Toggle navigation

Purple Reign


I was fascinated by your visit to Gory’u Japanese Garden on Better Homes & Gardens TV and their Japanese maples. What do you think is the darkest purple-leaved Japanese maple?

Kevin, Leura, NSW.


I’ve been researching this for some time and working with Alan Jackson, the creator of Gory’u. Out of 25 varieties, I think the best is Acer palmatum ‘Emperor 1’ (pictured). When compared to another dark-leaved cultivar, ‘Bloodgood’; ‘Emperor 1’ bursts later in spring, avoiding late frosts, and holds its colour and leaves for longer. There are several cultivars with good colour through summer, including ‘Crimson Queen’, ‘Red Dragon’, ‘Tamuke Yama’, and ‘Takinyama’, but I still think ‘Emperor 1’ beats them all. It has vigorous growth and an upright habit, growing to 4-5m tall x 2-3m wide. A stunning specimen in any garden. It must have a cool, moist root run - mulch is essential - be positioned in full sun; then it will, like most maples, perform well. It is also sunburn resistant in summer heatwaves. Incidentally Gory’u’s nursery, Maple Springs Nursery, has excellent locally grafted weeping and upright maples for sale.

About this article