If there is one tree above all others that captures the spirit of Autumn then it has to be the Acer. These versatile trees come in a spectrum of colours, but Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum varieties) are possibly the most ideal for creating Autumn colour in the garden. At Coolings we grow hundreds of these plants each year on our own nursery.
• Acers are happiest grown in acidic soil (ericaceous) and in dappled shade. The best Autumn colours are achieved in these conditions.
• Ideal for smaller gardens as they grow well in large containers for a stunning focal point, select a study pot around twice the size of the one the Acer is already in.
• Autumn is the best time to plant an Acer.
• Plant in a mix of equal-parts ericaceous compost and John Innes No.3.
• Good for a shady spot in the garden.
Did you know?
The changing colour of Acer leaves in autumn is caused by the shift in concentration of three photosynthetic pigments in the leaves, brought on by reduced daylight hours and lower temperatures. The three pigments represent green, yellow/orange, and red/purple. The leaf colour changes as these pigments break down and this is affected by environmental conditions, which explains why plants of the same species produce more spectacular colours in different geographical areas or from one year to the next.
Here are some of our favourite varieties for Autumn and Winter interest…
Acer ‘Sango Kaku’ The coral bark maple leaves turn a golden yellow in Autumn and the striking red bark is a stunning Winter feature.
Acer ‘Bi Ho’ A fabulous variety with orangey-yellow stems for Winter interest, providing all year round interest.
Acer ‘Osakazuki’ This stronger growing Acer is regarded as the very best for Autumnal colour change as it transforms from green to a blazing mix of yellows and reds.
Acer ‘Garnet’ This fantastic Acer is the perfect choice for growing in a pot. The beautiful dissected purple foliage is carried from Spring to Autumn.
Acer ‘Red Wine’ A promising new variety to look out for this Autumn! Bronze-tinted foliage turns green with red tips in the Spring.
Acer ‘Shaina’ Lovely maple with leaves that turn crimson in Autumn.
Don’t forget to pick up some Acer Feed to encourage healthy growth and vibrant colours, suitable for Acers in borders, pots and containers. For best results, apply to the soil during planting – one feed lasts a whole season and the packet is resealable ready to store for next season.