Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum'
- Position: full sun (but not south-facing)
- Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained neutral to acid soil
- Rate of growth:slow-growing
- Flowering period: April to May
- Hardiness: fully hardy
An elegant small tree, with deeply lobed dark purple-red leaves that turn fiery red in autumn, and tiny purple flowers in spring. This neat, slow-growing acer has an open habit, and looks dramatic silhouetted next to buildings, as a focal point in a small courtyard, or in a Japanese-style garden. It needs a sheltered spot, away from strong winds or all-day sunshine. It also looks good in a container.
- Garden care: Add a top-dressing of a well-balanced fertiliser around the base of a recently planted tree in late spring and keep it well watered. No routine pruning is required, just remove any dead, damaged or crossing branches in late autumn or winter when they are fully dormant.
Do you want to ask a question about this?If so, click on the button and fill in the box below. We will post the question on the website, together with your alias (bunnykins, digger1, plantdotty etc etc) and where you are from (Sunningdale/Glasgow etc). We'll also post the answer to your question!
Q:Problems with my Passionfruit clmber after cutting back, and an Acer that I moved?
Hi Crocus I've recently had my garden designed and am very pleased with the results, (plus many good Crocus plants). Unfortunately, my gardener had to cut back my Passionfruit climber which is about 7 years old. Whilst the other climbers (Honeysuckle / Jasmine) are starting to bud and grow back the Passionflower doesn't seem to be, - is there anything I can do to encourage growth? Also I have an Acer, (about 5 years old), which was frazzled by the sun last summer when I moved it from it's semi-shaded pot, into the ground in more sun. Now there are only a couple of buds that are appearing on the ends of some of the old stems, - should I cut back the ones that don't appear to be shooting, or again is there something I can do to encourage growth? Thanks VickieAsked on 4/12/2010 by Vickie Kirk
A:Hello Vickie, Passionfruits often don't recover from being cut back really hard, but the only thing you can do now is wait and see if it rallies around. I would be reluctant to feed it or try to push it, but do make sure it is watered when the soil gets reasonably dry. If however there are still no signs of growth by early June, then I doubt it will come good, so it may need to be replaced. As for the Acer, I would be patient and see if it does start the shoot from the other branches, but again by early June you will be able to see clearly if certain stems are dead and if they need to be cut out. Same rules apply here as to feeding and watering. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 4/12/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Tree for screening, and a white rose.....
Dear Crocus, Please could you advise me? I would like to plant a tree (or other) to screen out the neighbours house. My concern is to find a tree which can be planted near to our house without causing any problems to the building or the patio area. To the side of our house we have a paved path, about 0.5m wide and about 1m of lawn up to the fence. There is sun in the morning and again after about 2pm. I am also looking to find a white rose, long flowering and easy to maintain to reach about 1m high. Sunny position. Our soil is a bit chalky. Hope you can make some suggestions so that I can put my order in online. With thanks, MariaAsked on 2/22/2010 by M Dixon
A:Hello Maria, Ideally you should aim to plant a tree at least as far away from the house as its eventual height, so if a tree grows to 5m tall at maturity, you should plant it 5m away from your home. This rule however is made to be broken, however you should keep in mind that all large plants have the potential to lift patios or cause damage to unstable walls if the soil is very heavy or the plants get large. Therefore you need to decide if the need for privacy is greater than the risk. If you do decide to go ahead, I would opt for any of the following as they don't tend to become problematic. Acer palmatum cultivars http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.acer-palmatum/ or Pyrus salicifolia Pendula http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/trees/other-trees/deciduous/small-garden-trees/ok-for-small-gardens/pyrus-salicifolia-pendula/classid.4672/ As for the rose, Polar Star is great http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/roses/hybrid-tea-roses/bush-rose/modern-hybrid-t-&-floribunda/rosa-polar-star-=-tanlarpost-pbr/classid.1242/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 2/22/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Specimen Ceanothus or another large bushy shrub....
Good afternoon, When I was first looking for a Ceanothus to replace the one we have in our front garden, I looked on your website, but you only had small ones. Our once lovely Ceanothus has been pruned out of all recognition again this year, as I planted it a bit too near our boundary when it was a baby. I know it may come back, but it is getting ridiculous as every time it grows back it has to be cut back again severely and then ooks a mess for most of the year. Have you got a nice, tall, bushy Ceanothus to replace it? I love my Ceanothus but perhaps if you don't have a big one, do you have another large, flowering shrub as an alternative? Hope you can help Regards MargaretAsked on 12/5/2009 by D DRAKETT
A:Hello Margaret, it is rare to find larger sized Ceanothus as they are usually quite short-lived and don't normally live longer than 6 - 8 years. We do have a selection of larger shrubs on our site like Hamamelis, Hydrangeas, Magnolias, Acer, Cornus, Cotinus, Philadelphus, Syringa and Viburnum, so you may find something of interest. They will be listed in this section. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 12/8/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Acers for a south-facing garden, or another small tree?
Hello, We live in a mid-terrace house and our garden is south facing. We're looking to get small trees that could live happily in pots and really like Acers. We like them because of the wondeful autumn foliage, but the indication that I seem to be getting from looking at your website is that Acers don't like south-facing, full-sun gardens. What could we do if we wanted Acers, or what would you recommend instead? We're looking for a smallish tree, with nice, colorful foliage. Cheers and regards, RichardAsked on 11/20/2009 by Richard Cote
A:Hello Richard, If you want to grow Acer palmatums then you will need to provide some light shade for them during the hottest part of the day - often you can plant them closer to a wall or fence which will offer some protection. Alternatively you can click on the following link to go to all our small trees, which will flourish in a south facing aspect. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/trees/plcid.7/vid.37/vid.187/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 11/20/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Plant help with Camellia pruning, bugs on our Acer, Cornus not growing and our Philadelphus still not flowering!
I have some queries regarding a few plants purchased from Crocus which I'm hoping you can help me with. This year we purchased "Camellia ?? williamsii 'Debbie'" and it seems to be growing nicely already, however it's very straggly, it arrived with two stems tied to a cane. The stems have continues to grow, and it's now tied to a longer cane, but it's showing no signs of bushing out. Will it do this with more time or do we need to start pruning to encourage it? We also bought "Cornus alba 'Sibirica'(red-barked dogwood)" and have it in a nice sunny position. It's lost its leaves for the winter and the stems are lovely, but it hasn't grown at all since we bought it (in June). Is this normal or do I need to do anything specific to help it along? We bought a Japanese Maple "(Acer palmatum var. dissectum Atropurpureum Group)" a few years ago but has recently become infested with some kind of beetle. We didn't notice anything, until we were moving the tub at the weekend and found the tree, soil and side of the pot coated in little grey/brown beetles slightly bigger than aphids. I've sprayed it with a pesticide which seems to have killed them, but I'm wondering what they were and what if anything can be done to ensure they don't come back, preferably without having to keep coating it with pesticides. Finally, we also bought a Mock Orange (Philadelphus Manteau d'Hermine). We originally had it in a tub, where it grew at an enormous rate, but it had no flowers. This year it seemed to be pot-bound, so we transplanted it into the garden, in a nice sunny position. It has continued to grow in both width and height, but to date has still had no flowers. Any suggestions? Thanks MarkAsked on 10/21/2009 by Anonymous
A:Hello Mark, Young Camellias can be very variable in shape, and some pruning is often needed to encourage a balanced, bushy shape. If yours is long and thin, then you can encourage it to bush out by pinching out the growing tips and shorten over-long stems. Ideally this should be done in spring, after it has finished flowering but before the leaf buds break. As for the Cornus, it may simply be concentrating on putting on new root growth rather than top growth, or perhaps you have very heavy soil, which will slow growth down. You should not really be feeding many plants at this time of the year as you can do more harm than good by encouraging new growth at this time of the year. I would however expect to see some signs of growth in spring next year, at which point you can start feeding again. I am not really sure what insects you found on your Acer, but it may have been woodlice. These are completely harmless, but they do eat decaying organic matter such as leaves etc and they do like cool, damp spots to hide out in. Finally, there are a number of reasons why plants don't flower including too much shade, not enough water or nutrients, or pruning at the wrong time of the year. I am not really sure why yours has not produced buds, but you can often give them a bit of a push by feeding with a high potash fertiliser during the growing season. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 10/22/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Will an Acer, Weeping Willlow and Beech grow in clay soil?
Hello, Will a Japanese Maple, Weeping Willow and a Copper Beech do well in deeply clay soil ? Thank youAsked on 10/15/2009 by Wendy Hall
A:Hello There, As long as the soil does not remain waterlogged for any length of time and you can dig in lots of sharp sand and composted organic matter, these plants should be fine. The willow will olerate a little more moisture than the other two. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 10/16/2009 by Wendy Hall
Q:Fungus and dry leaves on Acer?
Hi there, I have noticed in the last week that one of my Acers has developed very dry yellowed leaves and a white soft fungus on its bark, what do you think this could be? My other Acers are fine, but I'm worried that this will spread. What can I do to remove/avoid this? Kind regardsAsked on 9/14/2009 by nikki craig
A:Hello There, Acers are prone to a number of pests and diseases, but I suspect yours is suffering from a wooly scale - just click on the following link for more information. http://www.crocus.co.uk/pestsanddiseases/_/pests-and-diseases/stems/artcat.6/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 9/23/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
My Acer isn't doing well. It was purchased in April and took a while to get established once we planted it in it's current large container. It was looking quite robust until this past month, when it's began to look dry and dead in parts. We have removed it from a rather windy position and placed it in a sheltered area on our roof terrace, and continue to water it regularly. Any advice would be very appreciated. Many thanks ColinAsked on 7/29/2009 by Smith, Colin
A:Hello Colin, Acers have incredibly delicate leaves and I suspect yours has been scorched somehow. This can be caused by a number of things including not enough water, too much sun, temperatures that are either too hot or too cold, chemicals such as weed killers that have drifted in the wind and too much fertilizer. The most likely cause however is wind, as these plants especially dislike this and it always causes the leaves to discolour and die off. They are not ideally suited to roof terraces because of this, so I would move it to a much more sheltered spot if you can. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 1/1/0001 by Crocus Helpdesk
I have tried twice unsuccessfully to try and grow Acers. I love them, but they don't seem to survive in the pots. I am using ericaceous soil, i hope that is correct. It was in a partially shaded area, but for some reason they doesn't survive. Help, I want one in my garden and when I see those in the street who have well grown, old maples that look beautiful, I'm afraid I am filled with envy as I can't seem to grow one in my garden. Advice please Desperate Acer loverAsked on 7/19/2009 by Shahla Samad
A:Hello There, Acers will grow in either neutral or acidic soil, and most will tolerate sun or light shade, especially through the hottest part of the day. The most important thing though is that they must have shelter from wind and they need to be kept well watered, but not waterlogged. Make sure the pot they are kept in is reasonably large and doesnt dry out to quickly, but the drainage holes allow all the excess water to drain away freely. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 7/20/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Help with a Japanese-style corner please?
Hello, I was wondering if you could please advise me with a planting related matter. We have a small area in front of our kitchen which has the (grotesque) wheelie bin next to it and then the front door. We thought a minimalist (fuss-free) Japanese scheme would work best. Because it is partially shaded, we decided that three Japanese Acers of different foliages (tall, medium, and small heights) placed in planters would brighten up that corner. However, before doing so, we wanted to know if the three Acers ought to have barriers between them or not and what plants would complement the Japanese look for ground cover, perhaps an ornamental grass. If so which varieties would work best for year round interest? Should we use a multipurpose compost for all these plants? We'd appreciate any other helpful tips you can give. Many thanks, MunaAsked on 7/10/2009 by Muna Hai
A:Hello again Muna, While it is true that Acers will not like disturbance to their roots, I have never heard of them needing a barrier, or that you cannot underplant them. When choosing what to plant it is
worthwhile looking at the eventual height and spread of a plant. For example the Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum' will eventually grow to 6m tall x 8m wide, the Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' will grow to 5mtall x 6m wide and Acer palmatum 'Sango-Kaku' will grow to 6m tall x 5m wide. Therefore, the choice will be dependant on how much room you need to fill, and the effect you want to create. As for the Liriope, I have never heard of one called Aureum, so I am not sure which one you are
referring to. Best regards, Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 7/13/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
A:Many thanks for the early reply, Helen as I do need to sort it all out soon. The barrier I was referring to was for the roots as I've been told Acers don't like to be fussed about with, which is why I was thinking Ishouldn't plant anything else around it in the same planter, other Acers,or even ground cover plants? Also, bearing in mind they're slow-growing, these are the Acers I've ordered. Please would let me know if I'm still mistaken in ordering so many? If there was one or two to keep and complement each other, which one(s) would they be? I probably still have time to change my order. Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum', Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium', Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'. Thanks for the Liriope suggestion. Is Aureum (the one without flowers) similar? Regards, MunaAnswered on 7/13/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
A:Hello Muna, My initial thought is that 1 Acer would probably be enough as most of them will get quite large as they grow. I am not really sure what you mean by needing barriers (roots or foliage screen?), as I have never heard of this with an Acer. Japanese Acers are beautiful plants and generally colour up well in autumn, but they will need a good amount of sun for this to happen, and then they lose all their leaves in winter, so you are left with bare twigs. Therefore your best option may be to have evergreen groundcover such as Liriope which looks a little like a grass, Pachysandra or Luzula to provide interest until the Acers puts on new growth again in the spring. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 7/13/2009 by Muna Hai
Make the most of over 3000 years of gardening tradition by creating an oriental-style garden. Originally designed as a place for intellectual contemplation and meditation, they are an ideal sanctuary from the pressures of modern living. Japanese gardens aRead full article
Who can resist the allure of water in the garden? The gentle gurgle of a running stream creates a sense of calm and tranquillity, while a simple pond makes a focal point with magnetic appeal. You can create lush and natural-looking planting to show off thRead full article
The garden is at its most dormant right now, so it’s a good time to catch up on any pruning missed or forgotten since the autumn. If the weather isn’t favourable, you can leave it for a week or two, but make sure all winter pruning is completed before theRead full article
Japanese maples make elegant focal points in a garden and seen in their full glory of autumn colour are absolutely breathtaking. They mix well with brilliant autumn-berries, picking up reds and oranges all around the garden. Although many species of mapleRead full article