Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' viewed from underneath
Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'
Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' is a popular Japanese Maple noted for its very deep reddish-purple foliage. The leaves have 5-7 slender-pointed lobes, and hold their colour well during the autumn - usually turning an attractive red colour. Small purple flowers appear shortly after the leaves fully emerge in the spring, and are followed by red, winged seed pods which also add ornamental value. It is arguably one of the best purple-leaved forms of all of the Acer palmatum cultivars.

It is a large, bushy deciduous shrub with an upright habit, which under favourable conditions can be expected to grow to a height and spread of approximately 2.5 - 4 metres in 10 years. Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' is a particularly hardy cultivar capable of overwintering with little or no protection throughout the UK and northern Europe. In fact it has been recorded as surviving temperatures as low as -15 to -20 degrees Celsius.

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' viewed from above
Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' 
Grow Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' in a moist but well-drained soil, preferably one which is organically rich and slightly acidic. Unlike some of the more delicately leaved Japanese maples, it will not require a sheltered position, unless it is being grown in a particularly exposed position.

It will be happy in full sun or semi-shade although foliage colour will be best in partial shade. Water during periods of drought and be aware that leaf scorch can occur if the soil has been allowed to dry out or experiences excessive exposure. Some growers have complained that once their specimens have established themselves they can lose their attractive colour, turning a dull, muddy-brown. In this instance, consider moving to a shadier position, improve soil conditions and digg in plenty of ericaceous compost before re-planting. Feed during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer rich in micronutrients such as seaweed-based fertilizers.

The 'Bloodgood' cultivar is one of the oldest forms grown in the United States and believed to have been named in honour of the Bloodgood Nursery which was formed in 1798 on Long Island. However there is a certain amount of controversy as Dutch growers in Boskoop claim that it was a selected form of one of their the first Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' specimens obtained from Japan through the sole trading port in Nagasaki.

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' is a Mississippi Medallion Award Winner and received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993.

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