dan1465_z7nj

Koto no ito Japanese maple companion?

dan1465_z7nj
March 25, 2019

Question. Does anybody have a recommendation for a nice red maple that would compliment koto no ito? I planted koto no ito toward the front of my property last year and now have decided I want to plant a red maple behind it and maybe a 3rd yet to be chosen small tree to its left front (when viewed from the street). Koto no ito is yellow green with very thin leaves so I’m thinking my best choice might be a wider leafed red maple.


I’m in zone 6/7NJ and the tree would get no more than 3 hours of direct afternoon sun kinda coming from the back of my property and then about an hour of very late evening filtered light. There’s 16ft of space between my driveway and the lousy sidewalk close to my front porch. It measures 17 1/2ft from koto no itos trunk to the sidewalk. In the pictures, I put an empty black pot on the spot where I think the new tree would go. I’d imagine the new tree would have to be a medium sized tree. I think I’m looking for something that would hold its red color throughout the season.






I don’t think I want a common bloodgood, beautiful yes, but, everyone seems to have one. I’ve been thinking about choosing an Atrolinere, Beni otake, emperor1, twonblys red sentinel or fireglow. Or, maybe a large leaved japonicum like Dancing Peacock. Maybe Shindeshojo? But, neither of the last two are red all season. Grrrrrr What tree would make Koto no ito pop out in the landscape?

I’ve been researching maples for 3 months now and want to get the design right. I feel like I’m driving myself crazy. I would really appreciate any suggestions that you maple folks might have. Thank you so very much in advance. Dan.

Comments (24)

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Two trees do not a design make :-) But I do understand wanting the contrast between the two. Skip the Atrolineare and Beni Otake - the foliage form is too similar - they are just like red versions of your existing tree. Instead go with something that has a larger leaf. And Emperor 1 is virtually indistinguishable from Bloodgood except for a later leaf out.

    Fire Glow would be my first choice simply because it is widely available and backlit by late afternoon sun, the coloring is stunning. And of a mature size manageable in just about any garden. If you want something a little less predictable, I'd consider Suminagashi or Nuresagi.

  • David (N.E. Georgia, zone 8a)

    I agree with gardengal, I'd go with the fire glow. The afternoon sun behind it will really make it glow come fall,

  • dan1465_z7nj

    @ Garedengal48 Yes, I agree with everything you said about the Beni and atrolineare. I think I just love them both so much that I wanted to hear somebody say get one and plant it behind Koto no ito. Lol It would be a mistake to not pick the larger leaved tree. I’ll pick one of those for the other side of the yard. I looked up sumiagashi and Nuresagi. Loved the Sumiagashi and still might consider it. The Nuresagi’s beautiful too but, It appears a little darker in color. Thank you so very much for taking the time to help a fellow gardener. Btw, your name Gardengal48 sounds very familiar. Years ago I was active in the Hosta, Roses and plant exchange forums. We never did a plant exchange did we? (Long shot).


    @David The site really is perfect for a backlit Fireglow. Thank you for reenforcing that idea into my brain. It’s always nice to have a friends pushing to set good ideas into motion via suggestion. That’s what I needed. Thank you.


    Fireglow appears to be the right color, leaf size and height that I’m looking for. Being this is gardenweb, I’m open to any other suggestions. Knowing that others will read and learn from this thread.


    Any suggestions for a short maple for the left front of Fireglow and left(and just slightly back)of Koto no ito. Maybe an autumn moon maple or one that stays small and turns orange in the fall? Or not. Thanks, Dan



  • Mens Tortuosa(5b Omaha, NE)

    Here is my idea with Twombly's Red Sentinel in the rear and Orangeola to the left of your tree. I chose Twombly's because I think you will want something more narrow that close to the house, and because I think it's dense foliage will look nice behind Koto no ito's more open habit.

  • dan1465_z7nj

    @Mens Tortuosa That’s great. Wow, there’s so many ways to skin a cat. It is a narrow area. Twowblys would give me more walk room and it’s definitely described as fuller. I think orangeola would work beautifully too. Thank you very much visual aid it’s awesome.


    I did do a search on Davidson’s maple app. I was looking for a maple that would stay small and be a true orange in the fall. I’m not sure a maple like that exists. At least not one that would look great next to Koto no ito and a red maple. I‘ve also been considering Viridis for the nice green summer color. I’d imagine orangeola and quite a few others would likely be the better choice. There’s so many trees to pick from. I’d plant the suggested combos right now if I had them. Anybody think there might be a better selections that work together as companions? I have a month until I’m going maple shopping here in New Jersey.

  • Mens Tortuosa(5b Omaha, NE)

    Another tree that I considered recommending to you is acer palmatum 'Dr. Brown', which is said to have very good orange fall color. Of course, a lot depends on lighting and other factors. It is not an easier cultivar to find.

  • David (N.E. Georgia, zone 8a)

    For a orange fall color (at least in my area) it's hard to beat a waterfall.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Any of the green laceleafs - Waterfall, Viridis, Lemon Lime Lace, Filigree Lace, Flavescens, etc. - will all produce a decent orange fall color.

    Shishigashira, Sango Kaku (and its relatives), Katsura, Orange Flame and Japanese Sunrise will all produce orangey-peachy fall color as well.

  • dan1465_z7nj

    I checked out Dr. Brown and waterfall. Their both beauties.


    Fortunely my other half gave me an envelope with $200 to only be spent on japanese Maples as my Christmas gift. I have since been adding to it and it is more than double now. I’ll be able to grab a few nice sized trees. The nursery I’m driving to actually has all of the above accept Dr. Brown.


    I planted a nice sized Sanford kaku in my backyard 2 years ago. I agree, it turns a nice orange color in the fall. Spring leaf out is my favorite though. Which reminds me, I also a recommendation for you folks. It’s not a Japanese maple but if you like beautiful gold lacy leaves check out the Elderberry called Sambucus ‘southern gold’. I mail ordered mine two years ago and it has gone from 10 inches tall to 7ft tall In 2 seasons. You cut it back each spring to control its size. I haven’t yet. It’s my favorite new shrub/plant. My property is a registered Monarch Butterfly weight station so I usually keep to planting wildlife friendly flowers, trees and shrubs. But, I make acceptions for certains trees :) I’m still eying up an Atrolinere or Beni otake for the backyard too.


    Thank you all.


  • dan1465_z7nj

    Update. I really appreciated all the advice I got and wanted to share the outcome with you folks and others. I ended up purchasing and planting AP Pixie behind my Koto No ito. I did also buy a small fireglow that I planted in my backyard. I couldn’t get one with any size here in NJ. I planted a small Seiryu front and center on the opposite side of the front as well as a nice AP Amber ghost next to the left side of my front porch. Hoping it will eventually take over that area and view beautifully from my porch as well as from the street. We’ll see. I also planted Hubbs red willow in the center of the backyard.

    2 1/2 years ago I purchased this house. The only thing growing in the backyard was the 2 big holly trees. Everything else was planted by me. It might not look like it but, it’s a very young garden. In a few years as the shrubs mature along the back fence we will gain privacy from the neighbors. I already realize I’ve made quite a few bad planting choices but, ive created a wildlife friendly garden and it’s a Monarch butterfly weigh station. I think I’m a glutton for punishment as I’m always moving things around.








  • dan1465_z7nj

    Sorry I can only seem to upload one picture at a time.


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