A dwarf, shrubby tree with small, rounded star-shaped leaves. New growth is pinkish red with … Continued
browsing plants: Japanese maples
Japanese maples have been cultivated in Japan for centuries and in temperate areas around the world since the 1800s. They provide a striking focal point. Whether planting in a garden bed or large container there are hundreds of Japanese maple varieties that come in various sizes with a large assortment of leaf shapes and colors that range from shades of green to orange, red, purple, and variegated.
Japanese maples are understory trees hardy in zones 5-8. High temperature effects leaf color, causing many purple or red-leaved varieties to turn green in summer.
Providing the right amount of light is a balancing act. Too much sun can damage delicate leaves, but too little and some of the more colorful varieties will take on a greenish tone — still nice, but not the brilliant reds and purples that are ideal in some cultivars. For best color, most maples need a location with part sun preferably in the cooler morning hours.
Most Japanese maples grow at a slow to moderate rate of 1 to 2 feet per year. They typically grow fastest when they are young and slow down as they reach maturity. Planting in the right location and providing good care will encourage growth. If you want an established look right from the start, plant an older, larger maple rather than a young one that may take years to mature.
Many small varieties work well in containers. Japanese maples “self stunt,” meaning their top growth will decrease when their roots are confined. When planting in a container, it’s a good idea to use small to medium varieties or dwarf forms.
Water well at planting and regularly going forward. Although they can endure periodic dry spells once established, avoid extremes by watering regularly during drought. Maples need mulch to protect their roots from heat and cold, and to hold moisture in place — especially those in containers. Keep mulch away from the trunk.
Low-nitrogen fertilizer is great for spring feeding (N-15 or lower), but should not be applied after May to maximize fall color and winterizing. It’s best to fertilize Japanese maples beginning in their second growing season.
Container trees should be fed more often, and heeled into a thick mulch in a protected area each winter. It is best to root prune trees in containers every few years.
Japanese maples offer plenty of diversity, and we offer a selection of our favorites.
A vigorous, upright habit with blackish-red new stems and large deeply cut red leaves that … Continued
This threadleaf Japanese maple has finely cut foliage and cascading habit. Dark magent-purple color is … Continued
This laceleaf maple sports rich maroon foliage with a cascading habit that is a bit … Continued
‘Sango kaku’ is best known for its magnificent coral-pink bark in the winter. An upright … Continued
Small, bright green leaves curl tightly against branches. Densely packed leaves create a striking appearance … Continued
New growth on this compact Japanese maple emerges a lovely bright red. As the foliage … Continued
A rich red-purple weeping laceleaf that holds its color well through summer. Leaves emerge slightly … Continued
Five-lobed, medium green leaves with red petioles and veins turn bright red in the fall. … Continued
Spring foliage emerges an unusual pink orange color with an underlying shade of chartruese green. … Continued