New and improved?

I don’t recall ‘Oridono nishiki’ (Acer palmatum ‘Oridono nishiki’) as a constant disappointment, but in recent years new growth on the Japanese maple showed little color. Of course, then its health declined and finally it perished for reasons that are unclear. Its removal was somewhat a relief, though the loss of any large tree is no reason for celebration.

The seedling Japanese maple, probably from Oridono nishiki.

There are numerous Japanese maples in the garden, so the loss of an under performer is not mourned, and in particular since a nearby seedling promises improved color. No doubt, it will be years before this can be confirmed, but new growth on this two year old seedling is more colorful, and colors remain for a longer period. At best, ‘Oridono nishiki’ displayed colored leaf tips that turned to green after a few weeks.

It is questionable, I think, if leaves with mottled colors are beautiful, interesting, or just unusual. Certainly, opinions will vary, but I enjoy watching the changes in color through the year, with more vibrant colors in spring that fade into summer. But, the colors in the photo above are in very late summer, so there’s reason for optimism.

Eventually, the small maple will be moved to a permanent spot, but there’s no hurry, though this must be done in the next year, I think, since it is now growing in the shadow of ‘Twombly’s Red Sentinel’ Japanese maple. ‘Twombly’s’ doesn’t grow too wide, too quickly, so there’s no great rush, and I hope to have a permanent location to transplant it to when the move is made.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linus says:

    Ukigumo will keep it’s variegation if it’s not too hot; here generally the variegation goes away in the hot summers. I wonder if your oridono nishiki looses its variegation/coloration because the summers are too hot here.

    Also, maybe there isn’t enough light? My Geisha Gone Wild held its variegation well at the old house, with lots of eastern morning light. Here at the new house, less midday light, and the leaves aren’t as colorful.

    1. Dave says:

      I’ve planted three Ukigumo in varied conditions hoping to duplicate the color I see in the cooler, less humid northwest, but still leaves are mostly green. I’m hopung that when one of the three gets some age there might be better color, but I doubt it.

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