plants for japanese garden
Fri, Aug 20, 2021

Best Zen Garden Plants: Create a Little Japan in Your Backyard

Publisher logo
Best Zen Garden Plants: Create a Little Japan in Your Backyard Article Preview
plants for japanese garden

Conciseness, restraint, sophistication, mystery, naturalness of materials, a real work of art from the Far East. All of this is a Japanese-style garden – a novelty already loved by many gardeners.

The principles of organizing a Japanese garden were developed back in the VIII century in the Land of the Rising Sun, and outside it appeared only in the twentieth century. Our lovers of man-made species of nature appreciated not only the decorativeness and uniqueness of this style but also its hidden philosophy.

Life in harmony with nature, reverence for all its manifestations, and the ability to see beauty in the smallest – these are, perhaps, the basic principles of the Japanese garden. Why not try to build a corner of such peace on your site? Anyone can do it!

And we want to help you navigate the range of plants suitable for a Japanese-style garden. Moreover, not all trees, grasses, and shrubs, which are classics for this type of garden, feel good in our climate. So we would figure out which zen plants to choose, what is suitable, and what to replace with what, toout violating the aesthetics of the Japanese garden.

Plants for Japanese Garden

Camellia

Camellia

The genus Japanese camellia has several hundred species of evergreen shrubs or trees native to Asia. Many species are grown as ornamental shrubs, but the most popular is Camellia japonica – the most prominent species in horticultural cultivation, numbering more than 2000 varieties.

Traditional Japanese camellia is prized for its flowers, which can be plain, semi-double, or double, depending on the variety. Their shade can vary from red to pink and white, sometimes they have multi-colored stripes or specks. Camellia does not smell, but the beauty of flowering makes up for this disadvantage.

The plant prefers partial or full lighting and rich and well-drained soil. USDA growing area 7 to 9, depending on cultivar.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

In Japanese, hydrangea sounds like ajisai, which means purple sunflower. The most common types of hydrangea in Japan are hydrangea pectoral, large-leaved, petiolate, paniculate, curly, serrate. Hydrangea blooms from spring and, as always, bloom begins from the warmest island in Japan – Okinawa. The main flowering period is in June; in the mountains, hydrangea can bloom in July. The plant does not like direct sunlight, but it likes moisture. The rainy season is ideal for the hydrangea to bloom. If you live in hot and dry areas, paniculata varieties should be preferred as they are more tolerant of these conditions. Partial shade and well-drained soil are ideal conditions for growing this magnificent Japanese plant. The preferred USDA growing area is 5 to 9.

Lotus

Lotus

The lotus is considered sacred in many countries of Southeast Asia. This water flower in Japan is a symbol of the Buddha. It became popular due to its properties of growing out of mud and silt at the bottom of the pond, eventually decorating its surface with a huge, clear flower. And lotus seeds remain viable for several centuries. Thus, the plant shows a person that anyone can grow in suffering and remain a beautiful soul. Therefore, the lotus is a symbol of spiritual rebirth and salvation.

There are few soil requirements, the one with a low organic matter content, clay or sandy would suffice. Prefers full sun.

Wisteria

Wisteria

Wisteria is a tall subtropical tree native to China and Japan that twines around supports and blooms in large bunches. The purple, white, and blue flowers of wisteria resemble moths and give off a sweet aroma. In the spring, its flowering turns into a real paradise, which makes them excellent plants for Japanese-style gardens. In the end, all it needs for a full existence is warmth and sun. Even a small wisteria in the garden is a real holiday of spring and beauty, which gives joy and a good mood. With good care, wisteria can bloom twice a season – in the spring and at the end of August.

All varieties of wisteria impress with their beautiful, numerous flowers. This Japanese vine plant is especially decorative when it is used for vertical landscaping of arches, arbors, and fences. It needs well-drained soil. USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8.

Japanese Iris

Japanese Iris

The peak of the fascination with irises in Japan came at the end of the nineteenth century. When the number of varieties was approaching the first thousand, admiring the flowering became a national tradition that formed the appearance of the classic Japanese iris garden. And if you are looking for pond plants, then we advise you to take a closer look at such varieties as Iris laevigata or Iris ensata Thunb.

In Japan, irises are quite rightly considered one of the most unpretentious and hardy plants; this is a samurai flower, symbolizing the resilience of a warrior. And what kind of garden does not need such support and participation?

They experience the greatest need for water during flowering – this is true, but after that, they perfectly tolerate long periods of drought. It needs well-drained soil and full sun. USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9.

Azalea

Azalea

Many people know this oriental plant as an indoor flower, demanding to care for. Japanese azalea can be grown without problems on your site, decorating the entire garden with its bright flowers.

The azalea grown as an evergreen shrub is a very slow-growing perennial.

In nature, the height of these Asian bushes can reach 10 ft, but in gardening conditions, azalea reaches only 1-3 ft, depending on the climate and care. Shades of Japanese azalea inflorescences can also be varied: from democratic white to bright red or pink, you can also find a variegated color palette and two-tone azalea flowers. During flowering, the Japanese azalea bush is completely covered with beautiful and fragrant flowers, sometimes even foliage and branches are not visible behind them. At this time, the plant looks like a large and bright ball. Depending on the variety, USDA growing area: 3 to 8.

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

Japanese maples are unusually beautiful Asian plants that can fill the garden with the brightest colors. Japanese maples need a place protected from cold and dry summer winds, as well as neutral or slightly acidic fertile, moist soil. This is a great option for a Japanese shade garden. In the hot sun, in the absence of constant moisture in the soil and air, their leaves fade, dry, and crumble. These graceful plants belong to the 6th zone of winter hardiness, they are sensitive to frost, especially at a young age. Young growths damaged in winter, as a rule, are restored but in especially severe and snowless winters the plant may die completely. But if your climatic conditions are suitable for that common Japanese tree, then be sure to pay attention to it when creating a zen garden.

Japanese Styrax

Japanese Styrax

Styrax is a flowering, ornamental plant with a straight, smooth, gray trunk, ascending branches, and a beautiful compact, pyramidal, or rounded crown. Young shoots are thin, reddish-brown, or brown with dense, tomentose pubescence, which completely disappears with age.

During the flowering period, large, broadly bell-shaped, very fragrant flowers appear on the plant. The corolla consists of 5 oval, fused at the base, snow-white petals. This tree would be a great addition to your Japanese garden.

Hosta

Hosta

It is impossible not to mention hostas (by the Japanese name gibōshi) when talking about Japanese landscape plants. When used skillfully, hostas like no other plant can add an oriental flavor to your garden. It is not without reason that many species of these plants are native to Japan and China.

They are unpretentious, surprisingly varied in size and color of leaves, and retain their decorative effect for a long time. Perhaps their only drawback is a long time of “becoming decorative” in the spring: the leaves unfold as if reluctantly, and the plant takes on a finished look only by mid-June. As we said above, this plant is native to Southeast Asia and Japan and correspondingly prefers a mild climate.

Peony

Peony

The herbaceous peonies that we are used to (with huge double flowers) look too “flashy” in a Japanese garden. It is better to select wild types of peonies, for example, the thin-leaved peony (Paeonia tenuifolia), the Paeonia delavayi, the Paeonia veitchii, and other peonies with simple flowers belonging to the group of so-called imperial, or Japanese, with exquisite in their simplicity with flowers.

Paeonia suffruticosa (Tree Peony) deserve special attention, especially since they are native to Japan.

Quince

Quince

Japanese quince is considered as an ornamental bush with a pleasant addition to edible fruits. It blooms in the second half of spring, even before the leaves appear. The non-simultaneous blooming of buds makes the flowering process longer (about 1 month).

The first flowering and fruiting of Japanese quince grown from seeds occur at about 3 years. The fruits are greenish-yellow, fragrant, in shape they can resemble both an apple and a pear.

Since Japanese quince is a heat-loving shrub, the place must be sunny, protected from cold winds. In the shade, such a bush grows stunted and may not even bloom. Like most plants, Japanese quince does not like excessive moisture and stagnation of water.

We have described many types and varieties of landscaping plants suitable for creating a Japanese garden in our climate. Choose what you like and can afford. Create beauty, but do not forget the main principle – brevity.You don’t have to plant everything on your site at once – the ideal Japanese garden can be even a garden of one plant! Learn to see beauty in minimalism and enjoy the restraint of shapes and colors – and you would understand that not so much is needed for harmony with yourself.

Do you like this article?
no 0

You can do what you like and get paid! Write articles on the topic you like, work at home with well-paid work!