Sea creature-like leaves, you ask? I’m sure a myriad of scaly, wriggly, tentacle-decorated critters are whizzing through your mind, but the creature that I’m referring to is a starfish! This Acer has starfish shaped leaves, which are perfect for adding interest to any garden.
How to grow Acer Starfish
Flowering time: April – May
Location: Large patio containers, backs of borders
Soil: Moist and well-drained
Light: Semi-shade or dappled shade
Water: Water regularly throughout growing season until well-established
Care: Lightly prune to maintain shape
Size: Mature height and spread of 200cm
How was this tree created?
This particular tree was selected from a seedling bed at Vergeldt Nursery in The Netherlands around 15 years ago. While looking over the entire bed, the breeder spotted the tree for its unique leaf form – that sensational starfish shape! After running tests over several years with the grafted trees, the breeder decided to introduce it to suppliers.
What’s different about this tree?
We must talk about those leaves! Each long, slender blade curls in at the edges, creating a plump, cushioned effect in the shape of a star. This happens on the older leaves, which means your tree will become more unique and interesting as it ages!
Where can you plant Acer Starfish?
This tree is narrow-growing and not extremely vigorous, which means that it’s ideal for large patio containers and small gardens. If you have the room, then the Acer Starfish would be perfect for the back of a border, or as an architectural feature in a landscaped garden.
If you have a Japanese garden theme, then this Acer is a must-have for you! The Starfish is an Acer palmatum, which is otherwise known as a Japanese maple, denoting its origins where it has been cultivated for centuries (it’s also found in other parts of Asia, such as China and Korea). These trees are popular for use in the art of bonsai, and have been the subject of many Japanese artworks. Build on your Japanese garden theme alongside your Acer Starfish with Rhododendrons, Hakonechloa macra (Japanese forest grass), Peonies, Wisteria and Styrax japonicus.
Where can you buy this plant?
Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe.
See every Plant of the Month here.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.