Part of the pleasure of Japanese maples is the diversity of their form, both in the leaves and in the shape of the plant. Some are large, others are small. They can be upright or weeping, and the leaves can be broad or narrow. For unique leaf form, the Koto Ito Komachi Japanese Maple is up there among the best. It has extremely long, thin and elegant leaf lobes, which hang from the stems to create a unique look. Combine this with a slow-growing plant that is perfect for pots or bonsai culture, and you have something very desirable indeed. Whether your garden is filled with variety, or you have a minimalist taste, with just a handful of choice plants in an Asian-influenced setting, this is a Japanese maple you will love to grow.
The Koto Ito Komachi Japanese Maple grows slowly into an upright tree between 4 and 6 feet tall after 10 years of growth. By that time it will be 3 or 4 feet wide, forming a dome-shaped tree on an upright trunk. As more time passes it will slowly increase in size, becoming an ancient and very valuable specimen. The smooth bark is pale gray, and the branches ascend at a little more than 45 degrees, ending in rounded heads of foliage. This is a perfect miniature tree, and ideal for a small garden. The leaves have 5 very narrow, weeping lobes, so the overall look of this tree is graceful and open. The unique leaves have among the narrowest lobes of all the Japanese maples, which really does create a mature miniature look, rather than just looking like a small, immature tree. The leaves are pale green in spring, darkening a little in summer, and then turning wonderful orange and yellow tones in fall. Older trees will flower in spring, and the tiny, inconspicuous flowers develop into clusters of bright-red maple ‘keys’, which add to the fall colors, also creating a beautiful look during the winter months.
For lovers of Japanese maple, there is no doubt at all that the Koto Ito Komachi Japanese Maple is something very special. Because of its slower growth, it is ideal for growing in an elegant container, or for creating a Bonsai tree. Just left to grow, without any detailed training, it will naturally grow into a bonsai-like form. If you love the look of bonsai, but doubt your skill, this is an ideal tree to use, because it will naturally do almost all the work for you. In the garden it will look beautiful as a specimen among other shrubs, and it will thrive in a partially-shaded location, along with other woodland plants, under the shade of large deciduous trees.
The Koto Ito Komachi Japanese Maple will grow in sunny, partially sunny, or partially shaded locations. In zone 6 it can grow in full sun, but in warmer areas it should be placed so that it receives afternoon shade. One of the advantages of growing it in a pot is that it can be moved around the garden to give it just the right levels of light at different seasons, and also bring it out to display it when it is looking even more beautiful than usual – such as in fall. It grows best in soil that is steadily moist, but well-drained. Add plenty of rich organic material to the soil, and mulch in spring with more, over the root zone. This plant is not very drought-tolerant, so do not let the soil become completely dry, or the foliage may shrivel and brown. A little dilute liquid fertilizer in spring and early summer will encourage healthy growth. Japanese maples do not suffer from pest or diseases, and they are easy to grow if you pay attention to light levels and soil moisture.
The Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, is a small tree native to the woods of Japan. Unusual forms have been collected for many centuries by Japanese gardeners and in more recent centuries in the West as well. There are certainly more forms of this tree than of any other tree grown. It can be hard to decide on the best choices, but here at the Tree Center this is a tree we specialize in, and we always seek the crème de la crème of these trees, so that you can enjoy something special. Few of our trees are as special as the Koto Ito Komachi variety. It originated a long time ago in Japan, and the name means a small 5-stringed harp, in reference to the narrowness of the 5 lobes of the leaf. Our trees are produced by specialist growers, who take stems of the correct variety and attach them to the roots of seedling Japanese maples. Don’t be fooled by cheaper un-named varieties, which will usually just be seedlings, with no specific characteristics. They will grow into large trees of no special interest. We have many connoisseurs among our customers, who will quickly buy this very special, and rarely offered, variety. So order now, while our stocks last.