Japanese maple trees are popular in landscaping. The slower-growing types offer great accents for small ponds, decks and patios. They look beautiful when artfully trained into bonsai as well as when allowed to grow to their normal, mature height. They usually are undemanding in care and offer their owners many years of beautifully-shaped and colored leaves. Japanese maples also go well with many types of annuals and perennials.
Planting a mixture of low-growing groundcovers is an ideal choice in setting off the beautiful branching of a Japanese maple. Choosing dark-colored groundcovers will make a beautiful foil for the foliage of the tree. Likewise, sweeping mats of Irish moss or hardy native mosses keep a low profile while providing just the right amount of color and texture.
Trilliums offer four exceptional qualities in a garden. They have beautifully speckled foliage, upright rain and wind tolerant blossoms, bloom in shade, and have a scent that carries throughout the garden and yard. Trillium will grow in rather dense clumps and generally requires little care once it is established.
Planting small-statured grasses beneath and around Japanese maples will provide texture and sound as the wind blows through the grasses. Choose clumping grasses that remain small so they cannot overpower a slow-growing tree or your garden.
A well-branching Japanese maple tree offers a beautiful centerpiece for a miniature landscape. This will provide a garden within a garden. Miniature plants such as sedum, blue-eyed grass and creeping Jenny can create a nice garden attraction. The addition of a small stream, bridges, houses, fences or animals will add a realistic appeal to the planting. Inexpensive plastic animals can be purchased at most stores. Use craft paint to make the animals more realistic before adding them to the garden.
Roses, Hydrangeas and Azaleas
Due to their acid-loving tendencies, roses, hydrangeas and azaleas are good choices as Japanese maple companions. Choose small-statured plants if the maple is short at planting time. Do not forget that all of these plants are heavy feeders and will require more frequent watering if planted under a tree.
Arrange bonsai around and under a Japanese maple tree. Tables and shelves can be constructed to show off the most beautiful potted trees. Keep the pots and other extra items as low key as possible so they do not distract from the natural grace and beauty of the trees.