Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
Acer Palmatum (Japanese maple) is an elegant small tree, with delicate leaves that change color as the seasons pass by. In this article we will cover how to plant japanese maples and their needs.
These trees can reach 6 to 10 meters high, with some rare individuals exceeding 16 meters. The trunk can be simple or branched from the base.
Japanese maples form rounded spreading canopy. The leaves are deciduous, palmate, membranous and have 5 to 9 lobes, deeply marked with serrated margins. In the orginal form, the leaves are green and take yellow, orange and red tones before falling in autumn.
There are many ornamental cultivars with leaves in different shapes and colors during the year. Some of the most popular varieties are “atropurpureum” and “dissectum”.
The flowers are discreet, reddish and appear in seasonal inflorescences in the spring. The fruits develop in pairs including a wing so the seeds are dispersed by the wind.
In this article
Plant profileCommon name: Japanese maple
Scientific name: Acer palmatum
Plant type: Trees
Habit: Spreading / Branched
Height: 8m - 15m
Foliage color: Green (spring), Green (summer), Red (autumn)
Season of interest: Autumn, Spring
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial shade
Moisture: Moist but well drained
Garden type: Architectural, Japanese Garden
Planting type: Flower borders and bedding
Other characteristics: Bonsai
Because of its exceptional beauty, small size and non-invasive roots, Japanese acers are perfect trees for urban planting and is suitable for small residential gardens and sidewalks.
They can be used as the highlight in the garden, or in groups, as along paths, adding a romantic atmosphere to the landscape. Some varieties, even smaller in size, may be planted in front of evergreen shrubs or evergreen hedges, which produces a graceful contrast. It is one of the most popular trees for bonsai art enthusiasts.
How to plant
Japanese maples should be planted under full sun or semi-shade, in fertile soil, drainable and irrigated regularly. A temperate climate plant, these acers enjoys moisture and places with distinct seasons, thus showing all its color in autumn. Due to the delicacy of its foliage, this tree should be sheltered when planted in places with strong sun at midday or very windy, especially if it is dry.
Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) is propagated by seeds, by cuttings and by grafting. Don’t miss our complete step by step guide about japanese maple seed germination and our guide about japanese maples easy grafting.
There are dozens of cultivars of japanese maples. Here is a short list of some of the most popular.
Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’
Acer palmatum ‘Orange dream’