Zones:

Generally, zones 5-8. Heat is a consideration, especially in the south, not necessarily for the health of the maple but for its effect on leaf color, causing many purple or red-leaved varieties to “go green” in the summer. They typically leaf out early in the season and a late cold snap can cause serious damage even to mature specimens.

Height/Spread:

Varieties from 8 to 30 feet tall and wide.

Exposure:

Providing the right amount of light can be a balancing act. Too much light can damage delicate leaves. Too little light, and some of the more colorful varieties will take on a greenish tone — still attractive, but not the brilliant fall color of reds and purples as would be expected. For best color, most maples need a location with part day's sun or at least high light.

Foliage color:

Famous for their phenomenal fall colors, Japanese maples also present purples, reds, yellows, oranges, and greens as well as variegation throughout the growing season.

Growth rate:

Most Japanese maples grow at a slow to moderate rate of 1 to 2 feet per year. They typically grow fastest when they are young and slow down as they reach maturity. Planting them in a spot where they are happy and caring for them well helps maximize their growth rate. If you want an established look right from the start, you can opt to plant an older, larger maple rather than a young one that may take years to mature. If this isn’t an option, select a cultivar that has a reputation for being a faster-than-average grower, such as Acer palmatum ‘Beni-otake’.

Japanese Maple

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