If you know the cultivar name you're looking for, clicking a letter in the alphabetical listing at the bottom of this page will take you to all cultivars beginning with that letter. Alternatively, click on A to start browsing through the entire catalogue. Clicking on the highlighted cultivar names will take you to an illustration of that cultivar; either a close-up of the leaves or the whole plant. Not all of the illustrations show the spring colour and these will be amended next spring. Pictures of those cultivars not yet illustrated will also appear at the same time.
Describing and illustrating leaf colour is always going to be somewhat subjective as colour intensity is entirely dependent on light levels. Many of the illustrations here are of plants grown under glass or polythene and growth starts very early in the year when light levels are low. Furthermore, the light transmission of polythene is lower than glass and the colour spectrum is different. When planted out in the garden or growing in containers out of doors colour will be more intense and held for longer as plants will come into growth later and take advantage of higher light levels. It should be pointed out that, in northern Europe in general and the U.K. in particular, it is impossible to give a Japanese maple too much sun.
All cultivars have been assigned to a particular size range as “how big will it get?” is usually uppermost in many people’s minds. The size range for each group is an indication only as soil fertility, moisture levels and position all affect the rate of growth. The same cultivar will also produce a larger plant when grown in the ground compared to a containerised version. In addition, pruning, to which all cultivars are amenable, can be used to control height and spread: during a plant’s early years this can be especially useful.
SMALL covers from 4 to 8 feet and cultivars in this group are ideal candidates for confined spaces and patio plantings. Within this group the witch’s brooms are particularly well suited; two or three feet of growth in the first few years and all subsequent growth then fills the plant out.
MEDIUM is up to 12 to 15 feet but would generally take at least a dozen years or more to reach half that size and are therefore suitable for even the smallest garden.
LARGE will get up to 25 to 35 feet and some thought should be given to their siting although their ultimate height will not be reached for at least one hundred years. Cultivars in this group are ideally suited to producing good-sized specimens in a short time before gradually slowing down. Even if left unpruned, they are still not so big that they cannot fit into the average suburban garden. As an aside, many flowering cherries, magnolias and rhododendrons on sale at most garden centres will outgrow the majority of Japanese maples.
DISSECTUM cultivars in this catalogue are mostly low growing, being wider than tall. A few exceptions, of medium or large size and generally of upright or shrubby habit, are mentioned in the relevant descriptions.