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Jim Putnam of HortTube's Top 5 Japanese Maples


Acer palmatum 'Inaba Shidare'

The 'Inaba shidare' Japanese maple is a magnificent cultivar renowned for its stunning burgundy and maroon foliage. This pendulous tree is a particularly vigorous grower and can tolerate full sun as well as partial shade, though it will maintain its vibrant color best with at least 3-4 hours of sunlight. The medium-sized leaves produce a bold and captivating red hue during the fall season. 'Inaba shidare' is an ideal choice for gardeners who want to create a truly eye-catching display. The 'Inaba shidare' Japanese maple cultivar is an excellent choice for any garden, patio, or large container. Boasting a wide and cascading shape, this small tree will grow to a height of 5ft within 10 years and will reach a width of 6ft. This red laceleaf Japanese maple is very hardy and adapts well to almost any situation. Its growth pattern and shape make it the quintessential Japanese maple cultivar for any location, making it an excellent choice for any outdoor living area.


Acer palmatum 'Seiryu'

The 'Seiryu' Japanese maple tree is renowned for its beauty and exceptional characteristics. It is an upright, vigorous grower with stunning dissectum leaves that are bright green in the early spring and a dazzling array of scarlet red hues during the fall. Growing up to 12-14 inches a year once it is established, the 'Seiryu' can reach heights of up to 20-22 ft. Adding a unique, exotic look to any yard, 'Seiryu' is the perfect addition as a border or specimen tree, growing relatively quickly for a Japanese maple. Its name, which is Japanese for 'blue-green dragon', speaks to its majestic beauty and unique character. 'Seiryu' is a one-of-a-kind tree that is sure to make an incredible impression in any garden. 


Acer palmatum 'Orangeola'

'Orangeola' is a breathtaking, multi-hued pendulous dissectum Japanese maple. Its deeply pendulous branches boast stunning foliage that dazzles the eye with its colors of orange, red, and green. Its new growth is an astonishingly bright red-orange that contrasts brilliantly with the older green growth below. The fall colors of 'Orangeola' are a magnificent mix of orange-red hues that make this Japanese maple truly stand out. Vigorous and hardy, 'Orangeola' typically grows to a height of 4 ft and a width of 5 ft within a period of 10 years, making it an excellent choice for the garden. Its beauty can also be utilized as a container plant, perfect for decks, patios, and other outdoor areas.


Acer palmatum 'Koto-no-ito'

The 'Koto-no-ito' Japanese Maple is a stunning selection, with its delicate and beautifully divided leaves resembling the strings of a harp. The bright green hue of these leaves in the springtime gives way to a mesmerizing array of oranges and reds in the fall. Growing to around 14 feet tall, this enchanting tree is sure to bring an exotic feel to any garden. Its upright growth habit and upright branches will ensure that it stands apart from the surrounding foliage. In Japanese, 'Koto-no-ito' means "harp strings", perfectly encapsulating the unique beauty of this Japanese Maple cultivar.


Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'

'Osakazuki' is an underutilized Japanese maple variety that is perfect for brightening up the garden. In the spring, the leaves of the tree are a vibrant chartreuse, attached to red petioles. As the summer starts, the tree creates a stunning and lively effect with its large, bright leaves. In the fall, 'Osakazuki' turns into one of the most vivid reds of any Japanese maple species, making it a great choice for spectacular autumn scenery. In 15 years, the tree can reach a height of 12-15 ft. The name of the tree comes from a type of large drinking glass in Japan, which has a similar color to the tree's vibrant fall foliage. 'Osakazuki' is an excellent choice for those looking to add a bright and cheerful touch to their landscape.

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