Suitable companion plants in a south facing border alongside Japanese Maples

superdanrsuperdanr Posts: 3
Good morning all,  I have a south facing border which houses 2 x semi-mature Malus Rudolph and a small number of Japanese maples under 3ft.  The border is bare apart from the trees and I am looking to introduce some low lying colour without overpowering the maples.  I am in the north west of England, well drained neutral soil.  Many thanks. 
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  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 2,000
    What colour are the maples please?  
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 22,858
    How well are the Acers doing? South facing is tricky for them, unless they have a bit of shelter from the sun. I'm assuming from your location that they don't dry out anyway  ;) 
    If they're thriving, you could try plenty of spring bulbs - they will always work well,and there's a huge variety to choose from in heights and colour etc, from snowdrops,crocus and species tulips [they'll do very well in that aspect] to mini daffs, narcissus etc. I have Pulsatillas [pasqueflowers] which are spring  flowering, and would complement Acers. They'll be happy enough in that aspect, and have beautiful seedheads.

    For more permanent planting, you may need to experiment a little, but Heucheras would be fine if they have enough moisture, and there are plenty of foliage shades. Not too big, so they wouldn't detract from the Acer foliage either. Some of the grasses would also be good, and you can find ones to contrast or co ordinate, depending on your style. Hackenochloa for example, is a great grass for contrast, without being too blousy, big and showy.
    Oh the devil in me said, go down to the shed
    I know where I belong

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 14,800
    I agree.  You need failry short spring bulbs that will flower before the acers start to put on their foliage so snowrops, crocuses, dwarf narcissi such as Minnow, Tête-à-Tête and Hawera but it may be a bit late to find those varieties now so note for next year.   Botanical tulips are short and tend to flower earlier than th ebig blousy jobs and will do well under the acers.

    For later in the season, hardy geraniums come in a variety of leaf forms, textures, heights and colours; geums are good for the warmer spectrum colours.   You could also try host Gold Edger which has low, golden green foliage which does well in full sun of the soil is moist.   Another plant to consider is persicaria Darjeeling Red which will provide foliage and flower colour most of th eyear with just a short tatty spell in the depths of winter.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • superdanrsuperdanr Posts: 3
    Many thanks for the replies.  I did wonder whether bulbs were the initial solution and to build around their form.  I will look up the recommended plants and go from there.  Thank you all.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 19,045
    Bulbs followed by lots of Hostas.
    And before anyone says Hostas don't like to face South: all of mine face South.
    Devon.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 6,274
    As long s you keep them moist, I would agree with @Hostafan1.
    They would look very nice with the Acers.
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  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 19,045
    punkdoc said:
    As long s you keep them moist, I would agree with @Hostafan1.
    They would look very nice with the Acers.
    Indeed so, so long as they have moisture at the roots: so great in heavier soils, not so great in sandier soils, unless you're able to keep them watered.
    Devon.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 14,800
    Already mentioned Hosta!   If the soil is moist enough to stop a Japanese maple going crispy it's moist enough for hostas too.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 22,858
    Yes - hostas are a good contrast with the foliage too, without stealing the limelight from the Acers  ;)
    Like many plants regarded as shade lovers, they take a fair bit of sun if they have damp ankles. 
    Oh the devil in me said, go down to the shed
    I know where I belong

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 1,582
    As @Fairygirl said the Hackenochloa grass would be technically the "right" one to use with Acers. 
    AB Still learning
    "As the days grow longer the cold grows stronger"
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