25 Types of Japanese Garden Plants

Bringing Tradition To Your Gardens

The concept of Japanese gardens has been thoroughly developed throughout the past centuries and the principal garden ideas are Karesansui, Tsukiyama, and Chaniwa.

Japanese gardens are very symbolistic and thematic and Japanese garden plants are a main way of incorporating important ideas.

These gardens carry inspiration from Chinese gardens, and they are a peaceful cultural tradition involving many species of plants.

Types of Japanese Garden Plants:

Quick Look

  1. Rhododendron
  2. Hare’s Foot Fern
  3. Hydrangea
  4. Iris
  5. Bamboo
  6. Japanese Boxwood
  7. Camellia
  8. Ornamental Cherry Tree
  9. Lotus
  10. Hosta
  11. Japanese Pine Tree
  12. Flowering Plum Tree
  13. Peony
  14. Japanese Maple
  15. Mum
  16. Arisaema sikokianum
  17. Japanese Snowbell
  18. Wisteria
  19. Lysimachia nummularia
  20. Pachysandra terminalis
  21. Aspidistra elatior
  22. Garden Juniper
  23. Painted Lady Fern
  24. Japanese Holly
  25. Farfugium japonicum

1. Rhododendron


These flowering bushes are now a cosmopolitan item that could be a great addition to your landscape.

A Rhododendron is a symbol of beauty in Japan.

Description: Rhododendron bushes have stunning clusters of bright flowers.

Link To Buy: https://www.fast-growing-trees.com/products/lavenderrhododendron

2. Hare’s Foot Fern

hare’s foot fern

Like most ferns, this plant does best in indirect light and likes to consistently have a little bit of moisture.

Description: If you are looking for a soft, lightly textured plant, this may be a good fit for you when developing your Japanese garden.

Link To Buy: https://www.walmart.com/ip/9GreenBox-Brown-Rabbit-s-Foot-Fern-4-Pot/116810090

3. Hydrangea


Hydrangea bushes represent strong emotions in Japanese culture. They can be found in almost any landscape and like part-shade conditions.

Description: Hydrangea flowers are a showstopper and can be found in many colors.

Link To Buy: https://www.springhillnursery.com/product/incrediball_hydrangea-hydrangea_arborenscens_abetwo

4. Iris


This flower is a symbol of purity and comes in magnificent colors. An Iris has a rhizome structure and is known as a perennial.

Description: These plants have an interesting flower anatomy, and you may find yourself including them in your Japanese garden.

Link To Buy: https://www.brecks.com/product/Cool_Shades_Dutch_Iris_Mixture

5. Bamboo


This plant is a staple in Japanese gardening and is simple to maintain.

Description: Bamboo enjoy bright indirect sun and well-drained, slightly moist soil conditions.

Link To Buy: https://lewisbamboo.com/products/spectabilis

6. Japanese Boxwood

japanese boxwood

This evergreen shrub is common in Japanese gardens and works well as a border plant.

Description: For over five centuries this plant has been involved in Japanese gardens, and you may enjoy the little oval-shaped foliage.

Link To Buy: https://www.homedepot.com/p/FLOWERWOOD-2-5-Qt-Japanese-Boxwood-Buxus-Shrub-Live-Evergreen-Hedge-Plant-with-Green-Deer-Resistant-Foliage-0610Q/205407886

7. Camellia


This plant is native to Japan and is known as a fantastic flowering evergreen bush.

Description: Camellia belongs to the tea family, likes to be fertilized, and should be placed in well-drained soil.

Link To Buy: https://gardengoodsdirect.com/products/camellia-kramers-supreme

8. Ornamental Cherry Trees

ornamental cherry trees

As soon as you think of a Japanese garden, ornamental cherry trees might come to mind. Their beautiful blossoms are celebrated worldwide, and there are many important meanings for the tree in Japanese culture.

Description: Generally these trees bloom in early spring if they receive full-sun conditions.

Link To Buy: https://www.fast-growing-trees.com/products/yoshino-cherry-trees

9. Lotus


Lotus is another classic in Japanese gardens, and having a pond or water structure in your garden can bring even more meaning behind your creation.

Full sunlight and fertilization could produce a bloom that will live for around three days.

Description: Aquatic plants are a whole other realm of plants that you may enjoy exploring, and lotus plants can establish themselves as perennials!

Link To Buy:

10. Hosta


I have a dozen or two of these plants scattered throughout my gardens. After establishing themselves, they will multiply over time to give you more and more spring and summer beauty.

Description: These plants are a symbol of devotion and come in many leaf colors. You may look forward to the gorgeous flowers (botanically called scapes,) in the summer!

Link To Buy: https://www.dutchbulbs.com/product/hosta-mixed

11. Japanese Pine Tree

japanese pine tree

If you want to bring good fortune and longevity to your garden, this plant may be for you when constructing your Japanese garden.

Description: Japan is this tree’s native home, and with a combination of a black trunk, meable branches, and being an evergreen, it is a pleasure to have in your garden.

Link To Buy: https://gardengoodsdirect.com/products/thunderhead-pine-trees

12. Flowering Plum Tree

flowering plum tree

As with most Japanese garden plants, this plum tree has significant meaning, with it representing purity and perseverance. Oftentimes, people will see this magnificent flower during the very onsets of spring.

Description: This tree has been widely grown for centuries and prefers full sun conditions in order to have the optimal leaf color and blooms.

Link To Buy: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Online-Orchards-Thundercloud-Flowering-Plum-Tree-Bare-Root-FLPL001/307869988

13. Peony


Peonies are another plant that are widely known around the world. They are a large flowering plant that represents noble spirit and good fortune.

Description: It may be good for you to know that peony plants attract a lot of ants, because that is who pollinates their flowers.  

Link To Buy: https://www.brecks.com/product/pink-hawaiian-coral-peony

14. Japanese Maple

japanese maple

Japanese maples are a foundation plant in landscape design and are a great addition if you are building a Japanese garden. Beauty, grace, and elegance are the symbols behind this tree that grows flaming-red foliage.

Description: Most Japanese maples are incorporated into the landscape because of their interesting colors and abilities to be shaped into many sizes.

Link To Buy: https://www.thetreecenter.com/crimson-queen-japanese-maple/

15. Mum


At a greenhouse in Ohio, and like in many all around the world, millions upon millions of mums are grown for fall production. In most places, mums are the main fall plant that people think of and purchase for their homes.

They have fragrant foliage (although some people and animals are allergic) and can come in so many beautiful colors such as red, yellow, orange, white, purple, and many more.

Description: As far as Japanese garden plants, you may include this one to bring rejuvenation, longevity, goodwill, and nobility into your garden.

Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1035451525/mums-chrysanthemums?gpla=1&gao=1&

16. Arisaema sikokianum

arisaema sikokianum

This native Japanese plant is a perennial that prefers part to full shade and has a very interesting flower structure called a spathe and a spadix.

Description: You can expect this plant to go dormant during the summer season once it has produced its eye-catching flower in April or May.

Link To Buy: https://www.plantdelights.com/collections/plants-that-start-with-a/products/arisaema-sikokianum

17. Japanese Snowbell

japanese snowbell

This spring-flowering tree is native to Japan and prefers full sun to part shade.

Due to the tree’s anatomy, the flowers are singled out and made to be a focal point on the tree. Generally, this tree produces white fragrant flowers.

Description: Japanese Snowbells like to be in acidic, well-drained conditions as far as soil.

Link To Buy: https://www.monrovia.com/japanese-snowbell.html#

18. Wisteria


If you need a viney plant to complete your Japanese garden, this could be the plant for you. It can grow to be giant and produce wonderful-smelling purple flower clusters.

Description: This plant represents love, support, bliss, and much more in Japanese culture.

Link To Buy: https://www.tnnursery.net/wisteria-plants-for-sale/  

19. Lysimachia nummularia

lysimachia nummularia

Also known as Creeping Jenny, this plant can be found in many plant nurseries and can be propagated very easily.

This interest around this plant is its vigorous spreading habit (a good ground cover plant) and the bright golden foliage it develops.

Description: This plant can cause desired color contrasts in the landscape, likes moist soil, and is tolerant to any type of sunlight.

Link To Buy: https://www.lowes.com/pd/6-Pack-Creeping-Jenny-in-Tray-L2652/4773183

20. Pachysandra terminalis

pachysandra terminalis

Pachysandra terminalis is another Japanese native that establishes as a ground cover in the landscape.

It has a white flower and some people find the smell of the plant to be odd.

Description: This ornamental ground cover will grow to be about a foot high and will provide dense foliage for your landscape.

Link To Buy: https://www.peekskillnurseries.com/pachysandra/  

21. Aspidistra elatior

aspidistra elatior

This perennial is native to Japan and is grown as a houseplant worldwide. It has glossy, stemless foliage that is resilient to many conditions.

Description: Also known as a cast-iron plant, this herbaceous perennial can reach up to three feet tall.

Link To Buy: https://www.plantdelights.com/collections/aspidistra-cast-iron-plant  

22. Garden Juniper

garden juniper

The Japanese garden plant, Juniper, is a symbol of protection. It is used widely around the world as an interesting groundcover.

Description: This plant is an evergreen, prefers full sun, and is low maintenance.

Link To Buy: https://www.plantingtree.com/products/dwarf-japanese-garden-juniper

23. Painted Lady Fern

painted lady fern

Painted Lady Ferns are a great companion for any water features you may have, and it does best in shady conditions.

Description: To maintain the exquisite foliage colors on this plant, make sure it stays moist and does not completely dry out.  

Link To Buy: https://www.americanmeadows.com/perennials/ferns/japanese-painted-fern-red-beauty

24. Japanese Holly

japanese holly

If you are sure to purchase a female plant, then oval-shaped, fine-textured foliage will be complemented by berries in the fall time.

Description: Unlike most holly plants, this plant does not have any armature to protect itself.

Link To Buy: https://gardengoodsdirect.com/products/compact-japanese-holly 

25. Farfugium japonicum

farfugium japonicum

Farfugium japonicum is a native perennial to Japan that is known for its dazzling yellow flowers and fascinating foliage.

Description: These plants prefer full shade and moist conditions.

Link To Buy: https://seedsworld.online/products/5-leopard-plant-seeds

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