Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)There’s no question that Japanese maples are beautiful, with colorful leaves in spring and fall, and graceful bare trunks in winter (some even have colorful trunks). With so many different varieties available, the secret is choosing the right one for your patio. As a rule, the common green-leaf species (Acer palmatum) tolerates more sun and heat (which can accumulate on a paved patio) better than varieties with fancy or colorful leaves; the common green one also tends to grow faster and taller. USDA zones: 5 to 8Water requirement: ModerateLight requirement: Full sun in cool-summer climates; partial shade during the hottest part of the day in most areasMature size: 15 to 25 feet high and 10 to 25 feet wide, depending on varietyGrowing tips: Choose your plant in spring or fall to get the desired foliage color. Provide well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Burned tips of leaves indicate sunburn (provide more shade) or damage from salts in water (flood the root zone with water).