The Ribbon-leaf Japanese Maple grows into a large shrub or small tree. In ten years, it may be 6 to 8 feet tall, and 5 to 7 feet wide. After that it will grow slowly into a larger plant, but never getting too large, so it is ideal for smaller spaces. Upright in form, but with long leaves that hang down, creating a relaxed, slightly pendulous appearance, this is a stunningly beautiful plant, with an enormous impact in the garden, and it will win you over with its special beauty. The foliage is the outstanding feature. The leaves in spring are a rich, deep-red to purple color, and divided into 5 large lobes, sometimes with two additional smaller ones at the sides. Each lobe is extremely long, and narrow – which is why the name ‘ribbon-leaf’ is given to this plant. Because the lobes are significantly longer than in any other Japanese maples with divided leaves, they create a distinctive pendulous look, which gives this tree its special character.
The leaves emerge in spring in a gorgeous deep-red to purple color. As the summer develops they may turn more bronze and eventually dark green. That green period is brief, because as soon as fall arrives, your Ribbon-leaf Japanese Maple will put on a fantastic color display, exploding into vibrant shades of red and orange. The spring leaves have the narrowest lobes. Later leaves may have broader lobes, creating a fuller look in summer and fall.
Japanese maples are remarkable trees, for their great charm and beauty, but also for the enormous variety of forms available. Whatever your tastes and needs, there is a tree that will satisfy you. From upright to weeping, dwarf to full size, and in a wide range of leaf-types, Japanese maples are so diverse you could fill a garden with them alone. Here at the Tree Center, this is a plant we specialize in, and we offer a large and constantly-changing range of varieties – including both basic standards and specialty trees that are rarely available. All of them are selected for their outstanding features, reliability and relative ease of growth. With the Ribbon-leaf Japanese Maple, we offer a bit of both, since this is an older variety that has stood the test of time, but not one that is widely available, so it also falls into the category of ‘rare’.
With its upright form, the Ribbon-leaf Japanese Maple is ideal to give some height in a small garden, without taking over. If you have an Asian-styled space, with this tree and a couple of other plants, your garden will be complete. In a larger garden this tree will become an outstanding focal point, maturing into your favorite tree, and amazing your family and friends with its glory. It also makes an excellent plant for bonsai, or for planting in a planter or large pot, so you can enjoy this beauty even if you have little or no garden space at all.
Plant your Ribbon-leaf Japanese Maple in full sun if you live in a cooler area, or in a location with dappled shade, or afternoon shade, if you live in a hotter place. The shade will protect the foliage from being scorched and shriveling. Japanese Maples grow best in rich, moist, well-drained soil, and benefit from plenty of organic material. Add this when planting, and again each spring as mulch. During the early years, keep your tree well-watered, and don’t let it become completely dry, even when it is more mature.
The Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, is a small tree from Japan, China and Korea. It grows naturally in the shade of taller trees, so it has a natural tolerance for shade, making it a great choice for more shaded gardens. Special forms of this tree have been collected for centuries, and have been coming to the West for the last two hundred years. We know exactly the origin of some varieties, and little about others. The Ribbon-leaf Japanese Maple is one of those we know little about. It seems to have arrived in western gardens around 1881, but nothing more is known. It belongs to a special small group of these trees, known as the ‘Linearilobum Group’. There are several related trees in the group, and the precise naming can become confused. Some have plain green leaves, still with those characteristic narrow lobes, but this one is very special, since it also has the much-loved purple leaves that are seen in other popular varieties of Japanese maple.
We have been able to find a good supply of this special tree, that is rarely available, yet very desirable. If you want to grow one of the most spectacular and striking Japanese maples available, order now, as we know our limited supply will not last long at all.