Japanese Maples For Small Space Living

Here's a subject I have wanted to touch on for a while. I will talk about it on YouTube soon, too. You live in a condo, or a small space and have limited space for a Japanese maple. Well, if you love Japanese maples there's no need to deprive yourself of the enjoyment of having one of these lovelies. There are many Japanese maples that are dwarf sizes-that is 6' or less. And, even most Japanese maples not considered dwarfs can be pruned to stay smaller. Let's look into this a little further.

Dwarfs, what are they? In the world of Japanese maples, a dwarf is a plant that is about 6.5' (2.2m) or less. Occasionally, some growers will refer to certain plants as a dwarf if they are extremely slow growing. There are many amazing dwarfs out there, in all the different "types", too. By this I mean, there are laceleaf (dissectum) dwarfs, strap leaf or bamboo leaf (linearilobum), upright and so forth. Some of the great dwarfs include, Acer palmatum (A.p.) 'Seiun kaku', A.p. dissectum 'Filigree', A.p. 'Shidava Gold', A.p. 'Pixie', A.p. dissectum 'Baby Lace', A.p. 'Fairyhair', A.p. 'Kamagata', A.p. 'Aratama' and many others. These trees will take up very little room on your patio, balcony or even your front step. And the best part is, very little pruning or shaping will be required with these amazing specimens. 

Now, once you move past the dwarf Japanese maples the next logical step might be to mention the weeping varieties. This includes the lace leafs (dissectums) as well as, the weepers with palmate leaves, such as Acer palmatum 'Ryusen' or 'Golden Showers'. Due to the more horizontal, layered growth habit of these trees it takes longer the trees to gain height than it would an upright growing tree. This is not to say that Acer palmatum dissectum 'Waterfall', for instance, won't eventually get to be 8' tall and wide. No, I'm just saying it takes a while to get there. And in addition to this, the growth of a Japanese maple is slowed by pruning both the living parts above the container as well as, the stuff inside the container. That is, the roots! Root pruning is done to help keep a plant healthy in it's container for longer than otherwise might be possible. There are other reasons for root pruning but they aren't related to this discussion.

The list is far too exhaustive regarding which non-dwarf trees could be utilized for small space living but here's a sampler of some fantastic trees: 

Butterfly, Red Pygmy, Kinshi, Shaina, Crimson Queen, Peaches and Cream, Shishigashira, Shin Deshojo, Kiyo hime, Sharp's Pygmy, Kandy Kitchen and many, many more. 

Utilizing the right potting mix, taking advantage of the growing conditions your location may offer, and a little knowledge of how to shape your tree will go a long way towards maintaining amazing Japanese maples in your small spaces. Really, it's totally possible! Japanese maples are one of nature's more forgiving trees when it comes to life in a  container.  It's kind of like Japanese maples don't mind living in small spaces either!  

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