Full Moon Maple (Acer Japonicum ‘Vitifolium’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Full Moon Maple (Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’)

Full moon maple, scientifically known as Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’, is a captivating and versatile ornamental tree that belongs to the Aceraceae family. This stunning deciduous tree is native to Japan, where it thrives in its natural habitat with ideal growing conditions. The captivating appeal of the full moon maple lies in its distinct foliage, vibrant colors, and exquisite form, making it a popular choice for landscapes, gardens, and public spaces.

What is a Plant?

Plants are living organisms that belong to the kingdom Plantae. They are multicellular eukaryotes and carry out photosynthesis, using chlorophyll to capture light energy and convert it into chemical energy in the form of glucose. Plants play a critical role in the environment by producing oxygen, providing food for other organisms, and contributing to the overall ecosystem balance.

Full Moon Maple (Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’)

Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ is a remarkable member of the Acer genus and is celebrated for its striking visual appeal, particularly during the autumn when its foliage transforms into a breathtaking display of vibrant colors. Commonly known as full moon maple, this cultivar is prized for its large, velvety leaves that resemble the shape of a grape leaf. Its ornamental value, along with its relatively compact size, makes it a sought-after addition to gardens and landscapes.

Key Takeaways – Full Moon Maple (Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’)

Before diving into the specific care and characteristics of full moon maple, let’s explore the key takeaways that will provide valuable insights into this enchanting tree:

  1. Full Moon Maple Care: Understanding the essential cultural requirements and practices to ensure the optimal growth and health of full moon maple.
  2. Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ Varieties: Exploring different variations and cultivars of Acer japonicum to choose the most suitable option for specific landscape needs.
  3. Growing Full Moon Maple: A comprehensive guide to the growth habits, environmental preferences, and best practices for cultivating full moon maple.
  4. Full Moon Maple Tree: Recognizing the defining characteristics and visual elements that make the full moon maple an extraordinary tree species.
  5. Tips for Maintaining Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’: Practical advice and strategies for preserving the vitality and aesthetic beauty of full moon maple.
  6. Full Moon Maple Pruning: Understanding the significance of proper pruning techniques and schedules to enhance the overall structure and health of the tree.
  7. Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ Characteristics: Delving into the distinctive features that set Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ apart from other maple varieties.
  8. Full Moon Maple Landscape Ideas: Exploring creative and inspiring landscape design concepts that incorporate the captivating presence of full moon maple.
  9. Full Moon Maple Disease Resistance: Recognizing the resilience of full moon maple against common diseases and potential threats to its health.
  10. Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ Growth Habits: Understanding the growth patterns, tendencies, and development stages of full moon maple.

Now, let’s embark on a detailed journey into the world of full moon maple, exploring its cultural aspects, uses, optimal growing conditions, and maintenance practices to fully appreciate the charm and allure of this remarkable tree.


Understanding the cultural requirements of full moon maple is essential for creating an environment that allows the tree to thrive and express its full potential. From watering needs to sunlight preferences, providing the right cultural conditions is fundamental for the health and vitality of the Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.


The versatility of full moon maple makes it an invaluable addition to various landscapes, gardens, and public spaces. Here are some common uses and applications of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’:

  • Ornamental Tree: The unique foliage and captivating form of the full moon maple make it a popular choice for ornamental planting in gardens, parks, and urban landscapes.
  • Shade Tree: When mature, full moon maple can provide cooling shade and create a comfortable outdoor environment, making it an excellent addition to residential yards and public areas.
  • Foliage Accent: The distinct shape and texture of the leaves make full moon maple an exceptional foliage accent, adding visual interest and diversity to landscapes.
  • Focal Point: Its captivating autumn colors and overall aesthetic appeal make the full moon maple an ideal focal point in landscape designs, drawing attention and creating a striking visual impact.


Understanding the water requirements of full moon maple is crucial for maintaining proper hydration and preventing water-related stress. Adequate moisture levels are essential for the health and vitality of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’, especially during critical stages of growth and development.

  • Water Needs: Full moon maple thrives in well-drained soil and benefits from regular, deep watering to keep the root system sufficiently hydrated. During dry periods, it’s essential to monitor soil moisture and adjust watering frequency to ensure consistent moisture levels, particularly for young trees and during the establishment phase.

  • Watering Schedule: Establishing a regular watering schedule, especially during the hot summer months, is vital for promoting healthy growth and foliage development. Consistent moisture levels help prevent stress and maintain the overall vigor of the tree.

  • Winter Care: While full moon maple is dormant during the winter, it’s essential to monitor soil moisture levels and provide occasional watering during dry spells to prevent dehydration. Winter mulching can also help insulate the root system and conserve moisture during the colder months.


The sunlight requirements of full moon maple play a significant role in determining its overall growth, foliage development, and coloration. Understanding the optimal sunlight conditions and providing adequate exposure are crucial for ensuring the vitality and visual appeal of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.

  • Sun Requirements: Full moon maple thrives in partial shade to full sun conditions, with preference for dappled sunlight or filtered shade in hot climates. Providing the appropriate balance of sunlight and shade helps prevent leaf scorch and promotes healthy foliage.

  • Sun Exposure: Choosing the right planting location with the ideal sun exposure is essential for ensuring the optimal growth and development of full moon maple. Evaluating the sun patterns in the landscape and selecting a suitable site can significantly influence the tree’s overall performance.

  • Shade Tolerance: While full sun is preferable, Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ exhibits good shade tolerance, making it adaptable to various light conditions. This attribute enhances its versatility and suitability for diverse landscape environments.


Proper fertilization is essential for supplying essential nutrients and promoting healthy growth in full moon maple. Understanding the fertilizer requirements, application techniques, and seasonal timing is instrumental for maximizing the vigor and vitality of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.

  • Soil Fertility: Full moon maple thrives in well-drained, fertile soil with good nutrient content. Conducting a soil test to assess nutrient levels and pH can help determine the specific fertilizer needs and adjustments required to create an optimal growing environment.

  • Fertilizer Selection: Using a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for woody plants is recommended for full moon maple. Choosing a formulation with a balanced N-P-K ratio helps supply essential macronutrients for sustained growth and development.

  • Fertilization Timing: Applying fertilizer in early spring before new growth emerges is ideal for providing a nutrient boost to support the tree’s seasonal requirements. Avoiding late-season fertilization prevents stimulating late growth, which may be vulnerable to frost damage.

  • Application Technique: Distributing the fertilizer evenly around the root zone and watering thoroughly afterward helps facilitate nutrient uptake and assimilation. Mulching with organic matter can also help enhance soil fertility and nutrient retention.


The soil requirements of full moon maple directly influence its overall health, growth, and vigor. Understanding the ideal soil characteristics and making necessary soil amendments create a conducive environment for Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ to thrive.

  • Soil Type: Full moon maple prefers well-drained, loamy soil with good aeration and moisture retention. Amending heavy clay soils with organic matter and improving drainage can help create an optimal growing medium for the tree.

  • Soil pH: Maintaining a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH range between 5.5 to 7.0 is beneficial for full moon maple. Conducting a soil test to assess pH levels and implementing necessary adjustments supports nutrient availability and root health.

  • Soil Moisture: Consistent soil moisture without waterlogging is essential for the health and vitality of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’. Balancing adequate drainage with moisture retention promotes healthy root development and overall vigor.


Proper pruning practices are pivotal for shaping the structure, enhancing the aesthetics, and maintaining the health of full moon maple. Understanding the significance of pruning, along with the appropriate techniques and timing, allows for effective tree management and long-term vitality.

  • Pruning Objectives: Pruning full moon maple serves multiple purposes, including removing dead or diseased branches, shaping the overall form, improving air circulation, and managing growth to achieve the desired size and structure.

  • Pruning Schedule: Early spring or late fall is the ideal time for pruning full moon maple, as the tree is dormant, and pruning wounds can heal promptly. Avoiding heavy pruning during the growing season helps prevent stress and excessive sap loss.

  • Pruning Techniques: Using clean, sharp pruning tools and making precise, angled cuts promotes proper healing and prevents damage to the tree. Removing unwanted, crossing, or vertically oriented branches helps maintain the open, airy structure of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.

  • Thinning vs. Heading: Thinning cuts to remove entire branches at the point of origin help maintain the tree’s natural form and structure. Heading cuts to shorten individual branches should be limited to minimal shaping to avoid promoting excessive regrowth.


The propagation of full moon maple can be achieved through several techniques, including seed propagation, cuttings, and grafting. Each method offers distinct advantages and considerations for successfully propagating Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ and producing new plants.

  • Seed Propagation: Collecting mature seeds from full moon maple and stratifying them before sowing provides a viable method for producing seedlings. Seed propagation allows for genetic diversity and variation in the resulting plants.

  • Cutting Propagation: Utilizing softwood or hardwood cuttings from healthy branches and providing appropriate rooting conditions can yield new plants with genetic traits identical to the parent tree. Careful attention to humidity, rooting hormones, and environmental conditions supports successful cutting propagation.

  • Grafting: Using compatible rootstock and scion wood, grafting can be employed to propagate specific cultivars and maintain desired traits of full moon maple. Grafting techniques require precision and careful attention to ensure successful union and establishment of grafted plants.

Container Popularity

Full moon maple exhibits excellent potential for container cultivation, allowing for its inclusion in various settings, such as patios, courtyards, and urban landscapes. The compact size and ornamental qualities of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ make it an appealing choice for container planting.

  • Container Size: Choosing a spacious container with adequate drainage holes is essential for accommodating the root system and promoting healthy growth. Selecting a container that provides ample room for root development and stability supports the long-term health of the tree.

  • Growing Medium: Utilizing well-draining, high-quality potting mix enriched with organic matter and balanced nutrients is crucial for creating an optimal growing environment for full moon maple in containers. Ensuring proper aeration and moisture retention is vital for maintaining healthy root development.

  • Container Placement: Selecting an appropriate location with suitable sunlight exposure and protection from extreme weather conditions is pivotal for container-grown full moon maple. Consideration of microclimatic factors can help provide an ideal environment for the tree’s performance in containers.

Container Common Diseases

While container cultivation offers numerous advantages for full moon maple, it’s essential to be mindful of potential diseases that may impact the tree’s health. Understanding common container diseases and implementing preventative measures is crucial for preserving the vitality of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.

  • Root Rot: Overwatering and poor drainage in containers can lead to root rot, causing symptoms such as wilting, yellowing foliage, and stunted growth. Maintaining proper moisture levels and utilizing well-draining growing medium helps prevent the onset of root rot.

  • Fungal Diseases: Containers may be susceptible to fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and leaf spot, which can affect the foliage of full moon maple. Ensuring proper air circulation, avoiding overhead watering, and practicing good sanitation help mitigate the risk of fungal infections.

  • Pest Infestations: Containers may attract specific pests that can affect the health of full moon maple, including aphids, scale insects, and spider mites. Regular monitoring and proactive pest management measures help prevent infestations and minimize potential damage to the tree.

Disease Diagnosis

Recognizing the symptoms and signs of potential diseases in full moon maple is essential for prompt diagnosis and effective management. Understanding the indicators of common diseases allows for timely intervention and appropriate treatment to restore the health of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.

  • Visual Symptoms: Observing the foliage for irregular discoloration, wilting, spotting, or abnormal growth patterns can provide valuable insights into the potential presence of diseases. Visual cues may help narrow down the possible causes of tree distress.

  • Leaf Examination: Inspecting the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves for signs of fungal growth, powdery residues, or unusual lesions can aid in identifying specific diseases that may be affecting the foliage. Close examination helps assess the extent of infection and determines appropriate management strategies.

  • Root Inspection: When diagnosing container-grown full moon maple, examining the root system for signs of decay, discoloration, or reduced vitality is crucial for detecting root-related diseases, such as root rot. Healthy, white roots indicate vigorous root health, while brown, mushy roots may indicate underlying issues.

  • Professional Assistance: Seeking the expertise of a horticulturist, arborist, or plant pathologist can be valuable in diagnosing complex diseases or identifying unusual symptoms that require specialized knowledge and diagnostic tools.

Common Pests

Full moon maple may be susceptible to specific pests that can affect its foliage, sap flow, and overall health. Proactively monitoring for common pests and implementing appropriate pest management strategies help safeguard the vitality and aesthetic appeal of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.

  • Aphids: These small, sap-feeding insects may cluster on the foliage of full moon maple, causing distorted growth, honeydew secretion, and potential sooty mold development. Natural predators, such as ladybugs, and targeted insecticidal treatments can effectively control aphid infestations.

  • Scale Insects: Scale insects can attach themselves to the branches and twigs of full moon maple, sucking sap and weakening the tree. Systemic insecticides and horticultural oils are commonly used to manage scale infestations and protect the overall health of the tree.

  • Spider Mites: Infestations of spider mites may lead to stippled, discolored foliage and fine webbing on the undersides of leaves. Miticides and natural predators, such as predatory mites, help control spider mite populations and prevent damage to Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.

Botanist’s Tips

A comprehensive understanding of full moon maple, along with practical insights and botanist’s tips, contributes to the successful cultivation and maintenance of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’. Incorporating expert advice and botanical recommendations enhances the overall experience of growing and appreciating this captivating ornamental tree.

  • Soil Preparation: Prior to planting full moon maple, preparing the soil with organic amendments and ensuring proper drainage sets the foundation for healthy root development and overall tree vigor.

  • Proper Pruning: Employing light, selective pruning to maintain the natural form and open structure of full moon maple helps preserve its aesthetic appeal and reduces the risk of stress-related issues.

  • Environmental Observation: Regularly monitoring the tree’s response to its growing environment, including sunlight exposure, soil moisture, and seasonal changes, aids in making timely adjustments to optimize its growth and performance.

  • Integrated Pest Management: Adhering to integrated pest management principles, including preventive measures, biological controls, and targeted treatments, helps maintain a balanced, healthy ecosystem around full moon maple.

Fun Facts

Exploring the captivating world of full moon maple unveils interesting and engaging facts that showcase the unique attributes and characteristics of Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’. Delight in these fun facts that shed light on the enchanting nature of this remarkable tree:

  1. Autumn Splendor: The striking autumn foliage of full moon maple showcases an array of vibrant colors, including rich reds, fiery oranges, and bright yellows, creating a breathtaking seasonal display.

  2. Leaf Texture: The large, palmate leaves of full moon maple are velvety to the touch, adding to its sensory appeal and distinctiveness in the landscape.

  3. Ornamental Bark: The bark of mature full moon maple trees develops attractive fissures and a rich, textured appearance, contributing to its visual interest and year-round appeal.

  4. Container Elegance: Full moon maple exhibits exceptional adaptability to container cultivation, offering a stunning ornamental presence in confined spaces and urban environments.

  5. Historical Significance: Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ has been celebrated in Japanese culture for centuries, representing resilience, tranquility, and enduring beauty in traditional gardens and landscapes.

Links to External Resources

For further exploration and in-depth information about full moon maple (Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’), the following external resources offer valuable insights, guidance, and inspiration for plant enthusiasts, horticulturists, and gardening enthusiasts:

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Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.