Now that we have a house and have done a fair amount of interior renovations, our attention has now shifted outdoors. We still have a good amount of projects inside but I wanted to start purchasing plants (even if they weren’t going to be planted right away) so that they could get growing.
I have always loved Japanese Maples and knew they were slow growers… so we started there. Actually, we already had purchased one many years ago while still renting – back when we had the drought in Georgia. Due to it’s horrible, crispy, burnt condition, it was on sale. (I don’t recall what we paid, but it couldn’t have been much.)
Acer Palmatum Dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ or ‘Red Dragon’:
- Part Shade, (zones 5-8) (another source claims full sun to part shade)
~ 5-10′ tall x 5-8′ wide (in 10 years)*
- A red, weeping, lace leaf Japanese maple.
- “Red Dragon” leaves emerge as a bright red then transition to a burgundy in the summer and may be more upright in appearance than “Crimson Queen”. The foliage of “Crimson Queen” starts crimson and shifts to bronze in the late summer, it is a more common variety, and its structure is low mounding.
I am unsure if we have a “red dragon” or a “crimson queen” – it has lost it’s original tag. The other one that my mom has from this timeframe, is labeled as a “red dragon” and it looks different than ours in a side by side comparison.
We still had a membership from Costco (we got it for a specific purchase the previous fall) and in the spring time, they had pretty large Japanese Maples for sale. The most unique was a ‘Sango Kaku’, which had red bark. At this point, we didn’t know much about Japanese Maples, but I did know that $50 for a ~6 ft. + tree was a good deal. We purchased two trees.
Acer Palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’:
- Part shade, (zones 5-9)
~ 15 – 20′ tall x 12-15′ wide (in 10 years)*
- A green leaf, red coral bark, upright Japanese maple.
- The red bark is the distinguishing feature of this tree. It has light green smallish leaves. It has been described to me as a very vertical Japanese maple: one that will grow up, then out. At Pike nursery, I have seen this maple trained on a trellis – almost like a vine.
A leaf comparison: They do seem to be different trees, both with red bark though. If they are the same, the differences could be due to the trees coming from different suppliers or from different growing conditions… or they could just be actually different – we did buy these trees from a big box store after all.
After getting excited about our $50 ‘Sango Kaku’s’ we got on a nursery kick and went and looked at other Japanese Maples at Pike. We considered ‘Orange Dream’ for a moment, they supposedly turn orange in the fall. We did not purchase these.
Acer Palmatum ‘Orange Dream’:
We did find a Japanese maple grower over near Athens (Garden Design Nursery) and went and took a look at his nursery. We were specifically looking for a more sun tolerant Japanese maple for our front retaining wall/flower bed. His suggestion was ‘Jordan’ as it was known for it’s bright chartreuse color in sun (and more sun tolerance).
Acer Shirasawanum ‘Jordan’:
- Full sun to Part shade, (zones 5-9)
~ 15-30′ tall x 15-30′ wide (in 10 years)* /
~ 12′ feet x 6′ wide (in 10 years)
- A green, upright, full moon Japanese maple.
- The major point for this Japanese Maple is that it was described to us as sun tolerant. (Something that is a rather rare attribute.) We will see if this holds true in our hot Atlanta climate… but the grower who made this claim is in the same conditions/zone. It has yellow-green foliage in the summer, with the new growth emerging as pastel orange. Full sun is required to encourage the vibrancy in color.
- Similar to “Aureum” (which prefers full shade, but is similar in size and appearance.)
When we purchased our tree, the grower said it color was not as intense and it normally would be – due to moving the tree into a shaded greenhouse (to protect from a late frost.) He only had this specimen that he would sell to us, so we did not get to choose our actual tree. Upon further research, a description does say that this tree requires “afternoon shade” to prevent scorch… but that is pretty much the rule of thumb for most Japanese Maples… so I’m not sure how this tree is unique in this regard. We will plant it where we planned – and will see how it fairs in a good amount of light.
We also purchased a weeping green laceleaf called ‘waterfall’. We bought this tree because it was a good price. We will have to find a good location for it though.
Acer Palmatum Dissectum “Waterfall”:
- Part shade to Full sun, (zones 5-8)
~ 8-12′ tall x 6-10′ wide (in 10 years)*
- A green, weeping, lace leaf Japanese maple. Green in the summer turning to gold in the fall. The cascading branch structure gives it a waterfall appearance. Similar to “Veridis” (which prefers part shade, grows to 10-15′ tall & wide, difficult to distinguish from waterfall.)
I was told that ‘Waterfall’ may look more red & orange and “Veridis” may look more yellow in the fall, but I have not observed this myself. I would prefer orange to yellow, so we purchased ‘waterfall’. Additionally, ‘Veridis’ may look a bit more like a mound or bush than ‘Waterfall’ when mature. Many of these green laceleaf trees may actually be the same cultivar or similar with very subtle differences – just marketed under different names.
Our shopping experience:
Veridis was more common to find than waterfall – and in larger sizes too… but both were plentiful at local nurseries like Pike.
In one spring, we went form one potted tree to five! Looking forward to planting!
*(Technical information sourced from: japanesemaplesandevergreens.com) – due note, that many different websites and nurseries have differing opinion on 10 year size/growth rate or light/heat tolerance (this is highly dependent on growing location). Many cultivars are new and therefore, have not been observed as older trees.
I’ll keep you updated on how these are doing in our hot & humid 7b/8a zone!