Archive for fall color in shade

Shade Gardening in Fall: Coral Bark Maple

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, Shade Gardening with tags , , , , on November 10, 2010 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Sugar Maple

I have a love/ hate relationship with fall.  I try to take joy in the fall colors and the plants that come into their own in fall.  But I can’t quite ignore the feeling, even though it’s wrong, that the garden is dying.  And, I have to admit that, although I like snow, I don’t like cold and that’s what fall is heading towards.

I think that is why plants that turn beautiful fall colors like the sugar maple pictured above and those that bloom in winter have always been a priority for me.  The riot of color distracts me.  I can rearrange my mental state by viewing winter blooms as the start of  spring (more about that in a later post).  So, to improve my mental state right now, I want to mention a shade tree that has outstanding fall color as well as year round interest.

The four photographs above are of coral bark Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’).  Once you have your splashy sugar maple, you should make room for this elegant tree.  Although rightfully famous for its dazzling  coral-red bark in late winter and spring, I think it should be equally prized for its long-lasting apricot-gold fall color.  I can’t take my eyes off it this time of year especially when the sun shines through it—it’s magical!

Culturally it is a 20-25′ understory tree with an elegant, spreading vase shaped habit.  Easy to grow in part to more shade.  It is also readily available in nurseries around the mid-Atlantic area.

Some other trees at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens with amazing fall color:  flowering dogwood (native), kousa dogwood, Rutger’s hybrid dogwoods (native hybrid), pagoda dogwood (native), other Japanese maple species and cultivars, American hornbeam (native), red maple (native), ‘Okame’ cherry, Yoshino cherry, and Katsura.

Please send me a comment/leave a reply with the names of your favorite trees for fall color.

For more information on the coral bark maple and any other plant you want to know about, I highly recommend the Plant Finder provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden‘s Kemper Center for Home Gardening.  I have added this site to my favorites and use it frequently to get information on plants I am researching.  I have provided a permanent link to this wonderful site under Plant Information on my sidebar so you will always be able to find it.


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