Forum home Plants

Under Red Acer

Hi, thanks in advance. I am a complete learner and have a large red acer in a semi-circular bed out the front. The front is North-West ish facing and gets the sun in the afternoon onwards. Currently under the tree is a mass of a few years leaves, ivy and bindweed. Ive started to clear all that out but I need to fill the space (a good couple of metres diameter). ive done some reading and it seems the best bet are perennials which would have almost finished flowering now but no ideas of best ones. Would I still be able to get those now or is it best to put some bedding plants in for the summer and then have a rethink in the autumn? 


  • Shrubs, look at sarcococca confusa for some evergreen in winter and scented flowers. Perennials - helleborus x hybridus cultivars, or helleborus niger, pulmonaria ';Blue Ensign', then some hostas for summer foliage under the tree, perhaps Hosta 'Halcyon'.  Keep it simple, groups of plants for effect, otherwise the acer won't take the starring role, which it deserves.


  • Acers love the sun, IF they're sheltered from drying winds. North west facing is ideal, warmest and softest winds are from the west. My grower has his acers under glass, 85 degrees plus, they're biscuit dry and in perfect condition, because there's no breeze, just hot conditions and just enough water. Where they suffer is when winds cause them to transpire at a faster rate than the roots can replace water and that's when the leaves crisp at the tips. The lovely thing about this example is that the acer can be underplanted with complementary shrubs and evergreens, enhancing the tree and its position.


  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Posts: 3,845

    I have bergenia under mine and hellebores 

    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • Thanks for the suggestions! I will have a look at those. I think it's been where it is for at least 20 years as is my best plant by far so it definitely suits its location! Trying to absorb all the knowledge!!

  • Can't do the Helleborus due to 3 kids although it looks beautiful 

Sign In or Register to comment.