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Japanese Maples Offer Garden Enchantment

Japanese Maples Offer Garden Enchantment

Japanese Maples, Acer palmatum and its many cultivars, create exquisite focal points in the garden. With delicately divided foliage in seasonal hues that range from chartreuse to fiery orange, they’re ideal for adding texture and color to garden nooks and containers that crave an artistic touch.

Japanese Maple in Fall
Japanese maples provide a stunning array of glowing seasonal hues.

Their growth habit varies widely among different varieties, from upright to cascading or ‘Waterfall’ types. Upright varieties have a naturally sculptural, planar growth form that results in delicately layered canopies of foliage over time. Cascading varieties slowly produce a bonsai-like form that suggests an aged, weeping tree, making them excellent specimen plants for a large container.

Japanese maple pots
These ‘Crimson Queen’ Japanese Maples offer artistic interest to these containers.

Cultivars such as ‘Bloodgood’ have become landscape staples and are quite sun-tolerant. Most varieties, however, will be happiest in an understory setting (adjacent to larger trees or structures that will provide sun protection). Dappled or filtered sunlight is ideal, and direct sunlight during early morning hours is fine as long as they’re shaded from hot afternoon rays.

Japanese maple understory
Woodland, understory settings with dappled light are ideal for many Japanese Maples.

While the leaves are typically five-lobed (hence the Latin epithet¬†‘palmatum’, as in hand) they can vary widely across cultivars. From delicately lacy and thinly divided (as in Acer p. ‘Dissectum’) to broader-lobed types such as ‘Bloodgood’, there are many variations in form as well as color.

As fairly slow-growing specimen trees, Japanese Maples can be a significant investment. Sizes of 20-30 gallons or so can retail as high as $799.99 depending on the rarity of the cultivar, but are long-lived and provide color and interest through the seasons. They’re so long-lived, in fact, that their natural form and interest make them ideal candidates for growing as bonsai trees, as seen here:

Jap maple bonsai
Acer palmatum ‘Deshojo’ makes a stunning bonsai specimen.

Visit soon to choose your favorites from our fall collection! We bring in orders of Japanese Maples twice yearly in spring and fall. They arrive in a variety of sizes from 6″ starts to 30 gallon and offer many forms and colors.

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