How to Grow Japanese Garden Plants


Japanese gardens are a beneficial garden style for those who favor a relaxing, meditative garden experience. A wide array of plants native to Japan are available in many colors, shapes, sizes and textures. Although Japanese garden plants can be planted in any type of garden, they help accent a Japanese garden such as Shinto or Zen the most.

Step 1

Purchase Japanese plants that work for your garden and climate, especially if you are planting them outdoors and not in a greenhouse. You need to choose Japanese plants that can be transplanted or planted into favorable conditions. For example, shekisho, otherwise known as sweet flag, must be grown in a marshy environment, while the Camelia japonica needs to grow in cool shade, not full sun. Koke moss needs full shade as a ground cover, and several bonsai-style shrubs and trees can grow in either sun or shade.

Step 2

Prepare the soil correctly to accommodate the different Japanese plants. Most commonly, Japanese plants grow in sandy marshy soil, or in rich, fertile dark soil. For example, bamboo grass needs rich black soil, while Japanese plum prefers well-drained soil that is rich but has a sand content.

Step 3

Incorporate the proper soil into the ground at the planting site, or in the planter pots you are using. Label the pots if necessary. Let the soil sit for at least 24 hours after preparing it so it can settle to the average ground temperature.

Step 4

Plant the transplants or seeds at the correct depth according to the package directions. When removing transplants from pots, shake excess dirt off the roots and carefully spread out the roots a bit before planting, especially for climbing or ground cover plants.

Step 5

Water the plants as necessary for the specific variety and your climate. In arid hot climates, it is important to keep plants hydrated so watering almost every other day may be needed. Many Japanese plants require consistent watering and moist soil over fully drying out in between waterings.

Step 6

Transplant any Japanese plants from pots if they grow too large for the current pot, as Japanese plants can have rapid root growth and die quickly if the roots are stunted at the bottom of a pot.

Things You'll Need

  • Proper soil
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Planter pots, if necessary
  • Water


  • My Japanese Garden: Japanese Plants
  • JGarden: Japanese Garden Plants
  • New Gardening Tips: Japanese Garden
Keywords: Japanese garden plants, Japanese gardens, Japanese plants

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.