Plain Gardening; Japanese Maples

Plain Gardening; Japanese Maples

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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

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