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A common question asked about Japanese gardens is; what are the best flowers for Japanese gardens?
The truth is flowers have a different role in Japanese gardens as they do in western gardens. Western gardens love to create continuous displays of flowers during the growing season.
However, Japanese gardens focus more upon the seasonal qualities of flowers using more perennials and bulbs. It is common for Japanese gardens to use more flowering trees and shrubs than annual bedding flowers.
Very often, Japanese gardens prefer to plant mass carpets or blocks of seasonal colour. This can be seen in their use of both Rhododendrons and cherry blossoms.
We have listed 10 of the best flowering plants for Japanese gardens below.
1. Japanese anemone
The Japanese anemone is a perennial, flowering, plant which is very popular for its attractive flowers. The flowers are normally white or pink and hover above the foliage on tall stems which sway in the wind. Originating from China and Japan this autumn flowering plant is typical of Japanese gardens.
2. Tree peonies
Tree peonies are deciduous shrubs originating from China. These plants grow to around 6 feet tall and are highly prized for their stunning flowers. The flowers are fragrant and resemble large, bowel like, rose, flowers. Tree peonies are cold hardy and very adaptable to varying soils ad conditions.
3. Japanese flowering cherry
Also familiar by its Latin name Prunus serrulata this cherry is famous for its awesome spring blossom.
This small, deciduous, tree has a single trunk with a spreading and compact crown. The Japanese Cherry also has radiant autumn colour making it a seasonal delight for Japanese gardens.
Camellias are famous for their attractive, dark green, glossy foliage and stunning flowers.
Originating from East Asia, Camellias have historically been planted in Japanese gardens for their beauty. Camellias do have a bit of a reputation for being a little bit fussy!
Try to grow them in a sheltered, semi shade, position with a well drained, humus rich, acidic soil.
Native to both Asia and North America Wisterias are a robust, deciduous, climber with beautiful, hanging, flowers.
The flowers appear in spring and can vary in colour from purple to blue or pink. Flowers appear before the vine leafs out making the display even more dramatic!
This climber prefers a sunny site and well drained soil.
Rhododendron is a popular, evergreen flowering shrub originating from North America, Europe and Asia.
These shrubs are well known for their colourful trumpet like flowers which can form masses of colour. It is this mass of colour during spring and summer which is most affiliated with Japanese gardens.
Rhododendrons prefer an acid soil rich in organic matter and like a sheltered position.
Mostly native to temperate regions within the northern hemisphere, Iris are favoured for their large but delicate flowers.
With reed like foliage these perennials sprout every year from spreading rhizomes. The flowers come in a range of colours including; yellow, blue, pink, purple and white.
Iris are traditionally enjoyed in Japanese gardens for their seasonal change and attractive blooms.
Magnolia are medium sized trees which are very well known for their large and attractive flowers.
Originating from America and Asia they prefer a sunny and sheltered position with well drained soil. With Magnolias producing very large flowers before leafing out they can look very dramatic during the spring.
This is one of the reasons they have become so popular in Japanese gardens.
9. Liriope muscari
Liriope, also known as Lilly turf is a low growing evergreen perennial which is enjoyed for its purple flowers.
This plant has grass like foliage and a spreading habit which makes it an effective ground cover. Originally from Asia this plant does like a sunny position, is drought tolerant and low maintenance.
Lillies are tall growing, perennial, plants favoured for their beautiful and large scented flowers,
These flowers typically originate from temperate and sub-tropical regions of the northern hemisphere. Every spring the shoots rapidly sprout from the soil and flower around June time.
Lilies are perfect for Japanese gardens providing seasonal drama and scent which carries well on the breeze.
Thank you for reading our article on the best flowers for Japanese gardens. Below we will link to some more Japanese garden articles you may find informative.
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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire