With the popularity of indoor, lucky bamboo plants, interest in other Asian plants has grown in the United States. When creating an Asian-themed landscape or garden area, these plants are a must. However, they blend readily in a more eclectic landscape as well.
There is not just one type of bamboo. Of course, the small personal bamboo plant may be enjoyed on your desk or among your other houseplants at home. The stock can be trained to grow in curly-cues. It can be maintained in soil or water. It’s quite attractive in a clear container of polished stones and water. Agricultural bamboo has become of interest because of it’s sustainable quality of fast growth. Paper, floors, furniture and even clothing now are made from bamboo. It is a very light substance, yet harder than maple.
For agricultural purposes, choose a running bamboo, such as Blue (Henon), Fishing Pole or Robert Young. The running bamboo spreads its roots beneath the ground and pops up as new plants. Contain running bamboo by growing it in pots. For landscaping, choose a clumping bamboo, such as Golden Goddess, White Striped Dwarf or Weeping Willow. This type of bamboo will grow in a clump and not overtake your landscaping.
Another well-known Asian plant is the Chinese maple. The most well-known is the red Chinese maple with its rust red, spike-like leaves. It gives a delicate appearance to the landscape. This tree can grow to 30 or 40 feet tall. Consider spacing when you decide on a location for your new maple. Place it in a location that gets mostly sun. It’s a warmer climate tree, doing best in hardiness zones 7 through 9 . The Chinese maple is forgiving where soil composition is concerned, but it does not like an extreme soil, either acidic or alkaline. Do not confuse the Chinese maple with the Japanese maple, which will grow only in acidic soil.
The Japanese maple, like the Chinese maple in color only, grows in a dome shape. It grows only between 15 and 25 feet tall. This tree grows in a slightly cooler climate of zones 5 through 8. Where the Chinese maple is becoming increasingly sparse in China, the Japanese maple is quite common in Japan--many times seen in bonsai form.
Some of the more well-known Asian flowers are camellias, water lilies, cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums. One of the most prized Asian flower is the Japanese iris. The Japanese iris is known in Japan as Hanashobu. For best rewards, plant these flowers in a full-sun, moist location with acidic soil. When planting your Iris, leave an indentation around the flower plant base to catch water. This will retain extra moisture for the plant.
If you have a water feature in your landscape, these iris are a good edging to receive moist sprays through the wind. Heavy feeders, these flowers will benefit from a twice-a-year feeding, once in early spring and again right before the Japanese iris blooms. Give it a balanced fertilizer of equal parts phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. Most of the Japanese Iris flowers are a combination of red and violet colors.
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