Maple companion plants

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Daniel Mosquin, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thread originally started by Gomero, but it was deleted by the software when I removed the original post. This seems like a bug with the software. -- Daniel

    Well now that we have more time I'll start this thread again.
    Companion plants for young maples may not be the same as for adult maples.
    I personally do not like ground covers since they interfere with the yearly mulching. I tend to look for bushes and large perennials that display their raison d'être when maples are 'dormant' (i.e.: mostly summer). Small to medium Hydrangeas provide a large pool of choices.
    Some grasses bring interesting contrast to japanese maples.
    What are your choices?

    Kind regards,

    Gomero
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Read this thread for background conversation leading into this thread.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Depends on the maple.

    For Acer circinnatum, old growth Picea sitchensis, and everything draped in Usnea
    For Acer palmatum, mature Cryptomeria japonica and Abies firma, etc.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Plants compatible with hydrangeas are fuchsias, hostas and hypericums.
     
  5. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I believe that plant combinations is a matter of personal taste. It is true that there are choices that are regarded by many people as 'correct', and those can be found in the books. The reason why I started the thread is to know of different experiences from other people. I really meant companion plants to Japanese maples, and more particularly those that are smaller than 3-4 m.
    Dwarf conifers, as Michael F. points out, are widely used with them but that requires a kind of setting where sunshine abounds. My Japanese maples form the understory of large oaks and, with some exceptions (like for example Cephalotaxus harringtonii ' Prostrata' or the Tsuga cultivars) conifers do not like the shade.
    I have tried, to my satisfaction, small hydrangeas, like the 'You and Me' series which are very floriferous and long-blooming. The shrub reaches just 2 ft high and 3 feet wide. Or the H.Macrophylla ‘Setsuka gae’ (less than 3 ft high.). They combine well with maples that, after a fiery spring display, arer kind of a dull green during the summer

    Regards
    Gomero
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I was actually meaning non-dwarf conifers, like 80m tall, 4m diameter Picea sitchensis, with some maples in the understorey . . . :-)
     
  7. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Under some of our Japanese maples we grow a variety of dwarf rhododendrons, some shade tolerant dwarf conifers, and perennials like Hellebores, mianthemum (false lily of the valley- pretty aggressive...) evergreen ferns (polysticum) and trilliums. We also have one large Maple, Inazuma, which is underplanted with Cornus canadensis and erythroniums, which bloom just as the maple is leafing out.
     
  8. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Silver Creek,
    What dwarf conifers have you tried successfully?

    Regards,
    Gomero
     
  9. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Gomero,
    The list is long, but where there is dappled light or half day sun, we have found the dwarf hemlocks work well; also if it is not too shady, dwarf balsam fir and some of the white variegated cedars are good. In deep shade, some of the taxus cultivars should work, though I haven't tried them. Here are a few pics from a conifer talk I did-
     

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  10. Dale B.

    Dale B. Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Take a look at hollies for use in areas with shade. I like using evergreens as a back drop for maples and am using hollies in areas that have too much shade for most of the conifers. An advantage is that they add color from the berries after the maple leaves are gone.

    Dale
     
  11. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Japanese hollies work well, but many of the English hollies are now considered pests here in the Pacific Northwest as the birds spread their seed into the lowland forests. In shadier areas of our garden we use evergreen ferns and dwarf and semi-dwarf rhododendrons; we especially like rhodies with silvery new growth like 'Golfer'. I have to admit that many of the shadier areas under our maples are reserved for trilliums and erythroniums.
     

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  12. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    This is not the best quality photo taken on
    November 29, 2005 but it serves to show
    what not to do and what can be done with
    a few Maples being the primary landscape
    plants along with some companion plants.

    I used several Maples to be accent plants in
    this setting with the 'Sherwood Flame' being
    the focal point. The 'Kocho nishiki', aka
    the 'Oregon Butterfly' I referenced in the
    'Butterfly' thread in the Maple photo gallery,
    is only seen as green trunks but it does have
    enough room for it planted against the North
    wall. My mistake was working in the Pink
    Dogwood that had to grow up taller than it
    and I wanted it to for it to get ample light.
    It gets chewed up in the Summer but it "sets
    flower buds like it is going out of style".
    Along the West wall is a 'Shibori Egao'
    Camellia flanked by a 'Polo', 'Chojuho', '
    Kinpai' and 'Kimi no hana' Azaleas. Not
    pictured along the West wall is a 'Double
    Rainbow' Camellia. To the center right next
    to the 'Jiro shidare' Maple is a Nandina
    filamentosa (Nandina domestica 'Filamentosa')
    and next to the Nandina is one of two
    clumps of Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon
    planiscapus 'Arabicus'
    ).

    The 'Storm Cloud' and the 'Ella Mae' Agapanthus
    along the North wall next to the 'Otto's Dissectum'
    are not shown in the photo. The Gardenia is the
    'Kleim's Hardy' and there are two of them in this
    setting, only one is visible and a volunteer Privet
    that will be coming out of the ground soon.

    For this setting morning light is ample for these
    plants. The only harm done other than to the
    Dogwood is the lack of morning light for the
    'Ornatum' which can show what happens to this
    red dissectum in the Fall color when it gets too
    shaded.

    What not to do is real simple, this setting is
    planted too heavy, way too cluttered but the
    Maples for the most part are doing what I
    wanted from them.

    Jim
     

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  13. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Jim,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. When a setting gets cluttered, which inevitably happens to me all the time, I simply move some of the plants to another location or I make friends happy.

    Silver Creek, great pictures!. I really like your erythroniums. Is your Cedrus deodara 'Silver mist' in shade?

    I fully agree that hollies are definitely an option in deep shade, I am already using them. Another plants I like in shady spots under acers are the helleborus and skimmias.
    I find the variegated cultivars tough to combine, my preference in this case is for only green plants with off season interest, like for example the skimmias, hollies and, of course, ferns.

    Regards,
    Gomero
     
  14. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Gomero- the photo I posted of Cedrus deodara 'Silver Mist' is a plant that is in part shade, perhaps 4-5 hours in summer but less in winter. We have a younger plant of Cedrus deodara 'White Imp' and one of 'Snow Sprite' in deeper shade (still gets some direct sun-2-3 hours in summer), but had to move a 'Snow Sprite' from a no sun site as it began to get open and lose needles. We do have an old Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Nestoides' and several Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Minima' in a site that gets no direct sun ever and it does quite well. I also like Pachystima mersinites as a small evergreen in deep shade.
     
  15. kaydye

    kaydye Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I really like using dwarf hemlocks with maples, but I sure can't find a source for anything but the most common ones. Anyone have any sources they use for hemlocks?
     
  16. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hello kaydye, I'd prefer that discussions about sourcing plants take place in the Sourcing Plants forum - you can start a new discussion there and then post a link to it from this thread, if you like.
     
  17. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Gomero, Interesting, do you have to water the hydrangeas much or use a heavy mulch? The maple leaves need to be removed from dwarf conifers or they suffer. The dwarf maples and dwarf conifers seem best suited for companion planting here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2007
  18. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    In my climate in summertime I have to water all my plants and not only hydrangeas. And yes the whole garden is heavily mulched to save water and improve the (heavy clay) soil.

    Since you pulled up this interesting thread, I'd like to share a bold combination: A. palmatum 'Yezo Nishiki' and Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus'. The picture was taken today at 20:30 with the setting sun behind.

    Gomero
     

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  19. gin-ger

    gin-ger Active Member

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    Gomero,
    Beautiful combination...especially with the backlighting.
    I am currently in love with the Hakonachloa sp. It's a lovely, wispy small (one foot) grass for shady areas and is available in variegated green with white, variegated green with yellow and a fantastic solid chartreuse which is a knockout planted under red varieties. Some of the Carex are nice too...'Island Brocade' or maybe 'Sparkler' with the larger leafed cultivars. I also like the Ligularias which provide a magnificent bold contrast to the finer maples.
    Ginger
     
  20. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Eom
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2007
  21. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Very nice pic and very nice maple. Like the leaf and stem colours and habit, will keep that one in mind and hope to see it available in the nurseries here sometime. Generally high rainfall area here, so no watering is done once the plants are established, some mulching. Like the combination idea of hydrangeas and maples, will try a few to experiment.. Have been growing the hydrangeas in the wetter areas here. Some interesting new introductions, to us, of hydrangeas originating in France and Japan are becoming available here recently. Have seen patches of the little hardy, fall, winter, and spring blooming cyclamen growing well under small leaved upright Japanese maples. Seemed to work well with the cyclamen not minding root competition, being summer dormant, receiving a mulch from the falling maple leaves and subsequently more moisture when coming out of dormancy to grow in the cooler temperatures. One combination of a clematis, a young 'Polish Spirit', growing over a 7' A. p. 'Ukigumo' comes to mind. Actually a C.viticella type growing over a Hydrangea paniculata 'Brussels Lace' looked alright, too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2007

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