Friday, September 21, 2012

Japanese Maples

Japanese Maples are by far my most Favourite trees in the world, every type brings its own unique form and colours to amaze everyone, whether your a grower or just someone who likes looking at them...

I first started a passion for Japanese Maples when i was younger when my mum bought a weeping japanese maple. I can't remember the type but it had a similar leaf form to that of a Viridis however this one had a dark moroon/purple leaf.

Sadly, due to Adelaides poor climate for growing maples this one died during one of our hottest summers on record. I can't remember the date and stuff but it was during the fortnight where Adelaide witnessed days recorded 40 degrees and over for a period of around 8 days straight...

My Japanese Maple in backyard

When i bought our first house my mum as a gift bought me two standard japanese maples, simple variety that can withstand a bit of the sun - these are still going great as you can see in the photo. Stupidly i planted a Chinese Elm right in the middle of the Maples years ago as i thought they weren't going to get much bigger... well they have and now I have the three trees growing super well and giving lovely shade over the summer.

Since then i've added a number of Japanese Maples to my collection, sadly some have died due to our harsh summers, however some, especially the ones I have as Bonsai, are still going strong and look magnificent.

Sango Kaku Maples in my garden

About a year ago I was at Stratco looking at plants and came across these beautiful Red Bark Maples (Sango Kaku) for only $14.95 each... bargain so I bought 3! and look at them now.

Close up of my Sango Kaku
I like to buy most of my Japanese Maples, including the younglings from a grower in Melbourne, for the past few years I have bought a number from him during Winter when the trees are able to be transported without stressing the roots and tree.

The nursery is called "Maples x Mail" and is located at 1870 Healesville-Kinglake Road in Toolangi. Not sure if you remember or are aware but this region is part of the massive bushfire which tore the heart out of Victoria, and the rest of Australia, a few years ago. It was during a big dry spell, fires erupted and the state saw some of the biggest incontainable bushfires they've ever encountered.

Many lives and buildings were lost, Maples x Mail came out ok, alot of its stock were hit hard providing limited stock for sale over that period. The year after they came out strong again and supplied some really nice trees.

My Viridis Weeping Maple
Each year I like to buy atleast one or two Weeping Maples and one Standard, as well as 10-20 younglings. The Weepers and Standard are put into large pots whilst the younglings are either used for new Bonsai ideas or put into pots for later use.

The thing I love the most about Maples x Mail is the price, Standards are only $20 each and Weeping Maples are $25, they are trees up to 1m in height, just the right size to use. The owner will also send up to 5 trees in the one box, postage to South Australia last time only cost me approx $10 for the lot...

The owner really knows his trees and varieties well and takes super care of them so if you are interested check them out on

Japanese Maple Bonsai (approx 4 y.o)
So why Japanese Maples?

Simple, well maybe not, but theres not one thing i love about them theres heaps. Each variety has its own unique aspect about it, whether its differing types of leaf or the colour of the leaf during different times of the year or the colour of its bark.

Ever since i was young i was in awe of their beauty and told myself when older i must have some of my own.

To me it could be the colours, from early Spring to late Autumn - each has its unique colour to wow any garden!

Here are some more photos of my maples, enjoy!

Close up on my Viridis Weeping Maple
My Viridis Weeping Maple approx 6 y.o

Jap Maple Bonai's in my nursery


  1. Can you suggest a fast growing weeping up to 2.-2.5 for Adelaide ?

  2. G'day - the one i have growing in one of the photos is a Viridis - Emerald Lace, this grows to 2 metres and has been growing well now for approx 3 years

    Adelaides Summer can be a concern though so if you get one try and keep it in shade and lots of drinks during the hotter months.

    Check out this link for maples from a place i buy them from in Melbourne,
    They post quite cheap and great quality!

  3. Hi, I went ahead and ordered some trees from maples x mail based on your good review of them - just wondering how long the orders take to ship and arrive as the site doesn't seem to have a shipping or orders section


  4. G'day - thats awesome to hear! They usually take a week or so and come shipped in a metre long box, if you buy say 4 or 5 they can all get shipped in same box.

    The owner ships them bare rooted wrapped in wet newspaper.

    Please let me know how you go - i really rate these guys so hope it all works out for you!

  5. thanks for your info,have gone ahead & ordered the viridis,a sango kaku which I'll pot maybe bonsai,love their red stems,& a couple of others.
    Maplesxmail just seem so much better than retail in Adelaide where they expect you to take such a huge risk for a lot more money. thanks again

  6. Excellent sounds good, let me know how you go!

    Thats exactly right, retail in Adelaide its easily $65+ for a Jap Maple, even more for a weeper...

    Maple x Mail is $25 plus maybe $9 postage, absolute bargain, plus you get far more varities to chose from!

    Good luck and hope all goes well!

  7. Just a quick update on the maples I bought last year, planted Sango kaku in the ground shaded by some tall cannas, has gone well, more than double size. Potted others in large glazed pots so I could move depending on shade requirements & after that hot spell we had they have recovered despite setbacks. Am going to buy more this winter with view to use as presents (to jealous friends!) & try bonsai. How did you do this? Once again thanks for your info it's brought some beautiful plants into our garden.

  8. Fantastic, so glad to hear you made an order and from the sounds of things all have gone very well! I sadly lost one of my sango kaku's but have two solid ones left. Going to get a couple of big pots for them to move into during winter.

    In terms of Bonsai, I'm prob not the best one to learn from as mine have sadly been left alone alot over the last 6 - 9 months due to alot of time spent at baseball..

    The basics I learnt however are before you place in a new bonsai pot is to: wire out the bottom of the pot, i used gutter guard netting and cut to size. Trim the roots of the tree down to remove most of the roots which are hanging out from the root ball.

    I would suggest however to get a book or do some more research online - I first bought a book called Bonsai in Australia - it was written by Dorothy and Vita Koreshoff. Only around 48 pages but geez its a handy little book and chock full of information and illustrations.

    I was originally looking to do a Japanese Maple Forest but sadly the lack of time I have been able to give hasn't netted me the forrest look I was after however they are still very nice and growing well.

    If you order through Maples X Mail, maybe give them a call before you order online and ask if its possible to order some younglings from them - Not always available however a 2 year old youngling from them is awesome. If not try Garden Express; - these guys usually have younglings available for $2.50 each.

    Good luck and thanks for letting me know how your going!