Acer and bleeding heart container display

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

20 minutes

At its best:

Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Acers don't like to be baked by the sun so this container display is perfect for a sheltered spot. This particular Japanese maple has beautiful bright green leaves which turn a rich orange in autumn, but it's just one of a fantastic range of leaf colours and shapes available. The bleeding heart adds height and a splash of white against the green foliage, while the tiarella and ivy plants offer ground cover at the base.

You will need

  • Acer palmatum 'Katsura'
  • Tiarella 'Iron Butterfly'
  • Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba'
  • Ivy plants x4
  • Rectangular container or old Belfast sink
  • Crocks
  • Loam-based compost


This container is heavy, so pop it in its final position before planting it up. Choose a shady, sheltered spot away from drying winds. Add crocks to the base.

Fill the container two-thirds with loam-based compost. Add slow-release fertiliser granules if you want to, and mix into the compost.

Place the acer at the lefthand side of the container, towards the back. plant it at the same depth it was growing in its original pot. Firm in well.

Plant the bleeding heart at the righthand side of the container, towards the back. Then plant the tiarella in front of it. Position the ivy plants so the spill over the sides of the container. Add more compost and firm plants in well.

Water the plants thoroughly and allow to drain. Top up with more compost if necessary.


Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith says...

This is a long-term display, so keep it in great shape with regular feeding. Liquid seaweed fertiliser as a great, all-round organic feed – just dilute it in water and apply once a week for the best results.

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