New in the Nursery: Japanese Maples


1.'Peaches and Cream' Japanese Maple; 2.'Koto-no-Ito' Japanese Maple; 3.'Crimson Queen' Japanese Maple; 4.'Shishigashira' Japanese Maple; 5.'Mikawa yatsubusa' Japanese Maple; 6.'Spring Delight' Japanese Maple

New in the nursery, and just in time for Father’s Day, is our collection of rare and unusual Japanese maples, beloved across the globe for their many varieties, shapes, and colors. We asked our Senior Plant Buyer Steven H.-- a self-proclaimed “maple guy”-- to tell us a bit about what makes Japanese maples so special and why they’re sure to wow Dad as Father’s Day gifts. 

terrain: Tell us a bit about Japanese maples and what sets them apart from other popular garden trees. 

Steven: Japanese maples are a collection of trees native to Asia that can be found in a wide range of types and varieties, esteemed for their beautiful colors, shapes, and patterns. They are highly collectable, with growers constantly seeking out the newest and most rare variety. All feature lobed leaves, usually in shades of green or red. Some are highly variegated, which makes the leaves delicate and lace-like. Japanese maples range in size from slow-growing dwarf varieties, like the Mikawa, to trees over 50 feet tall. 

terrain: How did you go about choosing trees for the collection?  

Steven: We partnered with vendors who share the same passion for rare and unusual Japanese maples as we do. Aiming to keep the product assortment current and on-trend, we chose varieties that, in short, are just plain cool. Some, like the Crimson Queen, cascade with red, lacy leaves, others emerge yellow, green, and peach in spring and put on a spectacular show of orange, crimson, and gold in the fall. Spring Delight and Peaches and Cream are two great varieties for color. I’m particularly fond of the Shishigashira or “Lion’s Mane” variety– its short, curly leaves cluster close to the trunk, making for a compact and quirky specimen. 

terrain: Can you share some tips for ensuring your Japanese maple thrives? 

Steven: Japanese maples grow best when planted in full sun or partial shade with well-draining soil, making them a mainstay in gardens and landscapes.  They will also thrive in outdoor container plantings. While they can certainly survive indoors for a time, they will not flourish if kept inside and will ultimately decline. If you plant your tree in the ground, make sure to stake and shelter it for 2-3 years until it takes root and begins to mature. 

terrain: What makes a Japanese maple an ideal Father’s Day gift? 

Steven: They’re the gift that keeps on giving! With 3 seasons of interest, their leaves put on a colorful display from spring until fall. Some, like the Koto-no-Ito, even round out at a fourth season, thanks to unique trunk arrangements or colored bark that blazes in hues of red, green, or yellow during the winter months. 

Throughout the season, our plant team highlights their freshest additions to the garden with New in the Nursery. Check in at your local store or online to take home these newly-arrived trees.

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