Santos is always discovering new things about the world of gardening.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images