The Japanese Maple Tree, a popular feature in many gardens, includes species like Acer palmatum and Acer japonicum. Among these, the cultivars of Acer palmatum are the most sought-after in Australian gardens.
These trees can be found for sale in various forms, including large specimens and seedlings, with many being grafted. Prices vary depending on size, age, and specific cultivars. Acer palmatum Osakazuki, known for its brilliant autumn colour, is a particular favourite (pictured on the right).
The demand for Japanese Maples in Australia has been steadily increasing in recent years. They are available in dwarf grafted varieties and as small trees, making it easy for landscapers to find the right-sized tree for most locations.
These trees are widely used in garden plantings for their stunning autumn colours and graceful appearance.
You can purchase young Japanese Maple trees via mail order, at retail stores, or from retail nurseries. Smaller, approximately 2-year-old trees can start as low as $25 each, and they can be shipped as bare-root plants in winter. More advanced specimens can range from $500 and upwards for large, established trees.
Japanese Maple types include the upright Acer Palmatum and Acer palmatum dissectum, where “Dissectum” signifies deeply cut or divided leaves, giving them an attractive, ferny or feathery appearance. Variegated types and numerous cultivars are also available.
What do the Japanese call Japanese Maples?
- Momiji – This actually means the changing colour of the leaves or autumn leaves. However, now it is mostly used to refer to Maple Tree autumn foliage. It also means Baby’s Hands which refers to the very young foliage.
- Kaede – Thought to be the original Japanese name for Japanese Maple trees. Also means Frogs Hands, again referring to the young foliage.
How to grow Japanese Maple Trees
Japanese Maples are happy in both sunny and shaded conditions but prefer some protection from hot afternoon sun and drying winds. They grow best in well-drained, humus-rich soil. Until well established, it’s important to stake and adequately water the trees, especially in dry periods.
After two to three years, most varieties become drought-tolerant. To prepare for planting, we recommend incorporating well-rotted compost and cow manure into the planting area about 3-4 weeks prior to planting. Additionally, stake the tree and water in well with liquid seaweed fertilizer to promote root growth. The ideal time for planting is early autumn when the soil is still warm, allowing for some root growth before winter.
Some varieties are more sun-tolerant than others and won’t suffer leaf burn on hot days.
Here are some top tips for successful cultivation.
Top Tips for Successful Growth
The type of fertilizer needed for Japanese Maple trees depends on your soil. Typically, a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer applied in spring works well. Once these trees are well-established, they usually don’t need much additional fertilizer, especially if the soil is good.
For most Japanese Maple trees, the ideal location for planting is in afternoon shade, although it can vary depending on your climate and the specific variety. A shaded spot helps maintain vibrant foliage colour by preventing leaf burn. In cooler climates, they can tolerate more sunlight. Acer palmatum Inaba Shidare is regarded as one of the best options for full sun conditions.
Japanese Maple trees typically don’t grow quickly, though the speed can vary between different varieties. For instance, Acer palmatum Emerald Lace is considered a fast grower, while Acer palmatum Mikawa Yatsabusa is known to be very slow in growth, however is very beautiful.
For Japanese Maples, the soil should be rich in humus, moist, and well-drained, typically described as sandy loam. Ideally, the soil should be slightly acidic, generally around 5.6 to 6.5 in pH. If your soil is very acidic, you may need to add some lime. Although, if the soil is too alkaline, adding organic matter can be beneficial, although highly alkaline soils can be difficult to modify.
Japanese Maples typically need minimal pruning, but you can trim them for shaping or remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches.
One of our top picks is Acer Palmatum dissectum seiryu, which is the only upright Dissectum (cutleaf) variety. It’s hardy, robust, and features delicate light green foliage that turns into vibrant red and orange hues during autumn.
Popular cultivars and species include:
- Acer palmatum atropurpureum
- Acer palmatum bloodgood
- acer palmatum senkaki
- Acer palmatum sango kaku
- Acer palmatum dissectum seiryu
- Acer palmatum fireglow
- Dwarf Japanese Maples are also available
These are attractive small trees that typically grow to around 6 meters when mature in good conditions, sometimes even taller. Many smaller cultivars are also available. They grow well in cooler climates, in places like Melbourne and also in regions stretching from Perth to Sydney, as well as in the highland areas of Queensland.
The upright species and cultivars have a classic vase-like shape that widens into a broad crown. Their main attraction lies in their foliage, which starts as green, red, or gold in new growth and transitions to a range of shades from gold to blazing reds during the autumn season.
Once these plants are well-established, they are hardy and require minimal maintenance. They make excellent small shade trees and are a great ornamental feature in any garden.
You may also be interested in:
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Acer saccharum
- Acer buegerianum
- Acer japonicum vitifolium
- Acer palmatum shaina
- Acer platanoides globosum
- Acer negundo
- Acer palmatum atropurpureum
- Acer rubrum
Japanese Maples are available for sale from the following participating growers
WINTER HILL TREE FARM Ph: 02 4878 9193 Fax: 02 4878 9109
NSW Southern Highlands
Retail & Wholesale. Advanced trees & hedging. Grown in pots for year-round planting. 45 litre - 1000 litre available. Great range. Great Quality. Delivery available.
Phone: 0411 435 314
Online Retailer of Landscaping Plants, large quantities of small pot sizes up to advanced sizes & plant Sourcing.
SYDNEY | NORTHERN NSW | GOLD COAST | BRISBANE | MELBOURNE | ADELAIDE
Est. in 1994, we offer over 30 Varieties of quality 2nd year grafted Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum) available for mail order.
82 David Hill Rd Monbulk (Opposite Vika Ave)
Japanese Maple and Magnolia specialists, Wholesale and Retail. Large range of other deciduous and evergreen ornamental trees and shrubs.
55 McDougal Rd Neerim South Victoria 3831 PH: (03) 56281507
Advanced ornamental trees and garden designs and concept plans. Direct to your property combined with specialist knowledge and outstanding service.
125 Palmer Rd Jindivick 3818
Open Thursday - Sunday 10am - 4pm
Specialising in growing and selling Rare and Unusual Trees, shrubs Perennials Bulbs and Climbers, a unique nursery with amazing stock.
470 Monbulk-Silvan Road Monbulk VIC 3793
"Guaranteed mail order flowering bulbs, perennials, roses, trees, landscaping plants, garden accessories and community fundraising Austra lia-wide."
COSTA’S TREELAND NURSERY
355 Pini Lane Mudgegonga VIC 3737 – phone: 0357534572 fax: 0357534572
Suppliers of hardy, bare root trees, from June to late September.We service VIC, NSW, QLD, & SA.
NATIONWIDE TREES P/L
3590 Yarra Junction – Noojee Rd Piedmont Vic 3833 – phone: 03 56289554 fax: 03 56289677
Nationwide Trees supplies a broad range of deciduous tree seedlings, rootstocks and some conifers.
HEDLEN ADVANCED LANDSCAPE PLANTS
25 Morell St Mornington Vic 3931 – phone: 0418398540 fax: 03 5975 5559
Supply plant guarantee advanced trees 3/6m high ,screen,hedge, magnolia & others
MESARA TREE FARM
George Emery Lane Glenquarry NSW 2576 – Ph 02 4887 1284
Semi Advanced trees. Wholesale direct. Contract growing. Plane, Birch, Nyssa, Magnolia, Cypress, Linden.