Japan gets the credit for some of our favorite Gulf Coast plants; many varieties of our favorite azaleas and camellias originated there. Another local favorite is the Japanese maple. Mobile Botanical Gardens Executive Director Bill Finch says many—but not all--varieties of these beautiful trees do well in our northern Gulf Coast climate.
Japanese maples average 15-25 feet. Some varieties grow a little larger, and some are only the size of a bush. They're slow growing, so expect to pay a premium for them at area nurseries…a grower may have to keep them 4-6 years before they're big enough to sell!
Once in your yard, the color and texture of Japanese maples can be spectacular; some have finely textured leaves and others range from brilliant red to yellow to purple to green at different times of year.
One word of warning: while these trees generally tolerate shade and partial sun, they don't do well in full, blazing Gulf Coast summer sunshine.
The Mobile Botanical Gardens has a Japanese maple garden area where you can explore many different varieties. Check it out, and learn more at mobilebotanicalgardens.org.
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