The Japanese maple, or acer, is a fantastic way to easily introduce colour to your patio or balcony. There are many hundreds of different varieties of this plant, all in different shades and all with compact, multi-lobed leaves. The botanical name acer palmatum means ‘hand-like maple’. This variety is one of the most handsome, with leaves a deep autumnal red. New leaves will be green, then turn to more fiery tones as the year progresses.
The Japanese maple doesn’t just grow in Japan. You’ll also find it across other parts of south-east Asia, as well as Russia. In the wild, it will often be found in growing in the dappled light under larger trees. It likes similar conditions when grown outside in the UK. It likes living in quite a bright spot, but avoid putting it somewhere that gets harsh midday sun. Its leaves might scorch if the sun is too strong. Early morning or late afternoon sun would be ideal.
Water it regularly, whenever the top two inches of soil feel dry, but don't be tempted to overdo it, as it doesn't like sitting in very wet soil. It needs to be able to drain freely.
Please be aware that it will shed its lovely leaves in winter, so it can put all its energy into producing even more foliage when spring comes again. This is a plant that will look better and better every year.
Your plant will arrive in a nursery pot with drainage holes in the bottom. You don't need to remove it from this pot. You can just pop it inside a decorative outdoor pot of your choice.
Did you know?
In Japan, there’s a long established tradition of going to see Japanese maples when their leaves are at their reddest, in autumn. There’s even a word for it, momijigari, meaning ‘red leaf hunt’.