10 Most Popular Asian Plants To Spice Up Your Garden

There is rich and diversified plant life in Central and Western Asia, China, Japan, and Korea. The Far East has a lot more to offer than just bamboo and many of the plants are similar to those found in the Eastern United States.

In Asian culture, plants are highly valued and many of them have symbolic meanings. They are used to adorn houses, commercial buildings, and temples. Asian plants are widely used as symbols of life and wealth in Asian art as well.

If you find peace, simplicity, and balance to be appealing, then a garden inspired by Asian culture that embodies these traits is the perfect solution. Below are the 10 indigenous Asian plants to make your garden comes alive, plus tips to bring that Asian garden and Feng Shui vibe to your home.

Top 10 Asian Plants

1. Azaleas (Rhododendron)

Azaleas (Rhododendron)
©kellysikkema / Unsplash

Rhododendron is a big genus of over 1,024 species of plants. They can be deciduous or evergreen. The majority of species are found in eastern Asia and the Himalayan area, but a smaller number may also be found in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Azaleas are prized for their trumpet-shaped spring blooms in hues of pink, yellow, salmon, red, violet, and white by Japanese gardeners who have been cultivating them for decades. They symbolize family and familial responsibility, they may also indicate riches and elegance.

Select a location for your Azalea shrubs that receives some shade, and add organic elements to the soil, such as compost or leaf mold, to raise the acidity. Azaleas prefer consistent moisture, but these plants will perish in winter soil that is too damp.

2. Bamboo

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Bamboo has ingratiated itself into many aspects of Japanese culture as well as other countries in Asia. They represent strength, flexibility, and growth. The combination of these qualities has encouraged us to manufacture high-quality, long-lasting, and incredibly soft items. Anything from chopsticks to fences to homes to fans can be made out of bamboo by Asian craftsmen.

Need more ideas for lining fences? Learn more about Landscape Ideas For Fence Line Perfection

Bamboo is a fast-growing plant compared to other Asian plants and can thrive in a variety of environments. Still, bamboo grows best in strong, direct sunlight. Additionally, bamboo plants prefer rich, mildly acidic, well-drained soil that is damp but not soggy.

Given how large and quickly they grow, having bamboo at home could seem overwhelming. But you can enjoy them at home without worrying about overgrowth since they can be grown in containers! Containers limit the size of plants to the capacity of the container.

There is evidence that doubling a pot size can encourage up to a 40% increase in growth in some plants.

3. Cast Iron plant (Aspidistra Elatior)

©traction / Shutterstock

Aspidistra elatior, commonly referred to as the cast-iron plant or bar-room plant and called Haran or Baran in Japanese, is a species of flowering plant in the Asparagaceae family that is indigenous to Japan and Taiwan.

This plant’s capacity to endure neglect in any circumstance is the reason why it has such a strange name. Aspidistra elatior requires relatively little care and may withstand some neglect. Give it a bright area, away from direct sunlight, and keep the compost barely damp to maintain its finest appearance.

Apart from being a newbie-friendly plant, the Cast Iron plant is great for growing indoors. Have a look at 15 Best Plants For A Windowless Office to get more ideas of how growing plants indoors benefits you!

4. Maples

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Chinese maple is another popular Asian plant. The red Chinese maple is the most well-known variety, with its rust-colored, spike-like leaves. This tree gives the landscape a gentle look and has the potential to reach heights of 30 to 40 feet in full bloom. Therefore, when selecting a site for your new maple, consider space and put it in a spot with a lot of sunlight.

The Chinese maple is tolerant of several soil types, however, it dislikes highly acidic or extremely alkaline soils. In contrast to the Chinese maple, the Japanese maple can only thrive in acidic soil.

The Japanese maple grows in a dome form and is only similar to the Chinese maple in color. It only reaches heights of 15 to 25 feet. When choosing a location for your Maple tree, consider using a large planter. When in a lightweight fiberglass planter, you are able to arrange your trees easily and move them to the best locations in your garden depending on the season or your aesthetic fancy.

Not sure how to prepare your planters? check this out: Preparing Your Planters: Care, Drainage, and Irrigation

5. Jasmine (Jasminum)

Jasmine (Jasminum)
©sweepea / Unsplash

More than 200 species of flowering plants that belong to Jasminum are found all over the world. Everyone enjoys the wonderful scent of these blooms. Depending on the species, this plant can be either deciduous or evergreen and appear in a variety of forms. The blossoms, which are typically white or yellow, occasionally take on a faint crimson hue.

Women in certain nations, including India, wear these flowers in their hair. Additionally, it is widely used in different products, including perfume, jasmine oil, syrup, and tea (jasmine tea in China). Having this plant blossom in your garden adds wonderfully sweet and fragrant aromas creating a sensory richness whilst gardening.

A common landscaping technique with Jasmine is to plant it in a rectangular planter placed against a wall or fence to allow the Jasmine to creep and trail upwards and cover the surface.

6. Rubber plant (Ficus elastic)

Rubber plant (Ficus elastic)
©Eric Fiori / Unsplash

Ficus elastica is an evergreen tropical tree species that is indigenous to southern China, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia. It makes a wonderful houseplant since it can withstand interior lighting conditions, and NASA has even acknowledged its ability to filter the air.

A minimum of six to eight hours of light each day are required for the rubber tree. Although this can occasionally be lower light, it is ideal to provide this species with medium to bright light, preferably bright indirect.

Because of its milky secretion, this plant is not recommended as a houseplant for homes with animals. If swallowed, it is lethal to people, dogs, cats, and other animals.

Learn more about 10 Tips for Rubber Plant Care: Make Your Rubber Plant Thrive!

7. Water Lily (Nymphaea nouchali)

Water Lily (Nymphaea nouchali)
©lamianna / Unsplash

A member of the genus Nymphaea, Nymphaea nouchali is often referred to as blue lotus, star lotus, red water lily, dwarf aquarium lily, blue water lily, blue star water lily, or manel flower. Water lilies are native to southern and eastern Asia, and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh both claim them as their national flower.

Water lilies are unquestionably the most attractive aquatic plants and should be included in any sunny water garden. However, they are not limited to ponds. They are also suitable for innovative gardeners with tiny gardens and sunny courtyards, since they may be grown successfully in water-filled containers, or water features.

Water lilies are quite easy to cultivate. They only require full light, decent soil, and at least 30 cm of steady water. The plants require full sun to develop aggressively and produce blossoms, as well as for the flowers to open during the day.

Looking for sunlight-tolerant houseplants? check this article out House Plants That Like Direct Sunlight: 10 Sun-Loving Beauties

8. Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera, Nelumbo lutea)

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera, Nelumbo lutea)
©cloudveilczjx / Unsplash

The flower represents purity and has a significant meaning in Asia. Vietnam and India both have the lotus as their national flower. Since it is a bloom from an aquatic plant, it may be viewed floating in the water. It is cultivated in a lake or pond’s dry lakebed. In certain instances, the large leaves can also emerge from the water in addition to floating on the water like the flower and leaves.

There should be no confusion between the lotus and the water lily because they are very distinct in terms of things like leaves and stems. In addition to the blooms, edible parts include the seeds, leaves, and roots or rhizomes. While cooking is recommended to prevent any problems, it may be consumed raw.

9. Iris

©kevinkstel / Unsplash

Iris is a family of roughly 300 plant species that includes some of the most well-known and diverse garden flowers in the world. Although some of the genus’ most attractive species are native to the Mediterranean and central Asian countries, the diversity of the genus is concentrated in the north temperate zone.

The Japanese iris is one of the most treasured flowers in Asia. In Japan, the Japanese iris is referred to as Hanashobu. Planting these Asian flowers in a wet, full-sun area with acidic soil will yield the finest results.

These Iris are a fantastic edging plant if your garden has a water feature to catch wet wind sprays. These Asian flowers are heavy feeders and will benefit from two feedings a year, one in the early spring and the other just before the Japanese iris blooms. Give it a fertilizer that is balanced with equal amounts of phosphate, nitrogen, and potassium. The majority of Japanese iris blossoms feature a red and violet color combination.

10. Hydrangea

©josefin / Unsplash

Asia and the Americas are home to more than 75 species of flowering plants of the genus Hydrangea, also known by the common names Hydrangea or Hortensia. Eastern Asia, particularly China, Korea, and Japan, has by far the highest species diversity.

In Japan, hydrangeas are widely used as decorative plants, particularly the Macrophylla varieties that change color according to the acidity of the soil from pink to blue. In regions where there is regular rainfall and mild summers, hydrangeas are at their most luxuriant. Try the Paniculata kinds, which are more tolerant to severe conditions than the huge leaf forms, if your location has hot summers and dry spells. To protect your plants from the elements, experts recommend using fiberglass planters!

Or, learn to keep your plants moist with self-watering pots and how to do it yourself.

Asian Plants In Feng Shui

Snake plant in rectangular planter
©Jay Scotts / Snake plant in our rectangular planter

In Feng shui, there are many Asian plants that are believed to indicate prosperity, pleasure, and riches. See our article on The Best Feng Shui Plants to learn how to select, care for, and arrange lucky plants!

Tips To Add A Sense Of An Asian Garden Into Your Home

Careful selection and arrangement of natural features like stone, water, and vegetation give Asian-style gardens their regal beauty and serene atmosphere. Color, which often consists of basic, deep greens and browns, is less important in design than textural contrasts. To improve the flow of energy across the landscape, lavish vegetation is stacked.

Read more about How To Use Plants With Texture In Garden And Interior Design

Color optimization

Asian gardens require some discipline when it comes to adding color. To avoid obscuring the garden’s simplicity, color is employed sparingly. Color may be added through leaves, which is frequently present in accent plants like Japanese maple. The color of the foliage can also highlight the focal point. The majority of the time, flower color is transient, with seasonal bursts from peonies, Azaleas, or Rhododendrons.


Asian gardens are mostly recognized for their desire for a more natural appearance and their general simplicity in design. While the magnificence of an English-style garden may be found in the vivid colors of its flowers, the lushness of its trees, the excellence of its lawns, etc, an Asian garden discovers a sublime beauty in the seemingly commonplace: water, stone, natural greens, and life.

So always keep things simple, whether you do it through Japanese minimalism or Chinese “planned nature,” if you want to create a more effective Asian ambiance in your garden space.

FAQs About Asian Plants

What plants do you put in a Zen garden?

Your Zen garden needs elements of minerals (stones, rocks, gravel), as well as vegetation. Low-growing, blooming plants are what you should grow in pots for your Zen garden. To keep them nice and orderly, you may also utilize taller grasses and bushes in pots.

For Zen garden ideas, herbs like thyme, lavender, and others that have a dual or even triple role are particularly excellent choices. These are the 3 most popular plants to plant in your Zen garden:

  • Lantana: this plant is an excellent choice for a Zen garden because, in addition to adding color, its brilliant purple and yellow blossoms will draw butterflies to even the smallest Zen garden.
  • Japanese boxwood: This evergreen may be used to create hedges or even a small barrier, and it will offer a lovely, dark green backdrop for your landscape. To effectively isolate your zen garden from the rest of the landscape, consider employing a long, rectangular planter for container planting.
  • The Japanese sedge: this is the ideal plant for your backyard Zen garden if it has a water feature or pond with live plants.

Learn more about The Best Zen Plants & Zen Planter Ideas For Inner Peace!

What is the flower of Asia?

The lotus is a significant emblem for several Asian nations including China, Japan, Vietnam, and South Korea. Specifically, in Japan, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech, and mind. These exquisite blossoms are revered as holy and sacred flowers.

Put The Finishing Touch On Your Garden With Planters Etcetera

Using an aesthetic planter that complements the beauty of your plant is a no-brainer for your Asian-style garden, and we have just that!

With over 70 models available in various colors, shapes, and sizes, Planters Etcetera provides the best planters to complement the beauty of your house.

Our plant pots look great in both indoor and outdoor settings and can withstand extreme temperatures since they are constructed of the strongest fiberglass materials available.

All of our planters come with an industry-leading guarantee, underlining the dedication and value of our fiberglass planters.

If you’re looking for gorgeous pots for these exquisite Asian plants, simply visit our online store and save 10% on your first purchase!

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