Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’

Coral bark maple


Acer palmatum, often known as Japanese maple, are deciduous trees and shrubs suitable for planting both in the ground or in containers. The many cultivars span a whole spectrum of colours and styles, making them easy to fit aesthetically into any setting.

Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, often known as the Coral Bark Maple, is a tree with an upright growth habit famed for its bright-coral red bark.

In early spring the leaves emerge a light chartreuse yellow-green, which contrasts beautifully with the red stems. In summer these leaves steadily become mid-green. In autumn the leaves mellow to an orange-yellow which still complements the red bark, which stays red year round.


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Origin: Japan
Genus: Acer
Species / Cultivar: palmatum 'Sango Kaku'
Common Name: Coral bark maple

Plant Biography

The Japanese maple is a real icon of Japan – you can even find it all over the history of Japanese art, literature and poetry. The palmatum is thought to have been one of the first Acers to reach the West and they’ve been popular here ever since – unsurprising since their striking foliage and form make for a beautiful feature in any setting.

It’s thought that the first recorded Acer palmatum dates back to the 7th century and after centuries of cultivation there are now more than 250 different cultivars, of a huge range of colours, shapes and distinguishing qualities.

Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’
Soil: Ericaceous
Will not tolerate an alkaline pH, so pot in ericaceous compost if site is not neutral to acid.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: A little
Easy to look after but may occasionally require some attention in order to thrive.
Situation: Part Shade
Enjoys several hours of direct sunlight but may enjoy dappling or shade at midday.
Eventual Height: 3-4m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 2-3m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Deciduous
Sheds all its foliage annually, so for a period of the year it will be without foliage.

Expert Tip

It's advisable to add a layer of mulch around the base of Japanese maples. The mulch helps reduce moisture loss in the soil and, because the roots are very shallow, the summer sun can damage the roots if not mulched.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’ needs a sheltered position, out of cold winds, and it is intolerant of chalk. Acer palmatum usually are happiest in part shade, though full sun can be tolerated with enough watering. Excessive sun exposure can scorch the leaves when they are young.


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