Purple Ghost OK (or not) in full sun?

growitnowMay 6, 2013

Hi, one specific question, one more general.

Can Purple Ghost handled full sun? There is a nice example at local nursery I am considering for my front yard. Zone 7 Virginia, hot summers, full sun.

Second more general question, I would be very grateful for insight. I have been trying to choose red palmatum cultivar of japanese maple for front yard. I've ranked them as

Emperor I (or Red Emperor)
Purple Ghost?

I know Fireglow is supposed to be smaller than the rest and I infer the remainder about all the same in terms of size and habit. But my question is in terms of general desirable features of red (purple) leaf maple, does my 'ranking' look about right? Am I missing any standouts. I guess basically I'm looking for alternatives to bloodgood, and wondering whether those alternatives are better or not. Sorry if this is a naive question, I'm trying to compare and contrast based on Vertrees.

I ask because I will have be make compromises in terms of what is available at local nurseries. Thanks,

This post was edited by growitnow on Tue, May 7, 13 at 6:18

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I have linked a good thread about 'Purple Ghost' below.
They seem to be quite sun tolerant, but "full" sun on an any of the reticulated varieties is not something I would ever recommend. Afternoon shade is always appreciated especially in the heat and humidity of your summers.

And don't let local nursery availability stifle your urges- if I did that I would have a yard full of Emerald Green arborvitae and boxwood. All of the 22 JM's I have were mail order and in seven years I haven't been disappointed or lost one yet.

(edited horrific typo)

Here is a link that might be useful: Purple Ghost

This post was edited by cearbhaill on Tue, May 7, 13 at 17:01

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:36AM
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I'd agree with the recommendation for some afternoon shade for 'Purple Ghost'.

And it's hard to rate the trees you list. Leaf color varies widely between them, as does mature size and growth habit. The variety I use most often for my design clients is 'Fireglow', as it has more of a RED red/less purple coloring and a good, compact size. And it gets superb fall color. I would recommend other red leaved forms for other reasons.......it's all a matter of personal taste :-)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 2:29PM
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Thank you, these are very helpful replies. I will not further consider purple ghost for this site..

gardengal (or anyone else), I was wondering if you might educate me about leaf color and growth habit differences you mention. I have trouble seeing distinctions in descriptions..


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Fireglow has a redder tone (less maroon or wine colored) to the foliage than the others and turns a very intense coppery red in fall. It is a small upright form- maybe 12-15' tall and with a slightly narrower crown.

Bloodgood and Emperor I are virtually identical - Emperor I just leafs out a bit later than Bloodgood so better for colder areas that may experience late frosts. The mature size, leaf shape and color are pretty much indistinguishable. Big trees as much as 25-30' in my climate and with an equal spread.

Purple Ghost is almost lavender in coloring, sometimes with a purple green cast. It is a reticulated variety so veining is very prominent and quite dark This is a fairly petite tree, maybe 12' tall and half as wide. The leaves are deeply lobed and rather small.

Moonfire has some of the deepest colored foliage of any JM - almost a black purple. Produces a kind of iridescense in the sun. Otherwise it has a similar appearance to both Bloodgood and Emp I and will reach a similar size.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Hi thanks this is very helpful.

Vertrees indicates Emperor I has thinner leaves than bloodgood, so leaves 'glow' more in sun. which seems a desirable attribute. I missed opprtunity to buy a 6ft Fireglow at nursery. I could really see the redder tone you describe. Very nice. If I do go the nursery route I may go with Emperor I.

I'm lucky that there is a commercial supplier about an hour away who also sells to public..that has pretty extensive selection.

I have about 7 Japanese maples and love them but am very ignorant about all the cultivars out there.

is fantastic. I would welcome any suggestions for cultivars I might consider. Just click Inventory, then Retail availability. They show ALL current stock. This is the nursery about an hour away from me where I will go to choose.

Thanks alot for your help, this is really very helpful!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 7:06PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Late to the party, but purple ghost cooks in full sun in st louis. Maybe parts of England....

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 7:14PM
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