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japanese maple

Japanese Maples

Japanese Maples

These gorgeous and unique beauties are a great accent to your outdoor oasis. Their changing colors provide year-round interest. Depending on the variety, leaves emerge in spring in shades of orange, yellow, red, purple and green. Their summer foliage is bright and makes a true statement in the landscape. In the fall, their colors range from a golden yellow to a fiery red, and they maintain a gorgeous, architectural form when they go dormant in the winter. Japanese Maples are very adaptable to their environment and can tolerate lighting conditions from full sun to partial shade. Plant them as a feature plant in conifer gardens, in partial shade garden beds accented by azaleas and shade perennials or in full sun garden beds with sun perennials and shrubs like abelia, roses and more. They also make excellent potted plants on balconies, decks or even by the pool.

Planting
Fall and spring are the best times to plant as the warm soil and cool air allow tender roots to adapt to their new environment. When planting Japanese Maples in the landscape, dig a hole at least two times the diameter of the root ball, amend the soil 50-50 with Pike Planting Mix. Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to the hole before placing the tree in the ground to protect roots from drying out. Add in a starter fertilizer like Dr. Earth Root Zone to give tender roots a boost and prevent transplant shock. Finally, fill in the hole until all roots are covered and the soil is patted down firmly. Water generously.

When planting in a containers, choose a pot that is two times the diameter of the tree with a drainage hole. Fill the pot halfway with Pike Potting Soil, mix in a starter fertilizer like Dr. Earth Root Zone to encourage tender roots to grow. Then, fill the pot with soil until all of the roots are covered and the soil is patted down firmly. Water generously.

More on Planting Trees

Need more advice on tree planting? Check out this 10-step project.

Upright Varieties

bloodgood japanese maple

Bloodgood

An upright, red-leaved variety that reaches up to 18-20 feet tall. Their leaves are vivid red in spring, fading to a dark purple in summer, and then a deep crimson-red in fall.

coral bark japanese maple

Coral Bark 

Also known as Sango Kaku. They are fast-growing, reaching up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. In spring, green leaves display red margins and turn vibrant, golden yellow in fall. The true show is in winter when the young stems turn a bright coral red.

emperor i japanese maple

Emporer I

Similar to Bloodgood in look and size, but they are faster growing with dark-red foliage that turns a brilliant scarlet in fall. The leaves bud out later in spring, making them less likely to be affected by frost.

Weeping Varieties

tamukeyama

Tamukeyama

This weeping, dwarf variety reaches 8-10 feet tall. Leaves emerge a deep purple in spring, turning a brilliant purple-red in summer and then turns bright red in fall. Great for containers.

virdis japanese maple

Virdis

Vivid green, finely-cut leaves emerge in spring, changing to a gorgeous shade of gold in summer and crimson-red in fall. Grows to be 10-12 feet tall. A great container tree.

crimson queen japanese maple

Crimson Queen 

One of the most popular varieties of Japanese Maples. A low-branching, dwarf variety with a delicate weeping form. New growth remains crimson throughout summer and then turns a bright scarlet in fall. Grows to be around 9 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Very dense in growth and has a large, shrub-like appearance if not pruned.