Acer palmatum Amagi shigure is a relatively new cultivar from Japan that has become one of my new favorites. I have had this beauty for a little more than two years. The growth habit is nice and open – more like a tree than a shrub and and the color throughout the growing season is amazing. The spring growth is fuchsia or a pink-purple color. The reticulated leaves have dark green veins and edges, which almost look black. The graceful growth habit accentuates the look of this cultivar in the garden. In the fall the fuchsia color darkens to a purple red.
The spring color holds well during the summer and does not fade in full sun until late summer [at least not in my climate zone 8.] The color is so unique that it easily stands apart from other maples with similar coloration such as Purple Ghost and Olsen’s Frosted Strawberry. Amagi shigure has a slow growth rate and becomes a small tree which shows off the color to the maximum because you are looking staight at it instead of looking up at a taller maple. In 10 years the estimated height is 6′ tall with a width of 4-5′. However, when small this maple may look puny and for this reason I recommend staking the central branches. In a few years the new growth begins to fill out and the stakes can be removed after a year. Remember slow growing maples use less water than those that grow fast so please adjust the water needs accordingly – don’t over water. Once established this cultivar is hardy to -20 degrees USDA zone 5.
If you love Japanese Maples as much as I do and are a Facebook user – you can learn more about these amazing trees by joining the Facebook Group – Japanese Maples and Conifers.It is free to join and the contributors have a wealth of experience with lots of photos and are available for questions. I frequently participate in discussions.
Acer palmatum Amagi shigure is a true collector’s must.
Limited availability – Due to the slow growth rate – it takes 3+ years to grow from 1 gallon to a 2 gallon size.
Primary photo courtesy of Buchholz Nursery. The second photo is courtesy of Trent Sullivan.