5 Bulbs for your Japanese garden


Summer is in full swing, we only want to sit somewhere doing nothing, but the garden is calling already.

It’s time for planting bulbs!

Today I would like to introduce what kind of bulbs or rhizome-building plants are going well with a Japanese garden.

Some people think that flowers don’t belong in a Japanese garden but that’s not true. The early gardens like the huge viewing gardens of the Heian period were actually flower gardens but even in dry landscape gardens flowers are used as accents. The best example is the Rozan-ji temple in Kyoto where balloon flowers giving a colorful touch to the garden.

Rozanji 廬山寺(11)
Copyright: ©2011, Christian Kaden Licence: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 ID: IMG_1007 on flickr

But also other flowers, and especially bulbs, can add to every Japanese garden.

Here I am giving you some examples:

Erythronium japonicum 2006 005.jpg
By Kropsoq – photo taken by Kropsoq, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Asian Fawn Lily
Erythronium japonicum
Planting: Sep. – Nov.
Flowering: Apr. – May
Colors: Yellow, purple
Height: ~ 20cm
Partial Shade – Shade
Not hardy in every region

Plant them at borders and under bushes.




By SalicynaOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Fox Tail Lily
Eremurus ssp.
Planting: Oct. – Mar.
Flowering: May – Jun.
Colors: Yellow
Height: ~ 3 m
Very hardy

Plant them to bring some color-highlights into the back of your garden.



Iris germanica (Purple bearded Iris), Wakehurst Place, UK - Diliff.jpg
By DiliffOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Iris family
Planting: Sep. – Nov.
Flowering: Apr. – June
Colors: Yellow, purple, white
Height: ~ 50cm
Hardiness depends on variety and region.

Plant them near ponds to highlight it in early summer.



By Blue LotusFlickr, CC BY 2.0, Link

Spider Lily
Lycoris radiata
Planting: Jul. – Sep.
Flowering: Oct. – Dec.
Colors: Red, (yellow, white)
Height: ~ 40cm
Sun – Partial shade
Not very hardy in cold regions.

Lycoris is looking great under trees, near ponds, and at the border of lawn areas.



Narcissus tazetta var chinensis1.jpg
By KENPEI – KENPEI’s photo, CC 表示-継承 3.0, Link

Planting: Sep. – Nov.
Flowering: Mar. – Apr.
Colors: Yellow, white
Height: ~ 40cm
Sun – Partial shade

Daffodils are very popular in Japanese gardens along borders.




I hope I was able to give you some ideas on how and which bulbs can be used in Japanese gardens.

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Related Content:

The Edible Japanese Garden

The most popular plants in Japanese private gardens

Some tips for creating a real Japanese garden at your home


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