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Acers - Japanese Maples for the Garden

For the purpose of this page, we are interested only in that group known as Japanese Maples - or Japanese Acers. These normally fall in the group known as Acer palmatum -  which is to say that the foliage is generally palm-like. (As in hand rather than palm trees!).

Acer palmatum Dissectum single leaf - showing autumn colour

There is another group of the Acers which can rightly claim to be known as Japanese maples. These are those Acers in the Acer japonicum group. (japonicum = of Japanese origin).
Most of the shrubs - in either group - have good autumn colour foliage, and also attractive foliage for growing seasons. All are deciduous.

Foliage colour - Summer and Autumn - is determined to a great extent by the growing conditions regarding soil type and also the weather conditions.

The Acer family of trees - Japanese Maples -and shrubs is a wide ranging group. In terms of size, they can be anything from dwarf shrubs of just under a metre height, to largish trees with a height of 8-10 metres. Either as shrubs or trees, it is the foliage which is the attraction. Often attractive in the spring and summer, but it is the colour in the autumn for which they are really sought after.

Single leaf of Japanese Maple - Acer palmatum 'Dissectum' - showing seven distinct lobes, which are then further divided to put it into the 'Dissectum' group - Acer palmatum 'Dissectum'. This is the early Autumn colour of an otherwise light green leaf on Acer trees.

A point that is overlooked with the Acers group generally, is that there are several types that have variegated foliage. These though do not generally have the same Autumn colour effect as the non-variegated forms.



Acers - Japanese Maples A - Z

Acer Griseum

Acer Griseum is also known as the Paper Bark Maple, as it's major characterist is it's cinnamon coloured, peeling bark.

Acer Griseum is of Chinese Origin not Japanese, it is found in the high altitude regions of China in the provinces of Gansu, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Sichuan. Acer griseum was introduced into Europe in 1901 by Ernest Henry Wilson, an explorer and plant collector.


Acer Japonicum Dissectum Harvest Moon

The Japanese Maple is a dwarf, stand up tree, which will reach a height of 2 meters and a spread of 4 meters. The Harvest Moon will grow tall from young, its lower branches grow upwards while the upper branches grow horizontal and once it reaches its optimum height it will start to spread out. It will take 15 years to reach its maturity and 10 years before it reaches its potential. Ours is reaching 10 years now and looks spectacular.


Acer Palmatum Dissectum Baldsmith

Acer Palmatum Dissectum Baldsmith is a dwarf shrub type with a weeping habit of Japanese Maple and it is a fantastic choice for the small Japanese garden, courtyard or patio. This specimen variety is one of my favourites for the wonderful blend of diverse coloured leaves and it likes full sun.


Acer Palmatum Beni Maiko

The Beni Maiko has been recognised and received the prestigeous "Award of Garden Merit" by the Royal Horticultural Society. "Beni Maiko" translates to "red haired dancing girl".

The Acer Palmatum Beni Maiko produces vibrant fire-red coloured leaves in the early spring with red veins, the fiery red changes to a pinkish-red with green undertones and the main veins remain red.



Acer Palmatum Black Lace

Acer Palmatum Black Lace

Acer Palmatum Black Lace

Acer Palmatum Black Lace is a small stand up Japanese Maple tree, an adult tree can reach 3 to 4 meters in height with a spread of 4 to 5 meters, it is not a very densely branched Maple Tree neither is it very leafy. The Black Lace will reach it full protential in 10 to 15 years. Ours in the picture and video is 2 meters tall with a width of 2 meters and it is only 7 to 10 years old. It still has a lot of growing to do.


Acer Palmatum Dissectum Inaba Shidare

Acer Palmatum Dissectum Inaba Shidare is a dwarf Japanese Maple, and the name Shidare means cascading, if placed above a pond the leaves will cascade into the water, giving a weeping willow effect. An excellent complement to any Koi Carp Pond or Japanese Garden. If you keep it in a pot it can be made into a patio feature or a courtyard feature, think about its characteristics and build it in.


Acer Palmatum Dissectum Lionheart

Acer Palmatum Dissectum Lionheart was introduced by Duncan and Davies Nursery from New Zealand and is classed a relatively new Japanese Maple.

The Acer Palmatum Dissectum Lionheart has a stand-up habit when young and spreads nicely as it gets older to make a perfect mushroom shaped dome.

The Dissectum Lionheart is a medium sized Maple, it can reach to 4 meters tall with an equal spread or larger, it will take 20 years to reach its full maturity and 10 years to reach its potential.


Acer Palmatum Dissectum Orangeola

The Acer Palmatum Dissectum Orangeola is a truely remarkable specimen and is a proud center piece to any garden, it enjoys full sun but preferably in part shade, facing east or west, giving it morning or afternoon sun. It is very happy in a pot or container which can be displayed on your patio in the summer and easily moved to a more sheltered area in the winter.



Acer Palmatum Dissectum Rubifolium

The Adult Acer Palmatum Dissectum Rubifolium is a shrub like Japanese Maple tree, low in height with a long / large spread. The adult tree can reach 1.5 meters in height with a spread of 3 to 5 meters. Its structure is very densely branched with long horizontal weeping branches supported by lovely clusters of Dissected Leaves. Ours in the picture and video is between 15 to 20 years old and still in its pot, one planted out will flourish quicker. An Adult will take 20 years to reach its full potential.


Acer Palmatum Dissectum Sunset

Acer Palmatum Dissectum Sunset is a weeping / cascading Japanese maple by nature. It will grow to 3 to 4 feet tall and the branches will turn and cascade down to give it a lovely weeping effect. The foliage is dense which gives it a lovely dome shaped head. Be mindful when planting it out as it will have a spread of one of to feet wider than its height. Its weeping branches will also come down longer than its height. It is a wonderful pond side acer where its branches and foliage droop into the water.



Acer Palmatum Dissectum Emerald Lace

Emerald Lace

Emerald Lace

The Acer Palmatum Emerald Lace boasts a deep dissected foliage, Lace Like, which bursts into life in the spring with a bright lime green colouring. In the summer the leaves become edged with a faded red colour which gradually spreads into the center and turns red and orange in autumn.


Acer Palmatum Fireglow

The Acer Palmatum Fireglow has a stand up character, very branchy, with vertical trunk and virtual vertical branches which lead to a labyrinth of thinner soft wood branches and shoots which toss and turn in a breeze. They support hundreds of leaves making this a very dense tree. The bark and branches are a plain brown, fawn colour with slight green overtones, its shoots are thin and made of soft wood, they are a glossy deep purple colour which really add to the foliage.



Acer Palmatum Dissectum Heart Beat

The Award winning Japanese Maple Acer Palmatum Dissectum Heart Beat is part of the Sapindaceae family. more info The Heart Beat has some controversy, the cultivar originated in Australia and exported to the USA is a dwarf maple similar to Inaba Shidare, the European cultivar from Holland, exported into the UK is more of a stand up tree. Our "Heart Beat" pictured and displayed in the video is the European cultivar. The leaves have the same characteristics, they have been grafted on to stand up cultivars. Because of the European climates Japanese Maples are grafted, see our page on grafting for further information.


Acer Palmatum Katsura

Acer Palmatum Katsura is a stand up Japanese Maple with a short trunk with long branches, it has small to medium sized palmatum leaves with beautiful coloured branches. An ideal Japanese Maple for compact spaces like courtyards, Japanese gardens and patio's.

I would like to call the Katsura a tall bush, with the small trunk and a multitude of long branches stemming up in a "v shape". An adult Katsura will reach 12 to 15 feet in height, the stubby trunk will get very girthy and the old bark loses its colouration and goes grey brown with age. With these characteristics the Katsura is a favourite amongst Bonsai lovers.


Acer Palmatum Kiyohime

Acer Palmatum Kiyohime is a dwarf shrub type of Japanese Maple and is a fantastic choice for the small Japanese garden, courtyard or patio. This specimen variety is a favourite amongst Bonsai lovers for its habitat, it will spread wider than its height, bare that in mind when planting it out.

The Kiyohime is found growing wild in Japan, China and Korea, a relatively old cultivar, it was introduced into Europe and the USA in and around the 1850's.



Acer Palmatum Koto No Ito

Acer Palmatum Koto No Ito is explosive, just like a firework on New Years Eve and it is one of the most popular Japanese Maples.

Acer Palmatum Koto No Ito is a dwarf like Japanese Maple, and the name Koto No Ito loosely translates to 'Golden Old Harp' or 'Harp Strings' and it can be commonly called or known as 'The Dancing Monkey Tree' for the way the leaves sway and jump around in the wind.


Acer Palmatum Okagami

The Acer Palmatum Okagami has large leaves, approximately 10 cm by 10 cm, which are of medium cut of 7 lobes.

In the spring the leaves start a deep blood red colour with a slightly darker coloured vein supported by the deep purple branches. The leaves slowly changes in the late September / October where the leaves turn a stunning bright red and a few will go orange.


Acer Palmatum Red Pygmy

Acer Palmatum Red Pygmy is a Dwarf Red Acer which is part of the Sapindaceae family. more info and is in the Linearilobum class of Japanese Maples which has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

The Japanese Maple Red Pygmy is in the Linearilobum class, this class has very narrow long lobes, like strings or straps. The leaves are exceptionally long and thin, up to 10 cm long and 2 to 3 mm wide, new foliage can be 4 to 5 mm thick in contrast.



Acer Palmatum Shirasawanum Yasemin

The Adult Acer Palmatum Shirasawanum Yasemin is a small stand up Japanese Maple tree, an adult tree can reach 8 meters in height with a spread of 8 to 10 meters, it is not very densely branched but the long horizontal branches support lovely clusters of leaves. Ours in the picture and video is between 2 and 3 meters tall with a 2 to 3 meter width and it is only 7 to 10 years old. An Adult will take 20 years to reach its full potential.


Acer Palmatum Shishigashira

Acer Palmatum Shishigashira has achieved the RHS prestigeous AGM Award of Garden Merit and it is a striking addition to any Japanese Garden, Patio or courtyard.

The Acer Palmatum Shishigashira is of Japanese Origin dating back to the 1800's and still grows wild in the forests of Japan where it can reach 18 feet tall.


Acer Palmatum Summer Gold

Acer Palmatum Summer Gold is a tall stand up Japanese Maple Tree and is a fantastic choice for the small to large Japanese gardens, courtyards or patios. This specimen variety has distinctive bright yellow coloured leaves throughout the summer and brightens up any garden. Summer Gold can be placed in full sun without the scare of leaf burn, it is a very hardy Japanese Maple.



Acer Palmatum Dissectum Tamukeyama

The Acer Palmatum Dissectum Tamukeyama is a truely remarkable specimen and it is going to be a proud center piece on our stand at Chelsea Flower Show 2019, it enjoys full sun but preferably in part shade, facing east or west, giving it morning or afternoon sun. It is very happy in a pot or container which can be displayed on your patio in the summer and easily moved to a more sheltered area in the winter. It is very top heavy with its wonderful canopy which makes it fall over in the wind, it needs to be anchored down or in a wider pot, ideally it needs planting out.


Acer Palmatum Trompenburg

Acer Palmatum Trompenburg is a Stand Up Red Acer Tree which is part of the Sapindaceae family. more info which has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Of Asian and Russian Origin it was introduced into Europe and the USA in the 1800's, one of the oldest cultivars to our shores unlike its siblings: The Green Trompenburg and Red Trompenburg which are relatively new cultivars.
















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