Japanese maples for containers

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Jill O, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Jill O

    Jill O New Member

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    Hello - I'm new to the UBC Botanical forum, but have enjoyed a number of visits to the UBC gardens over the years (I live near Victoria). I have a small balcony, in full sun, and would dearly love to grow a green-leafed Japanese maple in a container, so need one that is dwarf and not prone to sun scorch. I tried a lovely Viridis this year, but it definitely scorched altho' it was marked as sun tolerant. Any recommendations? Many thanks, Jill
     
  2. Geezer840

    Geezer840 Active Member

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    Two small sun tolerant container maples I would suggest are a Hupps Dwaf and Beni Hoshi.
    These
    are both smaller trees. What size are you looking for?
     
  3. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Member

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    The generic green acer palmatum (commonly used as rootstock) is excellent. 'Higasayama' meets your requirements though it is variegated - very interesting in spring! 'Butterfly' is another. 'Seiryu' is a green laceleaf that would work for you too. I think Acer shirasawanum 'Autumn Full Moon' is yet another possible choice.
     
  4. Jill O

    Jill O New Member

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    Thanks - I had a look at those, and they're very dwarf indeed. My ideal would probably be one that I could keep around 5-6 ft tall, so that it provides a bit of shade to some of my other plants. It's a real challenge going from a half acre garden to a small balcony!!
     
  5. Jill O

    Jill O New Member

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    Thanks - I had a Seiryu in my former large garden and loved it. It does seem highly recommended for full sun, so perhaps now that I've come to terms with the idea of root pruning, I could find one to fit on my balcony.
     
  6. Bill

    Bill Active Member 10 Years

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    Seiryu is a beautiful plant - the only dissectum that grows up instead of spreading out, but they will get pretty large given time. I had a couple that were 6' tall and 8'+ across.

    For reasonably small, try Beni Hime, Abigail Rose, Baldsmith (excellent leaf form!), Coonara Pygmy, Mikawa Yatsubusa, Murasaki Kyohime, or Sharp's Pygmy, offering only examples from my garden. Growing in container often tends to keep them a bit smaller and slower growing, but watch the moisture - they can also dry out pretty quick in hot weather.
     
  7. Jill O

    Jill O New Member

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    Thanks for all the names Bill - there's a good place just outside of Courtenay (Outback Nursery) with a large selection of Japanese maples, so next time I'm up there, I'll take everyone's suggestions with me and see what they might have. 6 ft for a Seiryu would probably be OK, and I could perhaps do some judicious pruning to deal with the width. Where do you buy most of yours? I'm not often on the mainland, but a nursery run is always appealing. Cheers, Jill
     
  8. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Member

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    I agree about Sharp's Pygmy - small leaves! It occurred to me that I forgot to list it as well as Hogyoku (pumpkin orange fall color) and
    Koto no Ito (nice green thread leaf that does quite in full sun - beautiful golden strings at fall).

    IMHO, good drainage is the most important aspect of container gardening. I grow acer palmatum and shirasawanum bonsai in pots as shallow as 1 inch. My bonsai substrate is nothing but calcined clay (Turface MVP). I retains moisture and is extremely well draining, but non-compacting which means the roots must be wired into the pot (and daily watering). This becomes a real problem with tall (more than about 1 meter) trees. A mix of bark chips with roughly half to an equal amount of top/potting soil drains very well and saves me from having to wire the roots to the pot.

    I use a keyhole saw when 're-potting'. I simply jam it into the soil and cut to the bottom of the pot, 3 to 6 inches in from the pot wall. I then dig out this outer ring of soil and roots, and then replace it with 'fresh' mix of bark and dirt. From my experience, this works better the larger the tree/pot and is necessary no more often than once every two years. My method for small trees is to pop the root pad/ball out of the pot (or knock the pot off), comb the roots from the soil on the outer edges of the pad, prune those exposed roots, and then replace the tree in the pot (wiring in the roots), filling with fresh substrate. Leaving big patio trees in their pot seems to solve the problem of movement (due to wind, say) right after 'repotting'/root pruning (i.e., no extra 'apparatus' is needed for stability). As long as it continues to drain well, it never needs to be lifted from the pot.

    Of course, you can always use your favorite soil mix. As long as it is somewhat compacting, I think this method could work for you as well as it has for me.
     
  9. dangerine49

    dangerine49 New Member

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    I have a Sango Kaku in a large container in my backyard with full sun exposure and no significant sun scorch. A beautiful upright tree and it changes color from spring to summer to fall with interesting red bark in winter. One of my favorites.

    P.S. My favorite is an Autumn Moon but it is much more susceptible to sun scorch.
     

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  10. Jill O

    Jill O New Member

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    Thanks - Sango Kaku is a stunner as well, and the coral bark would be nice to look out at during the winter. I had a full moon maple in my former garden as well, and agree they need pretty much full shade. The idea of having to choose only ONE is a bit crazy-making, but there will be some pleasant time wandering through nurseries while I decide.
     

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  11. Bill

    Bill Active Member 10 Years

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    It occurs to me that another maple that might be interesting is Ukigomo. It is green/white variegated (be careful - I have seen a few that are called this but are just green). It takes to container growing quite well and it looks unusual and doesn't seem to scorch in the sun.

    FloatingCloud-sca1-1000.jpg
     
  12. Jill O

    Jill O New Member

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    Now that's a lovely looking plant, isn't it! It does look as though it might be sensitive to the full sun on my balcony, though, which also is a bit open to the wind. Somewhat dicey conditions for maples overall, but I'm determined. I've been reading other Japanese maples forums, and think I need to adjust my soil mix as well. It's been fairly good for me in the past, but with a recent move to dwarf conifers (another new passion) but I think could use better drainage. Thanks for your ongoing input, Bill.
     

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