Plant A Shade Garden to Accentuate Your Japanese Maple – Free Shade Garden Plan with Annotated List of Plants


In 2015, I planted a Bloodgood Japanese Maple in my back garden. I planted it so that I could see it from my warm chair in my sunroom, after the temperature had dropped and being outside in my garden was not as much fun as it was a month before. Intellectually speaking, I knew that my tree would grow and that my favorite spot for sun-loving flowers would eventually become shady, but my neighbors have a large multi-level house just beyond my garden, and I do not enjoy looking at the backside of anyone’s big, white house. Planting trees that will grow relatively tall seemed to be my best defense against my view-stealer. I bought a fairly large maple tree, and the inevitable has happened: my Japanese Maple has grown, and now my favorite place to plant colorful summer flowers has become a bit shady, and I am seeing the writing on the wall. This formerly sunny spot will become increasingly shady. I began looking for something attractive to plant around my Japanese Maple, and I found a plan from Better Homes and Garden Here.

A. Japanese Maple – I planted Bloodgood

Bloodgood Japanese Maple

Slow grower to 15-20 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide. As trees grow, this tree will not grow too terribly tall.

B. 5 Siebold Primroses

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Siebold Primroses

Siebold Primroses can be light purple, pink, or white. They grow to be about 30 cm tall, but the plants are not readily available to buy. I have found seeds for these plants but not the actual plants. I’ll probably substitute for this plant.

C. Penstemon or Beardtongue

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Penstemon plants can have red, pink, or light purple flowers. High Country Gardens says that penstemons need full sun, and for that reason, I am not sure that it is a great choice for a shade garden.

D. 2 Balloon Flowers Platycodon grandiflora

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E. 1 Pink Rhododendron

Top 10 Shrubs for Shade: Rhododendron

F. 1 Pink Azalea

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G. 2 White Azaleas

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H. 8 Giant Alliums – Allium Giganteum

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Alliums are bulbs, and they reproduce in a manner similar to daffodils and hyacinths. Plant allium bulbs in fall. Allium giganteum grows to be 3′ – 5′ tall.

I. 2 June Hostas

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June hosta is a variegated plant that grows to be about 2′ tall.

J. 1 Francee Hosta


Francee hosta is a variegated plant that grows to be about 2′ tall.

K. 7 Forget-Me-Nots

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L. 7 Astilbes

2-Gallon Astilbe (Lb11788)

M. 2 Heuchera Sanguinea

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N. 1 Purple Hosta

Hosta Purple Palace

O. 12 English Bluebells

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great idea. Japanese maples are so lovely. I wanted to plant one here, but we often get droughts and Japanese maples need moisture, so I ended up planting a smoke tree instead. I plan to do some research on the other plants you’ve listed.–They’re beautiful.

    1. jackikellum says:

      I can’t take much credit for this plan. It is from Better Homes and Garden. I have about half of the plants growing in my garden now, and I plan to get more of them.

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