Acer palmatum ‘Ukigumo’ Japanese Maple

Plant Size Information



Variegation in pastel tones and leaves that may curl or twist distinguish this attractive Japanese maple. In spring, the light green leaves display white-pink spots, sometimes covering large areas.  In summer, the variegation softens, and in fall, the foliage goes gold.  The shrub-like tree benefits from protection from afternoon sun.



USDA Hardiness Map

Plant Form

Ukigumo, or Floating Clouds Japanese Maple, is an exquisite, variegated cultivar with dazzling white, pink, and green coloring that changes with the seasons and environmental conditions. This small tree can be a bright focal point and illuminate a garden with its unusual, light-colored leaves.
Most of the foliage emerges pale green in the spring, with white spots and a pink edging, but some leaves can be all-white or pink. In late summer, the color softens, and the leaves become delightfully twisted and curled. In fall, they turn a golden yellow-orange before dropping, and when the branches are bare, the current year’s red growth provides ongoing interest during the winter. Small dark pink flowers stand out among the light foliage in early spring and become pink, winged samaras a few weeks later.
In addition to seasonal color changes, environmental conditions can also change the foliage color. Too much sun, fertilizer, or lack of water can limit the amount of variegation and cause the leaves to scorch. And as temperatures rise in the summer, more green and pink will develop.
Ukigumo maple grows in a variety of soil types as long as they are moist, somewhat acidic, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. The amount and intensity of sun it receives will significantly affect its growth and variegation. The tree needs moderate light intensity, such as morning sun or bright shade, rather than full sun. Hot afternoon sun can damage its delicate, variegated leaves, especially in the warmer zones of its 5-9 range.
Keeping the soil moist is essential to prevent the leaves from burning in the summer. The tree needs to be watered regularly while it is establishing the first year or two and then during dry periods. Laying down a layer of mulch will retain moisture and help to keep the roots cool. Ukigumo grown as a container plant or bonsai will need to be watered more frequently than grown in the garden since the soil will dry out faster in a pot.
This beautiful tree grows at a moderate rate of 9″-12″ per year. In 10 years, it will reach a height of 8′-12′ and a width of 4′-8′. Its upright, dense, and somewhat columnar form makes it an excellent choice for small spaces such as city gardens, woodland gardens, Japanese gardens, containers, or bonsai.
Ukigumo is a delightful showpiece for any garden, and companion plants that share its cultural requirements can enhance its beauty. Acid-loving plants, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurels, hemlock, and hydrangeas, make an excellent backdrop for the light-colored leaves of the Japanese maple. Low-growing perennials around the tree, such as hostas, coral bells, ferns, hellebores, and cascading ornamental grasses, enhance the area around the tree and make it a showcase of garden artistry.
This tree does attract pollinators even though it is mainly wind-pollinated. Bees and songbirds love to visit the bright pink flowers in the spring, and squirrels find the new growth tasty. Fortunately, Ukigumo Japanese maple is considered deer-, rabbit-, and heat-resistant.

Additional information

Weight N/A
Latin Name

Acer palmatum 'Ukigumo'

Plant Size

#1 Container, #3 Container, #5 Container, Specimen

Common name

Ukigumo or Floating clouds Japanese maple

Sun Exposure

Sun/Part Shade



HxW@10 Years






Growth Rate


Hardiness Zone

Zones 5-9



Growth Rate

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