This 6th showpiece in the series comes off the back of a beautiful new display of Acers (Japanese Maples) we have in one of our undercover areas at the moment. Having gone down to take a few photos of them yesterday, I needed no more convincing that they are very worthy of a ‘showpiece’ title.
Grown for their graceful habit and striking, quite stunning foliage, Japanese Maples are small deciduous trees that don’t discriminate against the smaller garden – in fact they quite suit them. Many Acers grow extremely slowly and so are perfect in smaller spaces in a larger container or pot.
A slightly acidic, sandy well drained loam with a good amount of organic matter is Acer heaven, although most will grow fine in other soils as long as it isn’t too wet, dry or alkaline.
They enjoy a sheltered spot, though purple leaved varieties in particular require exposure to some sunshine in order to fully develop their striking dark hues. Consistent, very bright sunshine can cause leaf scorch in many varieties however, and so dappled shade is generally a good compromise.
Ideal for growing in containers, where their shallow rooting habit will be at no risk of competition with other plants, they will most likely require re-potting into a slightly bigger container every couple of years – in spring (April) or early Autumn (September). Remember, in a pot, the roots of the Acer will be more vulnerable to winter frosts, so a bubble wrapped pot may be a good move.
The graceful shape that an Acer is so renowned for, is created when the tree is left to its own devices, to form a natural framework. If any pruning is required, it’s best to do it when the tree is completely dormant (November – early February) to avoid sap bleeding from its pruning cuts.
More information on some of the specific varieties of Acer we stock can be found online in our plant centre.