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A picture of a Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'

Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'

Acer palmatum (Palmatum Group) 'Butterfly'

Also known as

Variegated Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'

Photo by CandideUK (All rights reserved)

Partial Shade
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'

A photo of Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'
A photo of Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'

Japanese Maple 'Butterfly' Overview

Acer palmatum 'Butterfly' is an upright deciduous shrub or small tree. It produces variegated leaves that are doubly serrated, light blue-green, with cream-white and pale pink-tinted margins. In autumn, the cream areas turn crimson before the leaves fall. Small red flowers may appear in spring, followed by winged fruits in summer. Commonly known by the names Japanese Maple 'Butterfly' and Variegated Japanese Maple 'Butterfly', it is occasionally sold with the synonym Acer palmatum 'Kocho-no-mai'. It likes a sheltered position in partial shade. Leaf colour will be more impressive when grown in a slightly shaded area, but it will tolerate full sun if soil conditions are moist enough. Otherwise, leaf scorch may occur. It prefers soil that is on the acid, rather than the alkaline side, which is moist but well-drained. So keep well watered during dry spells (and regularly water newly planted trees). Additional plant feed may be required for potted or container-grown specimens. Acers can also benefit from spring and/or winter mulching with a helping of ericaceous material such as pine needles or chopped bracken. Little to no pruning is recommended; however, removing dead or unwanted branches can be done in late autumn to midwinter. A low-maintenance, architectural plant, Acer palmatum 'Butterfly' is a welcome addition to many garden styles, including courtyards, rock gardens and Japanese style gardens. It can be grown to good effect in a large container and is suitable for small gardens. Also suitable for Bonsai training.

Common problems with Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'

How to propagate Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'



Take soft wood cuttings in early summer.

Special features of Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'

Attractive leaves

Autumn colour

Pot plant

Other uses of Japanese Maple 'Butterfly'

Acer palmatums have been given an OPALS rating of 5, use with moderation in a low allergen planting scheme.