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I have a corner hosta bed, I like how it's shaping up, but I need something with some height. I experimented with papyrus and I liked it, but it's not hardy in Michigan.
I want something to plant in the very corner behind the hostas. I thought about a Japanese Maple, I've heard they can tolerate the shade and I think the contrasting color would look nice. It's against a stone wall. My house is stone and yellow-painted wooden siding, but the siding is going to be a dark slate blue (hopefully next summer). Part of my concern is that it's close to the house and I don't know if that's such a good idea.
If the JM wouldn't work, is there another suggestion?
The Japanese maple will be fine if you bring it out away from the house enough... pay attention to how much it will fill out. If you need something that will be closer to the house I can very strongly recommend a Dragon Lady Holly. They have rich, dark, shiny leaves and will get berries. It has a nice verticle growth that is perfect for a corner. Ours is quite beautiful and heathy.
I have the same grey color on my house (but it is Hardiplank siding) - your stone is beautiful. I have found that the purples do great against the color, so I agree that the japanese maple would look gorgeous if it is in that hue. I have also planted lorapetulums along the north and the east side and they look great. "Donnabasket" on GardenWeb describes her's this way: "In the spring, new growth is a very deep red-violet to nearly black, depending on the variety you grow. In the summer, the purple fades and the leaves are a gorgeous blue green. In the fall, it has many red orange leaves scattered throughout the bush, which just makes it blend into the fall riot of foliage color. Then in winter, it rests, but will bloom anytime there is a run of several warm days. In our area, they often bloom twice: once in the spring and again in the fall with masses of color that rival azaleas. I have heard that if they are in an area that is a bit colder than they like, they may de-foliate some. Perhaps that is why yours lost alot of leaves. I have never noticed mine shedding, though nearly all evergreens will lose leaves along the way as they grow "old". Depending again on the variety, they can grow tall enough to be trained into multi-stemmed trees (10 to 12 feet). There are new varieties being introduced this year that are small enough to be used in a hanging basket (Purple Pixie), or that top out at four feet (Purple Diamond). Of the large growers, "Plum Delight" is a personal favorite of mine because it holds its color longer and has almost a silvery sheen to the leaves. I also grow Ruby. It lends itself well to hedging at about 4 feet, though it's leaf color is not as intensely purple as I would have liked." (I hope I haven't violated any copywrite laws here) Anyway, it seems that Lorapetulum has a lot of fans (including me). Here, it has done very well. But, I am in 7B and you should ask a nursery about your zone if you are interested. We have no problems with any pests fungi, bugs or mammals.
I don't think the Loropetalums will survive in zone 6a or 5b, whichever one Michelle is really in, they're only hardy to zone 7 so if she was in 6b maybe they'd work, but much colder than that and it gets risky.
Good Idea - the purple / burgandy smoke bush is very similar to the lorapetelum and will look great against the stone. Personally I am not a fan of it in bloom . By the way, Lorapetelum (var rubrum) lists as zone 6a and I have read posts where folks have grown it successfully.
I think your idea of the acer is really good as you will also get the winter colour change when all your Hostas have gone over, once it gets growing, you can also use it as a support for say a nice Clematis that will give even more colour in the same size of space, so just look carefully at what Acer you select and dont go too close to the house as the roots need space and the wall will be too hot in the summer months which will reflect heat to the top growth as well as the roots. good luck. Weenel.
Do you want simply height? Or something that might "bush" a bit? There are some really nice looking decorative grasses (like one here they're calling "Flax") that get rather tall and are a really nice russet color, with stiff, thin, spike-ish leaves. Pampas grass I think would go the same way as papyrus. Do you want year round color? I have an evergreen bamboo bush, that though it's green in summer, has wonderful red leaves in fall and winter, with clusters of "seeds" that are white, and whitish flowers in spring, summer, and on to early fall. Or perhaps a red twig dogwood bush? They really provide wonderful color interest year round, especially in winter since they lose their leaves (though mine I can see the red twigs through the leaves in spring/summer as well).