Why the Karasugawa Variegated Japanese Maple?
Coveted by collectors of Japanese Maples and by those who appreciate unusual and rare plants in general, Karasugawa Japanese Maple is a special tree indeed. In spring, it looks like it just finished a game of paintball—and lost! Much of the foliage is splattered with splotches of mint-green, cream, and coral pigment. Other leaves are all-white or all-pink, and a few are green on one half and pink on the other. The pink tones typically fade to white in the summer, but fall brings a spectacular finale—the foliage becomes a bonfire of red and orange. Amazing.
Cherished for centuries in Japan, China, and Korea, where they are native, Japanese Maples have come a long way from the unadulterated, simple, green understory plants they once were. Hundreds of years of selective breeding, random mutations, and propagation have given us a wealth of novel varieties in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and color patterns. No one seems to be sure when and where Karasugawa originated. The name would indicate that it’s from Japan (it means “Karasu River” in Japanese), but some reports indicate it was actually discovered in Oregon.
How to use in the landscape?
Karasugawa is similar in appearance to the better-known Orido Nishiki, a.k.a. Oridono Nishiki, Japanese Maple, though Karasugawa’s leaves have even more pink and white variegation in them. In fact, it may be the most extensively variegated Japanese Maple of all!
Hardiness Zone: 5-7
Mature Height: 8-10' tall
Mature Width: 6-8' wide
Exposure: Partial Shade
Spacing: 6-8' apart
How To Plant
Karasugawa Japanese Maple is a collector’s plant best reserved for experienced growers. Because of the meager amounts of green (chlorophyll) in its foliage, it’s not very vigorous, and the large patches of white foliage make it sensitive to too much sun. On the other hand, some bright light is necessary to bring out the best pink tones. Even knowledgeable growers may want to keep Karasugawa in a pot, so it can be easily moved to a better spot if the foliage begins to burn or if it is not coloring up like it should.
How To Water
Once you have found the perfect location to plant your Japanese Maple, it will appreciate regular water during the first few years in the ground. Be sure to keep it watered throughout dry spells until it has become established in your garden.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established as it gives your tree the nutrients it needs to produce lush new growth for the following spring.
Hardiness Zone: 5-7