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Acer palmatum ‘Higasayama’

This really is a spectacular acer. The foliage on this small tree is beautifully illustrative: toothed green palmate leaves with pinky, creamy margins and dark midribs turning red, orange and yellow in autumn. You can marvel endlessly at the fine detail nature has prescribed with this composition. The inspiration for many a fine silk print of equal exoticism I shouldn’t wonder. It has an almost foamy form and the slender stems remain delicate, even when reaching a decent 4m x 4m over 20 years.

‘Higasayama’ has a very versatile form and stature, making either a spectacular specimen tree, or a good choice for accompanying underplanting. Since it enjoys a location receiving filtered light it will really sparkle as underplanting in a dappled setting, lifting any composition of trees and shrubs with its beguiling three-toned outfit.

‘Higasa’ means umbrella and ‘yama’ means mountain. A very old Japanese variety: not rare, but certainly infrequently seen. Have one, because few do. You’ll not only have a talking point for your garden, but its vigorous growth once established means you won’t have to wait long, either.

Best in dappled shade out of strong winds, on an acid to neutral soil that is moist but well drained. The shallow and fibrous root system benefits from a mulch. Prune for health if necessary.


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 traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.