Cultivating Japanese Maples -Acer

Acer palmatum dissectum atropurpureum

  • Acer is the genus for a range of trees that includes the Sycamore and some of the loveliest foliage trees for your garden.
  • palmatum the species name refers to the hand shaped leaves
  • dissectum or variety name reflects how the feathery leaves are finely separated and deeply cut or fringed
  • atropurpureum is the colour of deep purple leaves that turn bright red in autumn
  • Japanese Maple is a generic name for a range of Acers which have this semblance of age and dignity even when the trees are small and relatively young.

Hints on Cultivation

  • If you want a talking or focal point in your garden then this is the shrub or tree for you
  • The best Autumn colouring comes from growing in an acid or neutral soil
  • Keep trees out of strong wind that can burn the fine leaves
  • Japanese Maples can be grown in pots where they will be very slow growing
  • Contrasting blue flowers like Mecanopsis, Gentians or Aconitum are good plant partners
  • Other partner plants can be used to emphasis shape and form like Ferns, Pampass Grass or a fine Silver Birch
  • Acers can be the backbone of a Japanese themed garden
  • Other varieties to try include:
    • A. cricinatum the Vine Maple with leaves that turn yellow in Autumn
    • A. griseum has orange polished bark and a great colour change in Autumn
    • A negundo silver maple will tolerate heavy soil and more wind than other Japanese Maples
  • Propagate by air layering in March/April, seed or softwood cuttings.

Read Japanese Maple root and branch review


  1. Best Trees for Small Gardens UK | Gardeners Tips - June 13, 2010

    […] Acers – There are a huge varieties of acers. They can be very attractive in the small garden. They are also ideally suited for the small garden. The Acer Palmatum. I’ve found they can be a bit tender in a cold windy winter. More on Acers […]

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