Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum ‘Oshio-beni’)

Plant: Table of Contents

The Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Oshio-beni’)

The Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is a beautiful and versatile ornamental tree that has been cherished for centuries in Japan, where it is native. Among the vast variety of Japanese maple cultivars, the ‘Oshio-beni’ is particularly exceptional, known for its stunning foliage colors and graceful form. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of cultivating and caring for the Acer palmatum ‘Oshio-beni.’ Whether you are a novice gardener or a seasoned horticulturist, there is always more to discover about this enchanting tree.

What is a Japanese Maple?

The Japanese maple, scientifically named Acer palmatum, is a species of tree belonging to the family Sapindaceae. Originating from East Asia, including Japan, Korea, and China, it has been cultivated for centuries for its captivating foliage and delicate form. It is a small tree, typically reaching a height of 15 to 25 feet, with a spread of 20 to 25 feet. The ‘Oshio-beni’ variety, in particular, is admired for its striking red foliage which emerges in spring and persists through the growing season, transitioning into a vibrant crimson in the fall.

Key Takeaways – Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Oshio-beni’)


The ‘Oshio-beni’ Japanese maple thrives in a sheltered location with a well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It is adaptable to various soil types but prefers a fertile, moisture-retentive medium.


This cultivar is primarily grown as an ornamental tree, admired for its stunning foliage and overall aesthetic appeal. It is often used as a focal point in gardens and landscapes and can also be cultivated as a bonsai specimen.


Regular and consistent watering is essential, especially during the tree’s establishment phase. Once mature, it should be watered during dry spells, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.


The ‘Oshio-beni’ Japanese maple thrives in partial shade to full sun, especially in cooler climates. However, it benefits from some protection from the intense afternoon sun in hotter regions.


A balanced, slow-release fertilizer can be applied in early spring before new growth emerges. It is important to follow the guidelines for application rates to avoid over-fertilization.


The ‘Oshio-beni’ Japanese maple favors well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Incorporating organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, can help improve soil structure and fertility.


Pruning is generally minimal, primarily focusing on the removal of dead or damaged branches. Prune in late winter to early spring when the tree is dormant.


Propagation is commonly carried out through softwood cuttings taken in early summer. Air layering and grafting are also viable methods for propagating this cultivar.

Container Popularity

Due to its manageable size and ornamental value, the ‘Oshio-beni’ Japanese maple is well-suited to container cultivation, making it an excellent choice for small gardens, patios, and balconies.

Common Diseases

Some common diseases that may affect Japanese maples include leaf spot, powdery mildew, and verticillium wilt. Ensuring proper air circulation and maintaining overall tree health can help prevent these issues.

Disease Diagnosis

Careful monitoring of foliage discoloration, spotting, or wilting can aid in diagnosing potential diseases. Consulting with a plant health specialist can provide accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatment options.

Common Pests

Pests such as aphids, scale insects, and Japanese beetles may pose a threat to Japanese maples. Implementing integrated pest management practices can effectively manage pest infestations.

Botanist’s Tips

  • Regularly inspect the tree for any signs of distress, including unusual leaf discoloration or pest infestations.
  • Prune selectively to maintain the tree’s natural form and enhance its visual appeal.
  • Provide adequate protection from harsh environmental conditions, especially in extreme heat or cold.

Fun Facts

  • The ‘Oshio-beni’ Japanese maple is named for its vibrant crimson foliage, with “Oshio-beni” roughly translating to “red from Oshio” in Japanese.
  • In Japanese culture, the leaves of the Japanese maple are often associated with the fleeting nature of life, symbolizing the beauty of change and impermanence.

Links to External Resources

To further your knowledge and understanding of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Oshio-beni’) care and cultivation, the following external resources can be valuable references:

  1. The American Horticultural Society’s A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants
  2. The Royal Horticultural Society’s Guide to Pruning & Training
  3. University of Maryland Extension’s Integrated Pest Management Program

Continuing your exploration with these resources will provide in-depth insights into plant care, pruning techniques, and pest management strategies for Japanese maples, including the ‘Oshio-beni’ variety.

In conclusion, the Acer palmatum ‘Oshio-beni’ is an exquisite specimen that adds a touch of elegance and beauty to any landscape or garden. With careful attention to its cultural requirements and an appreciation for its ornamental value, this captivating tree can thrive and continue to enchant for generations to come. Whether it is the rich hues of its foliage or the graceful silhouette it casts against the sky, the ‘Oshio-beni’ Japanese maple is indeed a treasure worth cultivating and cherishing.

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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.