By Rachel Rubin
Nature has a revitalizing effect on people. Just walking in the park or sitting beneath a tree can turn a frown upside down. Luckily, you don't need acres upon acres to achieve the desired effect; sometimes just having a garden of your own can relax and center you. A shade garden in particular, built around the versatile and resilient Japanese Maple can work wonders on your life.
Rich in color and variety, the Japanese maple can grow upwards of 15 to 25 feet tall. They require little maintenance, making them accommodating to all tastes and any space restrictions. Japanese maples also thrive in a number of environments, which sets it apart from most foliage. It's no wonder, then, that Japanese maples are among the most sought-after garden trees in existence. Here are just 15 species for you to choose from.
The Beni Kawa is the perfect Japanese aple for all seasons. The Beni Kawa features tiny green leaves that tend to turn a golden-yellow during autumn. Also, it looks great in the winter against the white backdrop of snow. It grows well in the shade. Just make sure you keep it somewhat moist at all times. It generally stands 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide once its grown to its full potential.
This is one of the smaller Japanese maples, but it’s widely considered one of the best when it comes to branching and shape. The leaves, which tend to grow in a shingle formation, are bright green in the summer and then become yellow-orange during the winter months. The Mikawa Yatsubusa is also a favorite of bonsai enthusiasts given its tiny size.
Often described as a weeping maple, the Ryusen has a really unique vibe among the Japanese Maples. Its long branches often scrape the ground, while its leaves point upright. It's a great tree if you have water in your garden since the tree can reflect off your pond or brook, or even graze it, while still getting the sunlight it needs to grow. The Ryusen typically doesn't grow taller than 6 feet.
Peaches and Cream
Peaches and Cream is known for its veiny foliage, as well as its vibrant colors. In the fall its colors turn a rich red and orange. It's a hearty tree that's able to thrive in most climates, which is good news given that everyone can benefit from some relaxation. Peaches and Cream grow upwards of 10 feet high and 8 feet wide.
The Waterfall Japanese maple earned its name from its striking resemblance to cascading waterfalls. It's characterized by bright green foliage that covers the tree in abundance. Most waterfall maples grow upwards of 10 feet both in height and width. Its leaves turn yellow-orange in the fall.
Like the Golden Full Moon Japanese maple, this Japanese maple features stunning golden leaves. But on this variety, the leaves bear decidedly pink tones. During the fall, these Japanese maple leaves put on a show in shades of red, orange, and yellow. Additionally, the Autumn Moon is on the bigger side as far as Japanese maples go, reaching 25 feet in both height and width.
A great time-tested selection, this mid-sized Japanese maple tree bears rich green leaves that turn bright orange in autumn. It's sturdy and tolerates heat better than many other varieties. It takes the Viridis about 10 years to grow to its full potential, at which time it’s about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide.
A favorite among experts, this stunning Japanese maple tree offers pink buds that open into leaves colored in cream, green, and fuchsia. As the season progresses, the Murasaki Kiyohime leaves fade to green, then change to glowing shades of gold and yellow in autumn. You can expect it to grow up to a maximum of 15 feet tall and wide.
This eye-catching variety of Japanese maple tree offers a truly unique leaf situation, with much of the foliage resting in the weeping form. It plays well in the shade and grows to a height of 15 feet, and during the autumn months it changes to orange.
This is one of the most popular Japanese maple cultivars by far, and for good reason. It is a perfect pick for the spring and summer, when its purple hues turn slightly pink. And, in the fall, it begins to turn orange and red. It’s a rather small tree; it won't grow above 6 feet at any point during its lifetime.
This is one of the smaller Japanese maples, and it starts out as a nice pink and green. However, during the summer months, its leaves turn green with a hint of yellow. It prefers shade in the warmer months so its leaves don’t get scorched, and it generally grows to a height of about 6 feet.
A small upright maple tree, the Shishigashira is definitely worth considering if you like that lush, weeping look. At its peak, this Japanese wonder will reach almost 15 feet, so it’s considered to be in the medium size range. Also, it has a very rich heritage, as it’s named after the mythical lioness from a popular Japanese drama. All around, it’s a winner.