If you want to landscape the area around your fire pit for aesthetic reasons (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll need to take into account what types of plants can grow around your pit and withstand the heat.
There are many plant varieties that thrive when planted near fire pits, such as French lavender, sage and yukka (amongst many others). This is provided you plant them at least three to four feet away so they can withstand the heat.
Let’s look at these plants in more detail, establish exactly where you should plant them, and also consider tree planting near your fire pit.
The Types of Plants I Can Grow Near My Fire Pit
You’ll likely only want plants that can withstand high heat ratings to be nearest to your fire pit. If you cannot find anything you like here, we’d recommend getting plants that are actually fire-resistant. There are quite a few to choose from (more on that below).
This plant can actually bring life to an otherwise horrible looking area, as the plant is quite beautiful. It has notably thrived in the warm, dry climate sectors for as long as the species has been known. Lavender won’t randomly catch on fire, can handle high heat, and its pretty enough to bring some needed color to your fire pit area.
For centuries, Sage has been used by people for medicinal purposes. The Native Americans used it, Australian Natives, and even several African Tribes. What did they all have in common? They were usually in hotter climates throughout the world. It was found that Sage could grow in hotter places, was drought-tolerant, and also fire-resistant.
You’ve likely seen the Yukka plant in deserts all over the place, especially in North America. They can actually grow pretty much anywhere. Yet they thrive in hotter environments. They can be quite beautiful, especially when they bloom. They actually need proper sun exposure and a good dry place to grow.
The leaves, of course, are known for being tough enough to handle high heat. They take forever to burn, making them incredibly safe around fire pits. The species also manages to re-sprout more after being burned. Which just makes it perfect for this type of thing.
All of these plants can grow well, even close to the fire pit. They can also bring some much-needed color and life to a fire pit that would not otherwise have it.
What Distance From The Fire Pit Should My Plants Be?
As counter-intuitive as it might seem, there is actually a lot that you can put near a fire pit. However, you must consider the distance. When you have a fire pit, you’ve likely sectioned it off to keep the fire contained in a central location.
Therefore, when you plant something nearby, you are not planting it directly next to your fire. Rather, it will be on the periphery. If planted far enough away, the list of plants you could use multiplies. In this context, we feel it is good to consider a three-zone plan for your plants.
The First Zone will be anything within 1 foot of your fire pit. This is likely to be the hottest section where you’ll grow plants. It’ll potentially also catch some ash or even flame if things get crazy. Thus, your plants here need to be capable of handling anything – so planting this close is not advisable.
The Second Zone is up to 2 feet from your fire pit. This medium sector will get some heat but not too much. It’ll also be unlikely to be hit by flame but it might have some hot ash fall upon it.
The Third Zone is 3 – 4 feet from the fire pit and beyond. One could likely call this the safe zone for most plants. You will likely need to plant those that can handle high heat still, and you could also plant anything from 5 feet and beyond.
Can Planters Be Placed Near My Fire Pit?
Ultimately, this all comes down to the type of planter you plan to use. If it is something that can withstand high heat, and you can likely have flame hit it without catching on fire, that is useful.
Yet if your planter cannot handle this, then it is a bad idea to have it close to a fire. This is why we’d recommend that you place something that can handle high heat levels.
You won’t likely have a fire going in your fire pit every single day. Thus, your planter needs to be capable of doing well outdoors without the potential for problems, decay, etc.
This is why we’d steer clear of wood planters as well as many plastic types you might come across. Rather, the best to use here are metal or even ceramic planters. They can handle all weather conditions well and both do well up against any possible temperature your fire will be capable of reaching.
Is It Safe For Trees To Overhang My Fire Pit?
This kind of depends on a few factors. First, how low does the tree hang? Are we talking about 10 feet off the ground or is it so close that your dog can chew on it? If it is the latter, this is too low and you’ll need to trim this back a bit.
Of course, there are also various different tree types all around the world. Therefore, this truly comes down to the type of tree you might have near your home’s fire pit. In the Southern United States, for example, there are a lot of pine trees.
You’ll also see some other tree types like oak but pine trees are more common. However, they rarely hang low. When they do, they’re about to fall over unless it’s a tree limb or something similar to this. Yet you’ll see some trees in this same territory that will often grow in wetter or more swampy environments.
Those trees are known for their hanging moss or leaves. If you see one like this, you’re kind of in good luck. Unless they are hanging right in the fire pit, they are capable of withstanding a good bit of heat before potentially catching on fire.
Moss actually keeps them from doing so as it’s often wet enough to keep fire issues at bay. Yet over long periods of time, this could likely die off and that section of your tree will dry up. If that happens, it’ll catch on fire much much easier.
What Of Fire Resistant Trees?
Like fire-resistant plants, there are several trees that are said to be fire-resistant too. One of the most popular is known as the baobab tree, also called the “Tree of Life.” It tends to store water, lasts seemingly forever, and thrives in horrifically hot climates.
Yet baobab’s are native mostly to Africa, so you won’t find these in the US. You can, however, come across trees like the Coast Live Oak, American Mountain Ash, Southern Magnolia, Japanese Elm, Mediterranean Cypress, and Ponderosa Pine. It is possible that at least one of these trees can be planted near your fire pit without an issue.
What About The Trees Already Present?
If you don’t know if your low-hanging tree is fire-resistant, you can actually ask an expert for help with this. There are many botanists that can help, so try searching online for local expert.
If your specific tree turns out not to be fire-resistant, you’ll need to trim down the area closest to your fire pit heavily. It’s always best to take precautions and keep the area completely safe.
Your fire pit will look lovely if you landscape around it properly, and plan out the different varieties of plants and trees you’ll have around it.
As we’ve outlined, just make sure the plants you choose are fire resistant and planted a safe distance away (including overhanging trees), then you won’t encounter any problems.
When you get to a distance of around five feet away from your fire pit, it’s really safe to plant anything – and it’s also then safe for chairs and garden furniture too.