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What to plant with an acer

(11 Posts)
ArseyTussle Fri 24-Feb-17 10:20:13

I have a lovely Acer Palmatum Orange Dream that I'm going to plant in a bed that is approx 1.5m square.

I'm not sure whether to put anything underneath it, or just do bark chips as it's in a specimen tree location.

Crocus recommend Japanese Spurge or Cranesbill, but I'm being all dithery and indecisive. In a bed that small would you just go for one type and dot them around?

I also like festuca.

shovetheholly Fri 24-Feb-17 11:35:03

Someone asked this question really recently, and I remembered how much I love the combination of acers and erythroniums in spring! (I like them with spring bulbs and ferns).

ArseyTussle Fri 24-Feb-17 11:53:12

Gosh, those are LOVELY. The flower bed is west facing, so has sun from about 2pm to end of day. Would that be too sunny for those?

shovetheholly Fri 24-Feb-17 12:08:47

They are spring plants, so they appear now(ish), grow leaves, flower and then vanish by late May! So they should be out of the way by the time the summer sun is high in the sky. However, they do like the soil to be moist, so if that dries out during their dormant season, it will be a risk. (If you have patches that are under a canopy of some kind, they might make it). What's your soil like?

ArseyTussle Fri 24-Feb-17 13:27:32

The soil there is ok, plus I can keep it watered easily enough. Just seen they're only available to buy as bulbs, which I can't get til next year, grr. Any suggestions for anything else while I wait?

shovetheholly Fri 24-Feb-17 13:32:04

Maybe give one a go and see how it gets on? You can sometimes buy them from garden centres in leaf.

I'm trying to think of other ideas for acers in a sunnier spot! My garden is very shaded so all my usual suspects - ferns, hostas, etc are out! Heucheras might be a possibility. Oh, and there is a grass called Hakonechloa which comes in a lovely variegated version that might look nice and give you a contrasting texture.

ArseyTussle Fri 24-Feb-17 13:43:43

That grass is amazing! I think it might end up too big for the border though, although I could see it would look fabulous in a large collection of acer types.

AstrantiaMajor Fri 24-Feb-17 14:37:40

I would go for bark and some very small prostrate conifers. I think that a lot of the beauty of Acers is the shape as well as the colour. Too much underplanting might detract from that. Alternatively Hebe clipped very short or miniature euonymus clipped short would work,

traviata Fri 24-Feb-17 15:05:30

What about a prostrate veronica? I have one with red-edged leaves and deep blue flowers, it is mostly evergreen down here in the South and is very happy in a partially shaded clay soil.

ArseyTussle Fri 24-Feb-17 15:15:41

Yes Astrantia, I'm with you on that. And I fell in love with this one in the garden centre because of its beautiful shape. Fingers crossed it survives our rather windy coastal location, I'm trying not to even think about that, but I do have a much smaller acer that's still alive.

Will look those up.

NanTheWiser Fri 24-Feb-17 15:17:46

For spring flowers you could underplant with Cyclamen coum. This will die down in summer, or Cyclamen hederifolium (which is autumn flowering). Also for spring, Winter aconite, snowdrops, and Anemone blanda, these too, will die down before summer. I have all these in a shady border, and are a real joy ATM.

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