I've had this Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Atropurpureum' for over twenty years now. I mistreat it dreadfully - I keep it in a pot (as it prefers acid soil and ours is lime) which is on a south-west facing patio. I try to keep it in the shadiest (!) spot closest to the house and most years just about manage to keep the leaves from going brown and crispy. I should really move it onto the shady lower garden patio, but I love to look at the leaves in close-up on a daily basis. In spite of my treatment, it still rewards me at this time of the year with this gorgeous foliage which then turns a fiery red in the Autumn. I've underplanted it with Creeping Jenny, (you can just see peeping through in the photograph) which provides a good contrasting lime green foliage. I'm mistreating this plant too as it prefers boggy soil, but by putting it there I've prevented it from becoming too invasive which can happen elsewhere. Even when dormant during the winter the tree's bonsai-like shape creates interest and I've also popped in some crocus and Tete a Tete daffodils into the pot to herald the spring.

Skimble likes to use it as a sun parasol on hot summer's days, stretching out fully underneath it for a lazy snooze. I'll see if I can take a picture to show you later in the year.


  1. It is so beautiful in that container, I can see why you want to keep it close to the house. Periodically I toy with the idea of getting a Japanese Maple, but they are too expensive for me to risk planticide.

  2. From the look of it - that Acer likes being mistreated!


  3. Such a beautiful tree. As MMD said, they are very pricey, so whatever you have been doing to "mistreat" it, you'd better keep doing it! (Does that make sense? I mean it obviously likes the treatment you've given it.)

  4. Oh, I think we have one of these, except it's in the ground and is green at the mo. Well green and black as it's covered with little bugs. Do yours get those, or do you spray it with something?

  5. MMD - the trick is to buy a very young one like I did and have lots of patience :)

    Esther - it should really be free in the ground and in a shady place. I'm providing neither!

    Rose - thanks. I spluttered when I found out how much they were charging for specimens like mine at the RHS show in Cardiff

    mrs be - see my reply over at your place :)


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