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Japanese Maples: 5 Favorite Trees to Grow

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Japanese Maples: 5 Favorite Trees to Grow

September 5, 2019

Japanese maples are equally as enchanting with or without their leaves and may be the perfect ornamental tree to grow.

The hardest part of putting a Japanese maple (its Latin name is Acer palmatum) into your garden is choosing among the hundreds of varieties. Available in a range of sizes from diminutive (suitable for balcony pots) to grand (for a dramatic focal point in a larger landscape, Japanese maples fall into two general categories: upright growers and weeping or cascading varieties.

Another consideration is leaf color, most commonly available in shades of green or red which change like mood rings between seasons, often to amazing golds, flaming reds. and bright oranges.

Here are five of our favorites:

Japanese maples, with their red leaves, play out a colorful drama in autumn. A small to medium shrub, it grows from 3 to 5 feet in ten years. Photograph by Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia. The Acer Palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’ is a favorite for its lacy leaves and deep red color; a 2- to 3-foot-high tree is $72.35 from The Tree Center Plant Supply Co.
Above: Japanese maples, with their red leaves, play out a colorful drama in autumn. A small to medium shrub, it grows from 3 to 5 feet in ten years. Photograph by Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia. The Acer Palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’ is a favorite for its lacy leaves and deep red color; a 2- to 3-foot-high tree is $72.35 from The Tree Center Plant Supply Co.
Japanese maples have many dwarf varieties with rounded forms, including Acer Palmatum ‘Murasaki Kiyohime’ with light green leaves with red margins in spring. They turn green in summer and gold in fall; a 12- to 18-inch-high tree is $45.99 from Conifer Kingdom. Photograph via Gardener Direct, where the tree is available seasonally.
Above: Japanese maples have many dwarf varieties with rounded forms, including Acer Palmatum ‘Murasaki Kiyohime’ with light green leaves with red margins in spring. They turn green in summer and gold in fall; a 12- to 18-inch-high tree is $45.99 from Conifer Kingdom. Photograph via Gardener Direct, where the tree is available seasonally.
A Japanese maple, Acer Palmatum”Kagiri Nishiki” grows slowly and is shaped like a vase; $54.99 for a 1-gallon pot at Mendocino Maples Nursery. Photograph by Averater via Wikimedia.
Above: A Japanese maple, Acer Palmatum”Kagiri Nishiki” grows slowly and is shaped like a vase; $54.99 for a 1-gallon pot at Mendocino Maples Nursery. Photograph by Averater via Wikimedia.
A popular hardy variety is Acer Palmatum ‘Sango Kaku‘. It has red bark and leaves that change from yellow to green to gold seasonally. A 3-gallon pot is $78 from Singing Tree Gardens Nursery.
Above: A popular hardy variety is Acer Palmatum ‘Sango Kaku‘. It has red bark and leaves that change from yellow to green to gold seasonally. A 3-gallon pot is $78 from Singing Tree Gardens Nursery.
Japanese maples with variegated leaves include Acer Palmatum ‘Beni Schichihenge’, an upright variety  that grows from 10 to 12 feet; available at Maple Ridge Nursery. Photograph via Connon Nurseries.
Above: Japanese maples with variegated leaves include Acer Palmatum ‘Beni Schichihenge’, an upright variety  that grows from 10 to 12 feet; available at Maple Ridge Nursery. Photograph via Connon Nurseries.

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for maple tree with our Maple Tree: A Field Guide.

Interested in other types of trees? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various trees (specimen, deciduous, evergreen) with our Trees: A Field Guide.

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