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This beautiful acer is loved by our garden designers for jolly good reasons. It’s a delightful, dome-shaped and weeping acer with a compact and tidy habit. Cascading feathery deeply-dissected leaves of deep magenta flutter alongside variegations of green and white. This display of colour reaches a crescendo to become intensely flame-red as they fall in the autumn.
No surprise then that its name, ‘Beni-shidare’, means ‘red cascading’, and it really lives up to this description with its green and white leaves adding a delicate sense of volume to the overall form. Together with green-leaved acers, Rhododendrons, Pieris and Skimmias, this specimen adds gentle flowing movement and texture to a woodland design. Slow growing, it will reach 1m in height over a decade, making it the perfect tree to incorporate at a lower-level in a tiered planting scheme. However, if you crave a more minimalistic and bold aesthetic, it will grow perfectly in a pot for years. But if you’re going to display it in splendid isolation, it’s best kept in a sheltered spot away from cold, drying winds.
This is a tree for full sun to light shade as long as the roots are in cool, moist soil with good drainage. Many red leaved Acers cope well in full sun as long as they are sheltered from the wind. Acid to neutral conditions are required and it needs to be out of strong winds. Do not prune in spring when the sap is rising.
N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.
As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.
Hardiness level GreenFind out more
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