Acer palmatum Kotobuki is a variegated maple with large portions of white and pink. The name in Japanese means ‘long life’ or ‘celebration’. The degree of variegation is not always consistent. Sometimes portions are entirely pink or white or green. The pink can very between hot pink or light pink from one month to the next. Fall color varies from orange to red.
Acer palmatum Kotobuki prefers morning sun with afternoon shade in well-drained soil. It grows into a moderate sized tree with willowy branches. Sunshine is necessary to bring out the pink and white color on the leaves. Too much shade and most of the leaves, if not all, will be totally green. Estimated height in 10 years is 8′ tall. Once established this maple is hardy to -10 degrees. USDA zone 6.
When I say established I mean that the maple has been planted in the ground for more than a year, the longer the better, before testing the cold hardiness of the cultivar. A good root system is necessary to protect the maple from extremes in temperature, both hot and cold. In zone 5 where temps can drop below zero for days on end – a mulch of 4-5 inches around the base of the maple is important. Dried leaves or bark chips whatever is available to protect the roots. Additionally, cold temperatures with periods of thawing and then refreezing are hard on the bark and branches of maples. It causes bark to split and wounds to appear. Many maple collectors wrap the trunks of their maples with burlap or other fabric, not plastic, to prevent damage.
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. Contributors to the group have a wealth of experience and post many of photos. 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.
Acer palmatum Kotobuki -limited availability – A few 1 and 2 gallon size will be available for shipping in the summer 2021. You may pre-order to reserve one for later shipment.
Photos of Kotobuki are courtesy of Buchholz Nursery. Buchholz Nursery is a wholesale nursery in Oregon.