(Aceraceae the Maple family) Common name: Japanese Maple.
Culture: Acer palmatum are exceedingly beautiful trees. Japanese Maples range in size from ½ to 20 metres tall. Originating from Japan, Korea and China, Japanese Maples are considered frost hardy in Sydney but drought tender. Whilst Sydney's climate is well out of the normal zones for growing Acer palmatum, adequate summer watering will help prevent losses. (zones 5 - 7)
Position: The standard Acer palmatum can cope with full sun for most of the day but the young leaves will burn easily on excessively hot days in spring but burn less so hot days when the leaves have hardened up in summer.
Flowers: Acer palmatum flowers are small and somewhat insignificant on some named varieties. Colours range from red to reddish-crimson to crimson, and varying shades of green depending on the variety.
Care: Acer palmatum like moist but free-draining acidic soils enriched with organic matter. Most losses in Sydney occur through lack of moisture. Signs of drought-stress included cracks and fissures in the bark.
Propagation: The twin propeller winged seeds are called a Samara and should be sown when ripe. In a few months some interesting surprises will emerge out of these seedlings some might not survive. Japanese Maple prorogation is extremely tricky and non-grafted varieties are usually too weak to survive for long in Sydney's climate, but still there is a lot of fun in trying.