We usually think of fall as the time when maples are at their most colorful, and this is certainly true for most of them. With Japanese maples, brilliant fiery reds are what we expect – and get – in fall, but why not have a tree in your garden that starts the season that way? The Bonfire Japanese Maple really does live up to its name, making a roaring blaze in spring, with the most brilliant orange-pink to coral-red leaves of any variety known. You don’t need to worry about fall either, because its deeper but still vibrant red tones at that season make for a fabulous display that rivals the big trees overhead.
The Bonfire Japanese Maple is upright, somewhat slender tree, reaching about 5 feet tall and just 3 feet wide in 10 years. The growth during this phase is relatively rapid, and after that the tree fills in, adding a few inches more each year, until fully-mature specimens may eventually reach 12 feet in height. The leaves have 5 to 7 narrow lobes, spreading out like a hand with the fingers stretching out, and a graceful, refined look. In spring the new leaves unfold gradually, with their margins a brilliant orange-pink or coral color. The center remains for a time lighter, making each leaf really glow. The full intensity of color is reached on plants in sunlight, and they will almost catch fire, so brilliant is the coloring. This is a tree that will bring your garden alive in spring as no other tree can do. As summer comes the fires go out, leaving your tree a beautiful calm green, tempering the summer heat with its coolness. The green is rich and may become a little bluish, a very unusual color for Japanese maples. Then in fall the fires return, as your tree takes on vibrant, rich reds and warm oranges, quite different from the pinker tones of spring.
Not only is the Bonfire Japanese Maple beautiful, it is versatile in the garden too. It is tall enough for a specimen in a bed, out in the garden or around your home. It is lovely for courtyard planting, or in Japanese influenced gardens. With its slender twigs it is also a wonderful choice for container planting, on a balcony, terrace or patio. Grow it with lower shrubs beneath it in large planters, or in a beautiful pot of its own. This is also a popular subject to develop into a bonsai tree, and then its coloring will really be appreciated. The great benefit in growing the Bonfire Japanese Maple in a container is that you can move it around to give it the best light conditions as the seasons shift. You can also make sure it always has enough water. Containers and planters should have drainage holes and use a well-drained potting soil. If necessary, add up to 20% coarse sand or fine gravel to ordinary potting soil. Good drainage is important, and it keeps the roots healthy even if your tree is regularly watered.
The Bonfire Japanese Maple Tree is hardy all through zone 6, and in warmer zones, thriving in rich, moist, and well-drained soil. It should be grown in full sun if there is sufficient moisture at the roots – which is why container growing is so useful – or some afternoon shade is beneficial, and it will prevent the leaves from scorching. Pests and diseases are normally not a problem, and given suitable light levels and moisture, this tree is not hard to grow at all.
The Japanese Maple, Acer palmatum, has been grown in Japanese gardens for centuries. The wild tree grows in forests there, as well as in parts of China and Korea. Hundreds of different forms have been collected in Japan, and the range of varieties is greater than for any other tree. Many different varieties travel from nurseries in Japan to America and to Europe, and because of these multiple sources, the Bonfire Japanese Maple has several different names. This tree is also known as ‘Seigai’, ‘Akajii nishiki’, and ‘Wilson’s Pink Dwarf’. We will leave the decision of whether these are all the same tree to the experts, but we do know that we have found some top-quality plants, with excellent coloring in both spring and fall, and ‘Bonfire’ is definitely one of our favorites. If you love vibrant color, you will adore this tree – and so will our many customers who come specifically to choose from our ever-changing varieties of Japanese maples. This top plant will soon be gone, so order now, while our stock is still available.