Great Plant Pick: Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’ Maple

Autumn Moon maple offers beautiful color in the garden from spring through fall. (Richard W. Hartlage / Great PlantPicks)

A lovely small Japanese maple, Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’ Maple, is a bold element with a quiet elegance in the garden. This deciduous tree leafs out in the spring with unusual burnt-orange color with an underlying shade of green and colors that intensify toward summer in sun conditions. Grown in shade the leaves color more pale to yellowish green tones. The striking palmate leaves have a pleated effect, reminding one of a geishas’ fan. The brightly colored foliage is resistant to burning in full sun and makes it the focal point of any planting. The slow growing nature of this tree makes it a good choice for large containers. Plant with dark green or blue green foliage plants to heighten the contrast of gold and orange tones on this specimen. Autumn full moon maple will develop its best color in light to open shade. It will grow best in rich well drained soil with regular summer watering. Very little pruning is need to maintain a beautiful specimen; only remove poorly developed branches, dead wood or broken limbs.

Size at maturity: 15 feet tall by 18 feet wide

Where: Light or open shade

Water: Regular watering

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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