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What To Grow Under Leylandii: 50 Inspiring Ideas To Consider

What To Grow Under Leylandii: 50 Inspiring Ideas To Consider

If you have attractive leylandii hedges on your property and wish to improve the surrounding scenery, you may consider making some changes.

In that case, you need to learn all about the best plants to grow alongside leylandii.

What can you grow under leylandii? There are dozens of suitable species to grow under leylandii, including herbs, shrubs, bushes, flowers, climbers, creepers, grasses, and more. Some of the most popular plants to grow under leylandii include bergenia, climbing hydrangea, and Persian ivy.

Read on below to discover everything you need to know about what to grow under leylandii before you start digging and planting!

Plants To Grow With Leylandii

There’s a host of diverse and gorgeous plants to grow around and under leylandii hedges and trees, including flowers, herbs, climbers, and more. 

In the following sections, we discuss lists of plants that grow in front of, up, and under leylandii.


Before we jump directly into the best plants to grow with leylandii, there are a few aspects to consider:

Soil Type & pH

The type of soil and the pH level that plants are suited for varies widely when it comes to home landscaping.

That said, the soil under leylandii always ends up dry and acidic. So, for the surrounding plants to survive, they must be suited for acidic pH levels and be able to survive dry spells.

Moisture Levels

Underneath leylandii, living conditions for other plants with roots in the same soil are quite dry.

That means whatever species you decide to grow under your leylandii needs to be okay in dry conditions for long periods of time.


Plants growing under leylandii hedges receive far less sun than the leylandii do themselves.

If you plan on growing something under your leylandii, the species must be fine with living in the shade full time.

Exceptions to this rule are climber species (they can climb on top of the hedges and get all the sun they desire).

Surrounding Environment

Plants placed under leylandii must be able to tolerate dry, acidic, and shady conditions.

They’ll also need to be able to survive when the leylandii takes up the majority of the available nutrients from the soil.

What To Plant in Front of Leylandii

In front of leylandii, plants like flowers, small shrubs, and even trees, can change the whole look of your landscaping.

The list of plants that are suitable for planting in front of leylandii is a long one. Note that these plants may be planted further away from the leylandii and their acidic soil.

  • Adiantums
  • Astilbe
  • Azaleas
  • Bergenia 
  • Boxwood
  • Bleeding heart
  • Brunnera
  • Camellia
  • Caladium
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Cyrtomium
  • Daffodils
  • Dryopteris
  • Euphorbia
  • Fox glove
  • Gardenia
  • Heather
  • Hellebores
  • Holly
  • Hosta
  • Iris
  • Lily of the valley
  • Lyrope
  • Marigolds
  • Pulmonaria
  • Rhododendrons
  • Tulips
  • Wintercreeper
  • Zinnias

A hedge of large leylandii growing as a backdrop in a formal garden.

Growing Climbers Up Leylandii

Planting climbers under or around leylandii and letting them overtake and cover the hedges or sections of them, is another enchanting direction you may opt to take with your landscaping.

The list of climbers that can grow up leylandii is also quite long. They too (like the species listed above) may be planted further away from the leylandii’s acidic soil.

  • Bluebell creeper – Sollya heterophylla
  • Californian lilac – Ceanothus
  • Chocolate vine – Akebia quinata
  • Clematis armandii
  • Climbing honeysuckles – Lonicera
  • Climbing hydrangea – Hydrangea seemannii
  • Climbing hydrangea – Pileostegia viburnoides
  • Cotoneaster lacteus
  • Henry’s honeysuckle – Lonicera henryi
  • English ivy – Hedera helix
  • Firethorn – Pyracantha
  • Maidenhair vine – Muehlenbeckia complexa
  • Silk tassel bush – Garrya elliptica
  • Silver Queen – Euonymus
  • Star jasmine – Trachelospermum
  • Stauntonia hexaphylla
  • Passion flower – Passiflora caerulea
  • Wall germander – Teucrium fruticans
  • Winter-flowering clematis – Clematis cirrhosa
  • Persian ivy – Hedera colchica
  • Japanese honeysuckle – Lonicera japonica

Growing Grass Under Leylandii

Leylandii is an evergreen conifer, which means that it’s acidic. When their branches and “leaves” fall off onto the ground, they alter the pH to levels that do not support grass of any sort.

Grass needs soil with a pH of approximately 6.0, so if you want to plant grass under your leylandii, you’ll need to take extra care and clean underneath them several times per year. 

You’ll also need to provide grass growing under leylandii with fertilizer and regularly test the pH of the soil (find a pH monitor here)

A few types of grass you may have success with under leylandii include:

  • Centipede grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Fescue grass
  • Zoysia

Related Questions:

How Do You Fill a Gap in a Leylandii Hedge?

Leylandii, like most evergreen species used for hedgerows, may be filled back in rather quickly with various plants.

The most popular plants to fill a gap in a leylandii hedge include Griselinia, laurel, and Fargesia. Depending on how large the gap is, you may also opt to fill it in with a new leylandii tree.

How Do You Thicken a Leylandii Hedge?

To thicken up your leylandii hedges, trim them directly after you plant them. Follow up by trimming them to the exact shape and height you want every spring, summer, and fall.

After several years, your leylandii will be thick as can be, and you’ll need to continue pruning them two to three times per year.

Final Thoughts

The sky may not be the limit when it comes to what you can grow under your leylandii, but the selection of plants you can choose from includes dozens of species. 

Whether it’s flowers, herbs, creepers, climbers, or shrubs, hopefully the above lists provide you with the inspiration to choose the best plants to grow under your hedges!

Thanks for reading!