Acer palmatum Ukigumo is one of my top 5 favorite maples. Ukigumo in Japanese means ‘Floating Cloud Tree’ due to the spreading habit of the branches in layers that Japanese translate to clouds. The new growth has green leaves variegated with flecks of white and pink which add to the overall cloud effect.

Ukigumo is one of the nicest maples in the variegated group and one of the favorites at the nursery. In September the entire maple turns pink before changing to the final leaf color – crimson red .

Recommended sun exposure is in the morning with some shade protection in the hot afternoon sun. Estimated height in 10 years is 10′ and a width nearly 6′. Ukigumo like other Japanese maples benefits from some pruning to shape the tree, as well as removing any dead branches. A must for a Japanese Maple collector with a shady place. Once established this cultivar is hardy to USDA zone 6. For more information see Pruning Japanese Maples.

The first photo shows the wonderful variegation – green, white and pink in late summer. The second photo shows spring/summer variegation and the third photo shows our display Ukigumo in front of a giant red lace leaf. I like the color contrast.