Friday, August 14, 2009

A Pseudo Japanese Maple: Acer Pseudosieboldianum

This post is for my northern friends who may long for Japanese maples but feel they have no hope of having one since many Japanese maples are not hardy in the very cold areas of the United States and Canada. There is a neat little pseudo (pretend) Japanese maple that can grow well in the north. Its Latin name is Acer pseudosiebaldianum and its common name is Korean maple.

I purchased mine last May from Don Shadows' world renown nursery located in Winchester Tennessee. As soon as we pulled up to the nursery and disembarked from the bus I was drawn to these maples. I had no idea what type of maples they were but knew I wanted one. It has a pretty leaf huh?
Here is what the new growth looks like. It has some new growth all summer long and I've enjoyed the slow, very slow growth of this tree. This maple is a perfect substitute for those who live north of zone 5 who cannot grow Japanese maples because this tree is hardy where Japanese maples are not. Its leaves are green with just a tint of pink on new growth as pictured, but its fall color is outstanding and ranges from reddish to orange.

This tree will appreciate some shade in the south but in the north can probably take full sun no problem. It would like a well drained moist organic soil but is adaptable. So far my tree has grown only about 12" in the more than one year its been growing here. I find this growth rate most slow but am hopeful that as time goes on it will begin growing faster.

This is a tree that I think is little known but it can be found. Michale Dirr lists it in his Manual of Woody Landscape Plants and says it is a good substitute for Japanese maples. And while its common name is Korean maple I simply call mine my Pseudo-wanna be-Japanese maple and it fits right in with all the other Japanese maples....

in the garden....


  1. Pseudo-wanna, Tina! It is pretty though with it's pinky new growth. I just bought a dwarf purple (very lacy leaves) maple for a container since I love them too! Will yours turn bright red in the fall?

  2. Tina, There is a place in the falls that has a jap maple as a focus point of their beds, or maybe it's this tree. I'll have to get a picture of it.

  3. Tina girl ... now this is interesting .. hubby and I went through the "mill" trying to figure out the replacement tree for our old apple one this Spring .. we went with Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry if you remember .. but this is perhaps another chice if I can squeeze it in some where else , even in full sun ? .. thank you !!

  4. If the Korean is less expensive than the Japanese maples, then I may have to settle for the wannabe instead:) But it really does have lovely foliage and deserves its own name.

    Love that striking blue of the Agapanthus yesterday! Wishing a belated birthday wish to Skeeter's Mom as well.

  5. Hi Tina, thanks for performing this service for those who cannot grow the Japanese maples. I especially like the description of the fall color, always a plus. I had never heard of it, you are such a font of information! :-)

  6. Thanks from my mom Rose. we had a lovely day strolling in Nina's garden and she was such a wonderful hostess to serve us lunch. A simple sandwich my foot! It was awesome and again, thanks Nina for a wonderful treat at your house....

    Today Mom and I are letting Dad take charge so who knows what is in store for us today. :)

    This afternoon, I hope to pop in on my favorite frog catcher. hee hee...

    Everyone have a wonderful weekend.

  7. Since I am in Maine and even if that is fairly far north, it is not as cold as polar bear country as a southern gal once asked me. My Japanese Maple that you bought me last year is doing great and we had a bad winter last year. Also it is planted in well drained soil but not moist as it is in sand!!! It has grown about a foot in less than a year and branched out a lot and I can't wait till fall to see the great color.

    Skeeter I did not wish your mother a great birthday as we were posting at the same time so please tell her I hope it was the best birthday ever. I know it had to be right up there as her "little girl" was home (girls are always little girls to mamma's). Have fun with the frog catcher and cuddle that priceless lil bundle for me.

  8. Well, this is a new one on me too. I'm going to have to look it up.----- I thought we might get too hot for it, but I just read it is zoned for us. Hmmmm, interesing...--Randy

  9. Very pretty color and shape to the leaves. I'll have to mention this to my sister. She has been so determined to have a Japanese maple. I think she has purchased three only to have them all die.

  10. Gee I hope my new little one will live - we got it at a local Farmers Market so I assumed theirs is hardy and they had lots of small ones. We'll see. They are pretty.

  11. Afternoon all! I am painting and remodeling so most busy lately. The house is a total mess.

    Lynn, I hope it turns orange. A big bright ball of fire. I do have some trees that turn red and yellow though. Bloodgood turns a good red and I think the lacy leaf J. maples like yours do too. You'll love it!

    Dawn, I've seen J. maples in mom's area so they must grow there. But not so common in your zone? Yes, do check out that one.

    Joy, Yes I do remember your serviceberry. Mine is doing well and I'm glad yours is too. But given a choice on a serviceberry and a Korean maple I would hands down take the maple. (if you have the room:)

    Rose, I think the price is comparable between the two maples. It is just that it seems harder to find this kind of maple? they might have them in your zone more so than here though. That agapanthus is really something. Glad you like the blue. It shows up for days.

    Frances, I'd never heard of it either prior to visiting the Shadow nursery. It is most pretty and you know I like these small maples.

    Skeeter, You all have fun today! I am inside painting and hammering and oh-you don't want to know.

    Mom, There are lots of J. maples in your area. I found them most pretty and my eye always is drawn to them-them and hydrangeas. Do let me know how you J. maple grows. I think it is in the perfect spot for a focal point on the front of the house. It sounds like it is happy too. Enjoy your quiet this week. I know you'll miss Josh and Sarah.

    Jamie and Randy, It seems most adaptable. The Don Shadows nursery is in southern Tennessee and while I know it is not as hot there as in Alabama the differences probably aren't major so I feel safe planting it here. Mine has done well. I think some shade from the house would be appreciated-I know any shade in the south is appreciated by me! If you see it let me know.

    Marnie, This little tree might be just the ticket for your sister then. Let me know if she can find one. I am sure there must be sources.

    Linda, I am pretty sure Japanese maples are hardy to your area. Catherine has a lovely one. It seems like these would grow everywhere but up north in the middle part of the states it is not so apparently. Also in Canada. They are such wonderful trees so it is too bad. The Korean maple is a good pretender though:)

  12. If there's a reason to look forward to the colder autumn nights, this might be the reason, waiting for the plant to change color. It's got a great leaf.

  13. Very pretty - and I love the name that you invented. A few people in my neighborhood have the Japanese maple - I may have to grow one, too.

  14. I would love to go to Don Shadows' nursery one day!

  15. Love the leaves...very pretty pink.
    Oh ...the trees I would have if I had a bigger yard.

  16. Excuse me Jean, I am the Baby Girl not the little girl. hee hee... We ended up in Guthrie having lunch at the old school house. Catfish Friday! I had the ribs as I am not a catfish fan...

    Now off to see some little fishys swim and to cuddle a little bundle :)

  17. hi Tina, good for you to find a substitute for something that we in the south have in our gardens. I do not know this maple, but it looks great.

  18. Tina,
    That is a great sub, I am not familiar with it, but then I don't know trees as well as my father.
    I love Maple trees in the fall, gorgeous! I have one lonely maple.

  19. There are so many beautiful acers and this one sounds lovely~I'll check it out! gail

  20. That is very pretty, I hadn't heard of that variety before. It does look very similar to Japanese maples.

  21. James, Yes indeed-I love the fall!

    Jen, They are wonderful plants for sure. Okay if I call you Jen?

    Sweetbay, It is only a mere 12 hours from your location-maybe doable someday. The trip to meet this venerable and most knowledgeable and humble gardener is well worth it!

    Patsi, Trees are so great!

    Skeeter, Yum on the catfish.

    Janet, I just stumbled upon it and and after one year it is wonderful!

    Rosey, It would probably grow in your area. I don't know though as that elevation is really something!

    Gail, I really like maples too-albeit the smaller ones.

    Catherine, It seems to be a little known variety though I am not sure why.

  22. I had the best time with a long visit with Anonymous, hubby and the kiddos! Little Bundle was trying to keep mommy all to himself though. LOL Loved visiting with the entire gang and had a great Ice Cream on a stick! :-)Thanks for having me drop by and cant wait until the next trip to TN for more entertainment with the kiddos! Did Sidekick get that wasp?

  23. I love maples. The redder the better. I saw one in N.C. one Fall that looked like it was on fire. I will check & see if this one might live here.
    I hope all had a great day.

  24. That's a new one to me, and very attractive,too. The slow growth might work real well for people with small gardens, or for growing in containers.

  25. There are a ton of Japanese maples hardy in Michigan--I don't have any myself (too expensive) but I ogle them all the time in nurseries!

  26. I didn't know this one, and I like to think I know my trees. Glad to be introduced to it. It's beautiful.