Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum ‘Hogyoku’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’): A Comprehensive Guide

What is a Plant: Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’)

Plants are an essential part of our ecosystem, providing oxygen, food, and habitat for various organisms. One of the delightful and highly ornamental plants is the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum). These trees are renowned for their stunning foliage, graceful form, and versatility in various landscape settings.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the specifics of Japanese maple, focusing on the ‘Hogyoku’ variety. From cultivation and care to landscape uses and preservation, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge required to nurture and appreciate this captivating ornamental tree.

Key Takeaways – Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’)

  • Scientific Name: Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’
  • Common Name: Japanese Maple
  • Plant Type: Deciduous Tree
  • Mature Height: 15-20 feet
  • Mature Spread: 15-20 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate

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Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’) is highly prized for its ornamental value in landscape design. It serves various purposes, including:

  • Accent Tree: Its vibrant foliage and graceful form make it an ideal focal point or accent tree in gardens and landscapes.
  • Bonsai: Japanese maples are popular choices for bonsai cultivation due to their small leaves and intricate branching patterns.
  • Shade Tree: While providing dappled light, the canopy of the Japanese maple offers relief from the harsh sun, creating an excellent shade tree.
  • Container Plant: These trees can thrive in containers, making them suitable for patios, balconies, and small urban spaces.


Japanese maples, including the ‘Hogyoku’ variety, prefer soil that is consistently moist but well-drained. Adequate watering is crucial, especially during dry spells or in containers. However, they do not tolerate waterlogged conditions, which can lead to root rot and other diseases.

  • Watering Needs: Regular watering, especially during the growing season, is essential for the health and vitality of Japanese maple trees.
  • Watering Schedule: Adjust the frequency of watering based on weather conditions, ensuring the soil remains evenly moist but not waterlogged.


The ‘Hogyoku’ variety of Japanese maple thrives in dappled or partial shade, particularly in hotter regions. While they can tolerate some direct sunlight, especially during the morning hours, prolonged exposure to intense sun can lead to leaf scorch and stress.

  • Sun Exposure: Enjoys dappled or partial shade, especially in the afternoon.
  • Leaf Scorch Prevention: Protect the tree from intense midday sun to prevent leaf scorch and maintain leaf quality.


Well-draining soil with good fertility and slightly acidic to neutral pH is ideal for Japanese maples. The soil should be rich in organic matter to promote healthy growth and development.

  • Soil Requirements: Well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH.
  • Soil Amendment: Incorporate organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure when planting to improve soil structure and fertility.


Proper fertilization is essential for the overall health and vigor of Japanese maple trees. A balanced fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants can provide the necessary nutrients for robust growth and vibrant foliage.

  • Fertilizer Recommendations: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer for acid-loving plants in early spring before new growth emerges.
  • Fertilizer Type: Look for a fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio, enriched with essential micronutrients like iron and manganese.


Pruning is an essential aspect of Japanese maple care, contributing to the tree’s overall health, shape, and aesthetics. Proper pruning can enhance air circulation, remove damaged or diseased branches, and maintain an attractive form.

  • Pruning Frequency: Prune Japanese maples during the dormant season to correct shape and remove dead or crossing branches.
  • Pruning Techniques: Employ proper pruning techniques to prevent damage and encourage the healthy growth of the tree.


While Japanese maples can be propagated from seeds, the resulting plants may not retain the exact characteristics of the parent tree. Therefore, propagation through grafting or softwood cuttings is preferred to maintain specific cultivars like the ‘Hogyoku’ variety.

  • Propagation Methods: Grafting and softwood cuttings are the primary methods for propagating Japanese maple cultivars such as ‘Hogyoku’.
  • Grafting Techniques: Employ proper grafting techniques to ensure successful propagation and the retention of desired traits.

Container Popularity

The ‘Hogyoku’ variety of Japanese maple is a popular choice for container planting due to its compact size and ornamental foliage. When grown in containers, they can adorn patios, courtyards, and urban spaces, adding a touch of elegance to the surroundings.

  • Container Size: Choose a container that provides ample room for root development, ensuring stability and adequate moisture retention.
  • Container Placement: Position containers in areas with dappled sunlight and protection from strong winds to promote healthy growth.

Common Diseases

Disease Diagnosis

Japanese maples, including the ‘Hogyoku’ variety, are susceptible to certain diseases that can affect their vitality and appearance. Timely diagnosis and intervention are crucial to prevent the spread and recurrence of these diseases.

  • Common Diseases: Watch for signs of verticillium wilt, anthracnose, and powdery mildew, which are common ailments affecting Japanese maple trees.
  • Symptom Recognition: Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of common diseases to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment.

Common Pests

Pest Control

While Japanese maples are relatively resistant to pests, they can occasionally face infestations from aphids, scale insects, and caterpillars. Monitoring the tree regularly and employing appropriate pest control measures can help prevent significant damage.

  • Pest Identification: Learn to identify common pests that affect Japanese maples, including aphids, scales, and caterpillars.
  • Integrated Pest Management: Employ an integrated approach to pest management, incorporating cultural, biological, and if necessary, chemical control methods.

Botanist’s Tips

Fun Facts

  • The ‘Hogyoku’ variety of Japanese maple is renowned for its exquisite, deeply lobed leaves with striking red to orange fall coloration.
  • Japanese maple trees have been cultivated for centuries, with numerous cultivars displaying a diverse range of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors.

Links to External Resources

For further information on caring for Japanese maple trees, the following external resources are recommended:

  1. American Horticultural Society: Japanese Maples: Acer palmatum and Cultivars
  2. Royal Horticultural Society: Acer palmatum
  3. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: Japanese Maple—Acer palmatum and its Cultivars

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the various facets of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’), from its culture and care to its landscape uses and preservation. By following the recommendations provided and staying attuned to the specific needs of this beautiful tree, you can cultivate and enjoy a thriving Japanese maple in your garden or landscape.

Remember to embrace the artistry and resilience of the Japanese maple, and may its vibrant foliage and graceful form bring timeless beauty to your outdoor spaces.

Note: This guide is intended for informational purposes and should not replace professional advice from certified horticulturists or arborists.

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Picture of Peter Taylors

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.