How palmate maple is grown
The palmate maple or Japanese maple (Acer palmatum Thunb.) Is a shrub of the Sapindaceae family, native to the Far East (Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China). This plant, in its areas of origin, is found in hilly and mountain broad-leaved woods in a temperate climate on soil rich in organic substance.
The reproductive structures of Acer palmatum are small flowers that have a purple calyx and white crown, gathered in patent or erect corymbs: The small fruits are samari with the part containing the rounded heme and short wings, diverging by about 160 °.
Acer palmatum are plants resistant to even intense cold, although due to the thinness of the branches they do not withstand the load of snow.
For their cultivation it is good to use deep well-drained soils with a pH not tending to alkaline and non-calcareous.
It has no particular needs as regards the type of terrain and altitude (from 100 to 1300 meters above sea level), but it fears water stagnation and excessively cold currents.
The plants also prefer exposure to the sun or, at least, in partial shade, depending, however, on the variety; in any case, shading is recommended during hours with excessive insolation in warmer climates (in particular for green or variegated leaf varieties).
As for pruning, it is never done except to eliminate some damaged or dry branches. In fact, plants tolerate pruning poorly, especially the more severe ones, to which it reacts poorly.
Some very beautiful specimens can be used only as solitary plants and to enhance their shapes and colors they are combined with a parterre of ground cover herbaceous plants. The more dwarf varieties find a right use in rock gardens as well as in the art of bonsai.
Acer palmatum has been cultivated for centuries in Japan for its posture and the beauty of the foliage, particularly evident in autumn when it takes on a lively red color.
This plant is widely cultivated in nurseries where numerous cultivars can be found, mainly reproduced by cuttings. Much appreciated also in the bonsai technique, thanks to the great adaptability to cultivation in pots.
The palmate maple is a very popular plant as an ornamental.
This plant was domesticated by the Japanese in very remote times. More than a thousand cultivars have been selected, which differ in some aspect related to the leaves, for the posture, the rind, the flowers and the fruits.