Acer palmatum Ryu sei has a green leaf shaped like a star and has a pendulous or weeping habit. So the Japanese named it Ryu sei – ‘falling star’ which is the perfect name. This maple needs to be staked for height. If left to grow without staking it would be a carpet of green covering the ground. Therefore, when the lead or terminal branch is staked for height it allows the lower branches to fall softly along-side. Stars falling to the ground rather than laying on the ground. Spring growth is lemon green turning to a true green in the summer. Fall color is orange to scarlet-red. The pruning and staking of this maple is very important. For more information check out Care of Japanese Maplesand Pruning Japanese Maples.
Acer palmatum Ryu sei is an awesome looking maple when properly planted and staked. It is really spectacular when planted on a mound, cliff or along a wall allowing the branches to cascade down lower then the base. For Ryu sei height is really determined by staking. Without staking this cultivar will be more prostrate than high. But when staked to 6 or 7 feet or even taller the name falling star is realized. I think planting a Ryu sei in a large ornamental container and placing it in a sunny location near a water feature would be ideal. This would allow the branches to cascade below the lip of the container and shade the container and the root ball to keep it from drying out quickly. This maple can handle the full hot sun or partial shade.
I purposely keep my container grown Ryu sei maples sparse to make it easier to pack and ship. This is not an easy maple to wrap as the branches cannot be wrapped up like I do with all my other maples. I have to take the rigid lower branches and tie them down to wrap – which can be a challenge. Once established this cultivar is hardy to USDA zone 5. Ryu sei is also known as Acer palmatum Ryusen in maple nomenclature.
If you love Japanese Maples as much as I do, you can learn more about these amazing trees by joining the Facebook Group – Japanese Maples and Conifers.It is free to join – you just have to be a Facebook member. The contributors to the group have a wealth of experience and post many photos. Discussions include questions from Acer to Yasemin and everything in between. No question is dumb – you will not be criticized for lack of knowledge, rather you will get a variety of opinions from all over the country. This is what I value the most – learning about variations of growth, leaf size and color in different sections of the USA and around the world. I often participate in the discussions.
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The first photo shows the green leaves on cascading branches courtes of Buchholz Nursery. The next two photos show color changes in the fall.