Plants in Japanese gardens


In any style of garden, the vegetation is perhaps one if the features that can make or break the garden and Japanese gardens are no exception. Although any plants can be used to develop the garden, there are some popular plants that are associated with these gardens and make a good addition to any garden. Various types of vegetation is used to ensure that the garden is interesting during all the seasons of the year.

One of the interesting principles in Japanese garden art deign is that unlike in the western parts of the world, flowers are no the most important vegetation in the garden. Instead they can be used as accents and to add colour to specific areas of the garden.  Instead trees are the focal feature of the garden.  In these gardens trees and plants of different colour are used in the garden.


As mentioned above, trees provide important areas of interest in the garden.

  • They are often used to provide focal points in a garden.
  • Trees also provide the perfect backdrop for all the other elements in the garden.
  • Certain trees will flower in the spring for example cherry blossom trees,

The 2 main types of trees used are evergreen and deciduous trees because they can be enjoyed all year long.
Evergreen trees:  are a constant source of green color in the garden throughout the year. Examples of evergreen trees include coastal redwoods, Cedar and Canadian hemlock

Deciduous trees: During seasonal changes of the year these trees change to introduce interesting features to the garden for example Maples are popular because during the autumn their leaves turn a magnificent shade or red. Examples of deciduous trees include water oaks

Below is a video of the meaning of some trees in a Japanese garden.


Flowering shrubs and hedges

Popular examples of shrubs include Azalea, which should be planted in acidic soil, Hydrangea,Carmellia, Japanese irises, and Japanese bell flowers. Hedges which are usually trimmed into traditional shapes are common plants in Japanese gardens. The flowering quince is an example of the more common plants used as hedges.


Flowers and Trees in Japanese Garden

Ground cover plants like moss and ferns

Ground cover plants can be used to add texture to a garden.Since mosses do well in damp climates and cool shades, they might not be practical in places that experience drier summer months. This can off course be substituted by using other plants as ground cover as long as they grow in a compact fashion and are not demanding on the soil.

Although the vegetation above are commonly used, when creating Japanese gardens, they can be adapted to use plants that can thrive in the particular climatic location where the garden is located.