The Q&A Archives: Subbestions for shrubs

Question: I just planted a Japanese maple and am looking for a shrub to plant behind it, against my house. The Japanese maple is red leaved (Bloodgood) so I would like something that would complement the red leaves and create a pleansant background. It's a large planting area that includes some hydrangeas. I thought about a pieris (sp??) but wasn't sure about their shape. Also do you have some suggestions for low growing shrubs and perennials in front of the maple? (coral bells? bleeding hearts?)

Cathy Rice

Answer: Pieris has lovely leaf color but may get too tall and wide - it can reach 6' in all directions without pruning. You might also consider Nandina (heavenly bamboo). This plant is tall and narrow but has attractive leaves. They start out with a reddish tint, turn deep green, then a bronzy red in the fall. It's an evergreen that provides all season interest. Both coral bells and bleeding heart are nice perennials. Bleeding heart grows in the spring and flowers, then the foliage dies down until the following spring. I'd vote for the coral bells. They remain all year around and the flowers are quite attractive. Enjoy your garden!

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