Different varieties of Japanese maple

Much has been said about palmate maple the jewel in the garden: that shrub or tree that lives mainly in Japan, but also in China, which has lovers of… I don’t know, thousands… millions? of people. And it is that, its leaves have extraordinary elegance and beautyof those that make you imagine that you are on a bench in a park in the eastern city, listening only to the breeze of the wind.

Fortunately, or perhaps sadly for collectors, there are many species and varieties of Japanese mapleand from time to time new cultivars appear. On this occasion I am going to detail the easiest to find and take care of, and above all those that, in addition, are the most suitable for somewhat warmer climates than the one that would be ideal for the tree.

Maple palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’

Purple palmate maple

The Maple Palm »Dark Purple» It is surely one of the most common, if not the most common. But it is something that is more than justified, since its leaves both in spring and autumn are dressed in spectacular red. In summer, however, they take on a greener hue, also very striking. With a height of two-three meters it is perfect for small gardens.

In hot climates, where the sun is very intense, it is recommended to protect it from direct light.

Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’


The »Seiryu» it is something different. It grows as a tree from five to eight meters high. Because of this, it can live well in full sun exposures, even in climates like the Mediterranean, we only have to take one thing into account … which I will mention below.

For now, I recommend that you have it on your favorites list. It is resistant, and above all very grateful.

Other species

Acer palmatum Shigitatsu-sawa

The specimen in the photo above is a Acer palmatum Shigitatsu-sawa. A magnificent tree that will reach heights close to eight meters. If you are looking for a tree that provides good shade and that also beautifies your garden even more, this is yours!

If you are not convinced, there are other species just as recommended. Among them:

  • Acer palmatum »Osakazuki» (lower photo) – place in full sun. It grows to an approximate height of six to seven meters. It is, along with the Seiryu, one of the most recommended for hot climates such as the Mediterranean.
  • Acer palmatum »Deshojo» – prefers semi-shaded exposures. With a height of four meters at most, it is ideal to have in a pot.
  • Acer palmatum »Butterfly» – We must also protect it from the sun. It reaches a height of about two-three meters. It has beautiful variegated leaves, but it is for this reason that it must be protected from direct light.

To consider…

Acer palmatum Osakazuki

Japanese maples will do spectacularly well in temperate regionswhere they have land with an acid pH (between 4 and 6), humid environments and summers that are not too hot. If you live in a dry climate, with summer temperatures above 5 degrees Celsius (this is the maximum that I have been able to verify that my own specimens support), and if the terrain is also calcareous … cultivation is very complicated. But not impossible. What you will need, yes or yes, are low minimum temperatures (five degrees or less) in winter.

A trick for your maples to grow without too much trouble is the following: used as substrate akadama and a little peat or, better, akadama and kyriuzuna. The latter is a mix that is catching on thanks to a well-known bonsaist, and it really works. The problem with these trees is that they are very sensitive to overwatering, but having such a porous mixture, which helps the water drain quickly, these problems are avoided. Oh and by the way, don’t forget water with soft water and to fertilize with a specific fertilizer for acidophilic plants or with any organic fertilizer.

Of course, you can make your tree a beautiful bonsai, since resists pruning very welland can grow without problems in a pot.

Enjoy your Japanese Maple!

Different varieties of Japanese maple

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