The top 10 best ac­ers for your gar­den

The Daily Telegraph - Gardening - - Plants -

1A. pal­ma­tum ‘Osakazuki’ One of the most re­li­able for au­tumn colour, turn­ing a bril­liant pil­lar-box red in late Oc­to­ber and early Novem­ber no mat­ter how good or bad the sea­son. One of the faster-grow­ing ac­ers, it may reach 3m in 10 years, but then slows down. Tip: more sun-tol­er­ant than most.

2A. japon­icum ‘Vi­ti­folium’ One of the first trees to turn colour in au­tumn. Its broad fan­shaped leaves turn a de­light­ful mix of ma­roon, red, orange and yel­low. Larger than most, it may ul­ti­mately reach 10m. Tip: a good tree for the cen­tre of a lawn.

3A. pal­ma­tum ‘Dis­sec­tum’ Small, slow­grow­ing, may take 30 years to reach head height. At­trac­tive all year thanks to its sculp­tural bon­sai­like branch­ing and bright green finely dis­sected leaves. In Oc­to­ber the fo­liage is an orange bon­fire. Tip: ideal for a pot.

4Acer pal­ma­tum ‘Atrop­ur­pureum’ This medi­um­sized acer is one of the most pop­u­lar. It has deep claret-pur­ple fo­liage in spring and sum­mer, then in au­tumn the leaves turn blood­red. Tip: grow with lime-green fo­liage for an amaz­ing con­trast.

5A. pal­ma­tum ‘Sango-kaku’ Com­pact acer, which grows to around 4m tall, has it all. Light green fo­liage in spring and sum­mer, apri­co­tyel­low leaves in au­tumn and bril­liant red twigs in win­ter. Tip: plant near a win­dow to lift the spir­its in win­ter.

6Acer japon­icum ‘Aconi­ti­folium’ One of the most grace­ful ac­ers, it brings an ori­en­tal feel to any gar­den. Small, open-branched with beau­ti­ful aconite-like leaves; in au­tumn these turn rich mar­malade orange to bur­gundy red. Tip: su­perb with bam­boos.

7 Acer pal­ma­tum ‘Shin­deshojo’ The most vi­brant spring fo­liage of any acer. De­scribed as co­ral red, the leaves re­tain this colour­ing for most of spring, then turn orange and red in au­tumn. Tip: plant with white­barked birches.

8Acer pal­ma­tum ‘Seiryu’ Beau­ti­ful and slow-grow­ing, this is the only com­mon up­right acer with dis­sected fo­liage. In au­tumn its fern­like leaves turn gold mar­malade and ‘Dis­sec­tum’ is ideal for a con­tainer flamingo pink. Tip: its up­right habit is per­fect for a court­yard.

9Acer pal­ma­tum ‘Aureum’ Small, slow­grow­ing, and el­e­gant; bright lime-yel­low leaves from spring un­til au­tumn when they turn old-gold. Tip: it zings against a dark evergreen back­ground.

10Acer pal­ma­tum ‘Beni-ko­machi’ One of the best red-leaved dwarf cul­ti­vars. The name roughly trans­lates as “beau­ti­ful, red­haired lit­tle girl”. Each leaf is cut into five nar­row lobes, the mar­gins finely toothed. Tip: per­fect for a rock­ery or pot.

‘Vi­ti­folium’ is one of the largest ac­ers

‘Sango-kaku’ lifts the spir­its

‘Shin­deshojo’ works with birches

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