Plant Combination for Part Sun with Red Highlights

The over-arching theme of this plant combination is the lively relationship of burgundy and yellow foliage, tempered by the calming influence of green. Starkly contrasting foliage colors can be a bit jarring, so coupling that with a hearty dose of cooling green is a good idea.

The Aphrodite sweetshrub is the largest plant in this grouping, with the exception of the tree, so its big, green leaves have a major impact. They serve as textural contrast to the fine textures and act as a neutral green backdrop. Coupled with masses of lacy fern foliage on the ground plane, together they provide ample green to counterbalance the jaunty, though sometimes jarring, burgundy/yellow color scheme.

The smallest plant of this combo is the glue that bind it together. Heuchera ‘Red Lightning’ binds the red leaf Japanese maple to the finely textured, yellow foliage of Lonicera ‘Twiggy’ and the red flowers of Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’.

In terms of how many of each to use, you’ll want to plant multiples of the heuchera and fern. For most layouts, using one golden mop cypress will be the way to go. It would be best situated in front and/or to the side of the Calycanthus as it is shorter. Due to their size, for most vignettes you’d use one each of the Japanese maple and Aphrodite sweetshrub.

Of course, for larger beds you can consider these very general guidelines as ratios and add more plants: For example: one tree (Japanese maple), one large shrub (Aphrodite sweetshrub), one medium, low shrub (golden mop cypress), 3-7 ferns, and 7-12 heuchera.

This combination would work well with most any red-leaf Japanese maple of comparable size and shape as Acer palmatum 'Oshio Beni'.


Growing Conditions

Zone: 6, 7, 8

Exposure: Filtered Sun, Morning Sun, Part Shade

Water Needs: Average, Regular / Even

Design Considerations

Style: Northwest Eclectic, Woodland
Features: Fabulous Foliage, Hot Vibrant Colors, Low Maintenance, Varied Foliage, Texture, and Form, Warm Colors, Zippy Color Contrasts
Focus: Color Theme, Mixed Border
Seasons of Interest: Fall, Pleasing Seasonal Changes, Spring, Summer, Three Seasons of Interest

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Level: low

Plants In this Combo