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Bonsai Series

Bonsai Part #1

Acer Palmatum 'Noel'

The spring color of 'Noel' is a fiery red. Pink and cream splashes of pink and cream variegation develop on this tree. 'Noel' turns to green during late spring to early summer. Fall color is a bright fire engine red. We expect 'Noel' to reach 10-12 ft in 15 years. Noel' was found as a variegated sport on the ever popular 'Shin deshojo' by our good friend John' O'Brien in Connecticut. This style shows the best variegation when pruned during the winter. The large 1 gallons have already been pruned for best spring variegation.

Acer Palmatum 'Mystic Mikawa'

'Mystic Mikawa' is a brand new variant of the ever popular dwarf Mikawa yatsubusa that leafs out orange. The color fades to a green and turns to an orange red in the fall. We expect Mystic Mikawa to keep the dwarf tightly layered habit. I would expect 'Mystic Mikawa' to get 3-4 ft in 15 years. 'Mystic Mikawa' was found and introduced by Crispin Silva.

Acer Palmatum 'Hime Shojo'

This new dwarf introduction from Japan is extremely compact. Small and multi-stemmed, the form of 'Hime shojo' is dense and full. This small leaf matsumurae emerges as a bright red in the early spring and then turns to a deeper red as the season progresses. In full sun, 'Hime shojo' will retain its red color very well, even in more shaded areas. During the fall the foliage turns to an even darker shade of maroon.
This tree is an excellent choice to add bright color in small spaces. Miniature in stature, Acer palmatum 'Hime shojo' makes a great patio planter or even a dramatic small leafed red bonsai. This hard to find cultivar is highly sought after world wide. Unique in its size and color, this rare Japanese maple only grows 4 ft high by five ft wide in fifteen years making it truly special.
'Hime' means that the tree has smaller leaves, while 'shojo' describes its deep maroon summer color.
More information can be found on 'Hime shojo' in Book for Maples: Wild Maples of Japan and Maple Cultivars by Masayaoshi Yano.

Acer Palmatum 'Allen's Gold'

'Allen's Gold' is a pinebark Japanese maple that leafs out with bright orange leaves. During the spring many of the leaves turn to a bright golden chartreuse, where this tree gets its name 'Allen's Gold'. This is the first ever tree to have both amazing spring color and pinebark. The pinebark on 'Allen's Gold' begins to develop the 3rd-4th year. As this tree ages, this gives 'Allen's Gold' the appearance that is much older. 'Allen's Gold' turns oranges to red in the fall. We expect 'Allen's Gold' to get 12-14 ft in 15 years.


Bonsai Part #2

Acer Palmatum 'Ruben'

'Ruben' is like a pink flowering shrub in the spring. When this Japanese maple leafs out, the leaves can be a bright pink to coral pink. The leaves mature to bronze-green, then to a green. Fall color is a brighter orange to red. 'Ruben' typically makes more a shrub tree size reaching 6-8 ft in height and width in 12-15 years.

Acer Palmatum 'Rhode Island Red'

'Rhode Island Red' is a dwarf that leafs out with large bright red leaves that turn to a deep maroon. Fall colors turn to a bright fiery red. 'Rhode Island Red' has a very unique shape reaching 5 ft in height and 6-7 ft in width being very dense with lots of horizontal branching. This gives a shape similar to the mounding laceleaf types with a larger fuller leaf that is sure to make a statement in your garden. 'Rhode Island Red' is ideal for containers, conifer beds, small gardens, or to simply beautify the landscape with something truly different. 

Acer Palmatum 'Pink Princess'

‘Pink Princess’ is a new dwarf compact selection of Japanese maple with a variegated leaf. There are very few variegated brooms in the plant world, and this is the first variegated broom on a maple that we know of.
This new selection was found as a broom on ‘Beni shichihenge’ and selected by our good friend, Carl Munn. We had the honor and privilege to be able to get this tree first, evaluate it, and name this tree ‘Pink Princess’. ‘Pink Princess’ leafs out in the spring with pink margined variegation on a green leaf. During the summer, the pink fades to white. ‘Pink Princess’ appears to be a vigorous dwarf globe reaching 4 ft in height by 4 ft in width in 10 years. Give it protection from the hot afternoon sun to keep the pink spring color longer into the season. Fall color on ‘Pink Princess’ is orange to red.

Acer Palmatum 'Kristin's Star'

'Kristin's Star' is an excellent dwarf Japanese maple from the Area 51 Collection at Found as a chance seedling by a Bill Taylor of Spartanburg, SC, and named after his wife, Kristin. This tree has continued to blow us away each and every year. Some years, 'Kristin's Star' will leaf out almost a bright coral-pink, while others a bright orange-yellow. The chartreuse foliage with the coral tinting on the new growth gives this tree complimenting colors after the spring color has faded.
The dwarf habit of 'Kristin's Star' is what makes this tree extra special. Think of having a tree like the cultivar 'Akane' but without the fungus issues. 'Kristin's Star' is an A++ Japanese maple for sure. Fall color is typically shades of bright orange to red. We expect 'Kristin's Star' to reach 5 ft in height and width in 15 to 20 years.

Acer Palmatum 'Kurenai Jishi'

Often referred to as "the red Shishigashira", this dwarf leafs out in the early spring as a deep full red with brighter colored new growth on a mid-sized twisted leaf. The leaves on this red lion Japanese maple are tightly compact and dense around thick stemming and a large truck giving this dwarf a uniquely dignified appearance. During the summer the leaves may be green-red to green. Fall colors on Kurenai jishi are bright oranges to red. Kurenai jishi will reach about 4.5 ft tall by 3 ft wide in 10 years.
Kurenai jishi is ideal for rock gardens, fairy gardens, conifer beds, containers, or small spaces in the landscape. Named by our good friend Masayoshi Yano (one of the top maple experts in Japan), this selection brings the essence of Japan to your garden like no other Japanese maple. Kurenai jishi was brought into the United States in 2008. 'Kurenai' means deep red and 'jishi' often refers to a lion.

Acer Palmatum 'Hubble's Super Cork'

‘Hubble's Super Cork' is a new introduction of one of the best corky pinebark selections by Scott Hubble of Metro Maples in Texas. This selection creates the most corky bark of any of the rough bark Japanese maples to date, at an earlier age. This gives 'Hubble's Super Cork' an older appearance at an early age. The foliage is green during the summer, turning to orange to red in fall. We expect 'Hubble's Super Cork' to reach 8-10 ft in 15 years. 


Top 5 Common Japanese Maples for Bonsai

Acer Palmatum 'Mikawa Yatsubusa'

When we go visit nurseries, we often ask the nurserymen and women, "What is your favorite Japanese maple? 'Mikawa yatsubusa' is definitely the most popular answer. When the North American Branch of the Maple Society started the Maple of the Year Program, 'Mikawa yatsubusa' won the first award.
'Mikawa yatsubusa' is a tightly layering dwarf green Japanese maple. In the spring, the leaves are bright chartreuse green with a red sheath to the petiole. This makes this dwarf with a layering shingle-like habit extremely beautiful. 'Mikawa yatsubusa' is extremely slow growing and difficult to propagate. Fall color on 'Mikawa yatsubusa' is a bright fiery red in the fall color. 'Mikawa yatsubusa' may reach 4-5 ft in 15 years. 'Mikawa yatsubusa' is extremely heat tolerant and overall, a very hardy tree. 'Mikawa yatsubusa' is great for container plants, small places in the garden, fairy gardens, and conifer troughs.
We have an extremely old 'Mikawa yatsubusa' at my uncle's home at Hill Stone Arboretum which serves as one of our display gardens. It is one of the largest 'Mikawa yatsubusa' that I know of.

Acer Palmatum 'Shishigashira'

‘Shishigashira’ is a very unique upright green Japanese maple cultivar. The deep green leaves are crinkled with compact branching that adds to the amazing architectural shape of the tree. The growth habit is very dense branching with a widening effect midway up on mature trees. The color of this Japanese maple in early spring is a deep green and it holds this color very well throughout the entire summer. In the autumn ‘Shishigashira’ puts on an amazing show of deep yellows and golden shades with hints of red and orange.
This cultivar is often referred to as Lion’s Head in America but a more literal translation refers to the head of a specific female lion character in Japanese drama. When witnessing the amazing fall spectrum on this Japanese maple it is easy to see how this majestic look has become associated with a lion’s mane. ‘Shishigashira’ grows well in sun or shade though we have noticed the tree consistently grows larger in filtered light. The height of Lionshead can reach 8-12 ft over time. The Lion's Head is a favorite in the bonsai trade for its unique growth habit and is also an excellent Japanese maple tree for container growing for a porch or patio. 'Shishigashira' makes a great addition for anyone looking for something a little interesting, unique, and outside the box.

Acer Palmatum 'Shin Deshojo'

‘Shin deshojo' leafs out in the early spring as a bright fiery red. The spring red is nearly unmatched in its brightness. By late spring, the foliage fades to a dark green for the summer. In autumn, 'Shin deshojo' turns to a bright fire engine red. Because of the smaller leaves and dynamically contrasting color, 'Shin deshojo' is a favorite in the landscape. 'Shin deshojo' won the 2018 Maple of The Year Award with the Maple Society. 'Shin deshojo' is also a popular Japanese maple for bonsai. 'Shin deshojo' may reach 10 ft in 10 years.

Acer Palmatum 'Kiyohime'

'Kiyohime' is a dwarf spreading Japanese maple that has a nice purple-red border in the early spring on each tiny leaf. The habit is dense and multi-branched getting much wider than tall. In 10 years, 'Kiyohime' may be 2-3 ft in height by 6-7 ft in width. 'Kiyohime', sometimes referred to as ‘Kiyohime yatsubusa’, is exceptionally heat tolerant. Fall color on 'Kiyohime' is typically bright red to deep maroon. 'Kiyohime' is great for containers and is a staple in the bonsai trade.

Acer Palmatum 'Nishiki Gawa'

‘Nishiki gawa’ is one of the most popular Japanese maples in Japan. This cultivar has a very unique “pinebark” habit. The “pinebark” appears on older growth as the juvenile bark matures. Nishiki gawa is a classic tree and adds a unique look to any garden. ‘Nishiki gawa’ can reach up to 10-12 feet in 15 years. The pine-like bark is bound to catch anyone’s eye as it stands out beautifully on a tree with palmatum leaves. Fall color can range from yellow to orange-red.

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