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A picture of a Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum

Also known as

Cut-Leaved Japanese Maple, Blood-leaf Japanese maple, Coral-bark maple, Maple

Photo by malcles (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Japanese Maple

A photo of Japanese Maple
A photo of Japanese Maple
A photo of Japanese Maple
A photo of Japanese Maple
A photo of Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple Overview

Acer palmatum - also known as Japanese Maple or Cut-leaved Japanese Maple - was originally cultivated in Japan and has continued across temperate regions of the world for centuries. The species name Acer palmatum comes from the lacy, hand-like shape of its leaves. Its tiny, red-purple flowers produce red, winged, fruit in late summer. Acer palmatum comes in a range of sizes from small, flat-growing shrubs to small trees with dome-like shapes and all display vibrant yellow, orange or red leaf colour in Autumn. They can be grown in full sun, although leaf colour is best in partial shade, and they need moist, well-draining soil on the acidic side. (Leaf scorch can be caused by lack of soil moisture or if planted in a very exposed location.) Additional plant feed may be required for potted/container grown specimens. Acers can also benefit from spring and/or winter mulching with a helping of ericaceous material such as pine needles or chopped bracken. Little to no pruning is recommended, however removing dead or unwanted branches can be done in late autumn to midwinter. As well as being a popular choice for Bonsai enthusiasts and Japanese themed gardens, this low-maintenance tree suits urban/courtyard gardens as well as cottage/informal settings. It provides mid-level structure and can be grown in a container. Many cultivars have been produced from parent Acer palmatum.

Common problems with Japanese Maple

How to propagate Japanese Maple


Seeds will have cross-pollinated and unlikely to come true to its parent. They are still worth propagating as the resulting tree will have good colour or possibly be the next "new" must-have. If sowing fresh seed, soak them for twenty-four hours, before re-refrigerating (stratify, duplicate winter conditions) seeds for ninety days by mixing them with a small amount of compost in a plastic bag (with ventilation). The seeds can then be sown in individual pots or outdoors in warm locations. Alternatively, seeds collected and stored from the previous year can be sown in Spring direct in the ground or individual containers. Collect ripe seed in autumn when they are brown and beginning to fall off the tree. Store in a paper bag and store in a cool and dry location.


By budding in summer.


Softwood cuttings

Special features of Japanese Maple

Pot plant

Can be trained as Bonsai trees

Attractive leaves

Indoor plant


Autumn colour

Leaves turn colour in autumn, variety dependent, ranging from yellow to red

Other uses of Japanese Maple

Ornamental, foliage, specimen with good autumn colour.


Leaves are used in Chinese medicine

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