Black Country Bugle
These maples hold all the acers for autumn colour
Add reds, burgundies and yellows to your plot with these spectacular trees, says HANNAH STEPHENSON
Japanese maples can boost the autumnal palette of your garden, with burnt orange, zingy yellow, scarlet red and deep burgundy colours.
These spectacular deciduous trees, also known as acers – some of which can be grown in a pot, while others need a wider space to branch out – add warmth, colour and architecture to your garden, whatever the size.
The way you display your Japanese maples can have a bearing on their impact, says garden designer Mark Lane, a presenter on BBC Gardeners’ World and Stannah (stannah.co.uk) gardening expert.
“The ones that create a really lovely domed shape, like Acer dissectum, look brilliant in any shaped pot,” he says.
“Give acers pride of place, but not in an exposed spot. A lot of the time, acers work brilliantly in a sheltered spot by the back door or front door. If you have a porch which gets light but not bright sunlight, that should be fine – as long as it’s outside, so it still gets the rain.”
Here are a few types to try...
Acer palmatum ‘Garnet’:
“It’s gorgeous, almost pale red verging into pink, and the leaves are really dissected,” says Mark.
He recommends pairing it with the Acer palmatum dissectum – it has the same shaped leaves that are green in summer, but turn rich shades of yellow in autumn.
Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’:
“As the name implies, this acer really comes to life as the season changes,
with its lime green leaves in the spring turning yellow and bright orange during the end of summer and autumn,” says Matt Jordan, gardening expert for The Greenhouse People (greenhousepeople.co.uk).
Its multicoloured leaves create a striking sunburst effect, keeping a yellow centre while the edges turn burnt orange and red. Grown both in and outside of pots, these maples love a sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade, and grow best in acidic or neutral soil types.
The soil also needs to be moist but well-draining, so be sure to use a layer of mulch to help maintain moisture, Matt advises.
Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’:
This larger variety can reach up to 25 feet, with deep purple and red leaves during the spring and summer turning a vibrant crimson in autumn. “These trees favour partial shade, though full sun can be tolerated,” says Matt. “However, sun scorching can occur if the plant does not get enough moisture during summer, so be sure to keep it well-watered during dry periods. Acidic or neutral soil will work best for these trees.”
Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’:
Similar to ‘Bloodgood’, ‘Crimson Queen’ offers burgundy tones throughout spring and summer, but bursts into a brilliant red during autumn. However, unlike ‘Bloodgood’ – which has five-to-seven-lobed leaves – ‘Crimson Queen’ offers more texture with its lacy, feathered-style foliage, says Matt. “’Crimson Queen’ will best suit a small to medium-sized garden.”
Acer palmatum ‘Little Princess’:
“For an adorable dwarf variety, ‘Little Princess’ offers gardeners a feast of colour all year round, with bright green leaves with red-tipped edges in the spring and summer, turning yellow and orange in the autumn,” Matt says, adding they are ideal for containers or patios.