Intensely coloured and beautifully shaped foliage make Acer palmatum a firm favourite. Commonly known as Japanese Maple trees, they also boast a graceful shape, whether they're weeping, dwarf or more spreading forms. We offer over 40 varieties of both popular and rare Japanese Maple varieties so there is plenty of choice.
Japanese Maples are deciduous small trees with a rounded, dome-shaped crown and many are slow growing, making them perfect for smaller gardens or planted in large containers as a patio tree. We also stock a great choice of Dwarf Japanese Maple trees which are perfect when you have a small garden with very limited space.
Although tolerant of all soils, a well-drained soil and sheltered position is preferred by Japanese Maple trees. For the best foliage colour, plant Japanese Maples using ericaceous compost and water them using rain water instead of tap water when possible. The amount of sunlight needed varies between cultivators, with red and purple leaved Japanese Maples requiring some sun to fully develop their dark hues. On the other hand, variegated Japanese Maples need partial shade to prevent the afternoon sun from scorching the foliage, and green-leaved varieties can tolerate full sun, but are best in dappled shade to also avoid the risk of leaf scorch. Their pretty foliage is very sensitive to sun and wind - please do ask us for advice on the best variety for your planting situation.
Japanese Maples have an attractive natural shape and so require very little pruning. Any pruning should be carried out in the dormant season as Japanese Maples bleed during other times of the year.
Acer palmatum are from the Sapindaceae family. They are native to Japan, North and South Korea, China, Eastern Mongolia, and Southeast Russia. The Latin name, Acer palmatum, comes from the word palmatum (palm), referring to the hand-like shape of the leaves as noticed by Swedish doctor and botanist Carl Peter Thunberg in the 18th century.
Japanese Maple trees have been cultivated in Japan for centuries, using varieties found in Japan, Korea and China and it is now thought that over a 1000 cultivators have been produced. In Japanese culture, Japanese Maple trees are said to signify great blessings, and any place in which they are planted is recognised as a peaceful retreat. The way the foliage of Japanese Maples change throughout the seasons is considered to be very beautiful in Japan, and people will gather round these trees to look at them collectively. This festival is known as momijigan, which means "leaf peeping".
The first Acer palmatum reached England in 1820 and today they are extremely popular in ornamental gardens throughout the UK. Their ornamental value isn't limited to gardens, with Acer palmatum making a popular choice for bonsai enthusiasts throughout the world. Bonsai is an art of growing miniature trees that evolved in Japan, although also has roots in China where it is known as Penjing.