Free Garden Plans & Companion Plants for Japanese Maples & Azaleas

I have a small yard, and much of it is shady. I have discovered that Japanese Maples perform well in partial shade, and I have bought several 4′ Japanese Red Maples to set out.

Japanese Maples Are Perfect for Small Gardens – They Even Grow in Partial Shade – What is the Difference between Bloodgood and Other Japanese Red Maples?

Before I anchor my Japanese Red Maples in the ground, however, I am researching what other plants that I should combine with my Red Maples. Better Homes and Gardens has designed a Japanese Red Maple Garden Plan that I am considering planting twice–symmetrically on both sides of the sidewalk that leads to my front door:

Garden Size: 17 x 18 feet

A. Japanese Red Maple
B. 5 Siebold Primroses
C. 1 Husker Red Penstemon
D. 2 Balloon Flowers
E. 1 Pink Rhododendron
F. 1 Pink Azalea
G. 2 White Azaleas
H. 8 Giant Alliums
I. 2 June Hostas
J. 1 Francee Hosta
K. 7 Forget-Me-Nots
L. 5 Astilbes
M. 2 Coral Bell Heucheras
N. 1 Purple Heuchera
O. 12 English Bluebells


Other Good Companion Plants for Japanese Maples

Evergreen Trees and Shrubs
Oakleaf Hydrangeas
“Don’t forget the ground layer. Ferns that thrive without a lot of “fuss” include natives such as Christmas fern, cinnamon fern and royal fern.   A non-native, but one that plays well with others, is autumn fern, Dryopteris erythrosora. A one gallon plant will quickly spread to cover a 3’ x 3’ area or more, so make sure to give this tough guy plenty of room.     All of these ferns make great companions for Japanese maples.”

Amsonia hubrichtii, Arkansas bluestar, reflects golden foliage in one of the ponds at Gibbs Gardens.

“Perennial pleasers lenten rose, Helleborus x orientalis and Amsonia hubrichtii, Arkansas bluestar offer months of interest in the landscape. Arkansas blue star has pale blue flowers in spring and golden yellow willow like foliage in autumn. The native hardy gingers, members of the genus Asarum, make great accent plants in combinations with ferns and other woodland plants. Their distinctive, often mottled, evergreen leaves standout on the forest floor.”