Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’ – One of my favourite Japanese maples, it begins the season with eye-catching peachy-orange foliage that quickly tones down to gold with reddish-orange margins. It retains the golden foliage into summer, at which time it shifts to light green, and then back to golden-yellow in the fall. Average height is 10-12′ tall. Zone 6 hardy.
Acer palmatum ‘Koto-no-ito’ – It is the wispy green foliage of this cultivar that grabs your attention – with slender thread-like leaf lobes that vary slightly in width and dance with the slightest breeze. An excellent choice for smaller gardens, as ‘Koto-no-ito’ matures at only 10′ tall and also features delightful yellow autumn tones. Zone 6 hardy.
Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ – The standard by which most red Japanese maples are compared, this vigorous cultivar features dark reddish-black foliage that does not fade in summer. ‘Bloodgood’ does a subtle shift to crimson in the fall and by virtue of its strong growth habit, often reaches heights of 25-30′ tall. Zone 5 hardy.
Acer palmatum ‘Shin deshojo’ – Expect a month of amazing reddish-pink foliage at spring flush, which eventually tones down to green with red highlights in summer, and back to a reddish-orange in autumn. A great choice for large containers or condominium gardens due to its 10′ tall ultimate size. The only downside here is that it can be a little hard to find. Zone 6 hardy.
Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’ – Golden-orange spring growth with slightly darker margins is the primary attraction of this cultivar. The leaf lobes also have a very delicate taper and the overall foliage is quite dense at maturity – good for privacy. Expect lime green summer tones, shifting to intense yellow and orange fall colours. ‘Katsura’ grows to about 15′ tall. Zone 6 hardy.