How to Choose Plants for a Japanese Garden


Bring a little Zen to your outdoor space by planning and planting a Japanese garden. To achieve this look, specific flowers, plants and trees must be incorporated into the landscape. Whether your goal is to create a traditional or formal look, a wide range of plants is available to make a garden with an authentic Asian flair.

Step 1

Plant evergreens to serve as background trees in a Japanese garden. Plant low-spreading juniper, which also makes a great cascading bonsai. Consider the pine, available in many varieties, including the popular Bristlecone. Add larches, a deciduous conifer, to a Japanese garden for texture. Give larches the year-round moisture they require for proper growth.

Step 2

Complement the focal points of a Japanese garden by incorporating shrubs into the landscape. Plant caragana, which produces small leaves, and Saskatoon, a large shrub that also produces edible berries and white flowers. Add the cotoneaster, commonly found in Japanese gardens, since it is inexpensive and easy to form into a bonsai.

Step 3

Choose deciduous trees to serve as a focal point of the garden. Plant deciduous trees near a pond, if present, to serve as a border. Choose the Siberian elm to create a more formal look. Consider the pincherry, particularly the chokecherry, which produces clusters of white flowers, for a less formal look. Plant the amur maple, a great alternative to the Japanese maple, to complement a traditional Japanese garden.


  • Japanese garden plants database
Keywords: Japanese garden, flowers for a Japanese garden, trees for a Japanese garden

About this Author

Stephanie Green is a writer with more than 10 years of experience. Her work has been published in various lifestyle and trade publications, covering parenting, gardening and human-interest stories. Green holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.