On Gardeners’ Question Time (a BBC Radio 4 program) a few weeks ago, Acer Palmatums were described as highly strung, stressed plants that live on a knife-edge, having exacting requirements like:
- Not chalky soil but not strongly acidic either
- Moist soil but it shouldn’t be heavy clay nor free draining either
- Bright light but not direct sun, certainly not in the mornings
- Calm and sheltered position, protected from cold drying winds
- Can’t withstand lots of competition from other plants
- May need feeding but not too much otherwise leaves or roots can burn
At the last count we had three acers. One isn’t going to last very long as it’s crowded in and other plants are growing over the top of it, the second one is in a similar position but it has a bit more room so may survive. The third one is doing pretty well and has grown noticeably this year.
It may be that the conditions – cold, dull light and persistent rain – have suited it this year. I do expect some of the new growth to die back over the winter, but that will cause it to bush out more next year.
Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those acers that turn crimson red in Autumn (from what I can remember) but it is still a very elegant and pretty plant. I’d say this acer is much more relaxed than the problem acers on Gardeners’ Question Time.