To celebrate Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides, I bring you Acer palmatum ‘Red Pygmy’.
This is an unusual Japanese Maple cultivar has incredibly long, often twisted and deeply cut leaves that open deep maroon in spring (and on new growth) and then turn to red/bronze in cool-summer climates like mine in summer: however, if yours is an area with warm-hot summers or if the plant receives too much shade then the summer foliage will simply be dark-green.
In autumn the leaves change to shades of yellow-orange rather than the fiery reds typically associated with the genus, so it makes a nice contrast alongside other maples or against dark green foliage plants.
As with any of the dissected Japanese Maples, protection from strong wind is essential as winds will desiccate the leaves and can dehydrate the plant, even if the soil is moist.
This need for shelter is made more difficult by the fact that most of the cut-leaf cultivars have red/purple leaves, meaning they need ample, yet gentle sunshine to retain that leaf colour (and let’s face it, a full sun position that receives afternoon shade and shelter from winds is often mutually exclusive!).
‘Red Pygmy’ will take about 20 years to get to about 2.5m tall by 2m wide (9′ x 6′) so is great for small spaces, large pots and sheltered courtyards.
Happy GBFD and happy gardening 🙂