Velvet Viking Is a Hardy Red Japanese Maple

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Virtues: Velvet Viking Japanese maple offers stunning red-purple, finely cut foliage from spring through fall. Its dramatic weeping/spreading form provides interest over the winter when its branches are bare. This cultivar is lauded as hardier and more tolerant of full sun (outside of the South) than other cutleaf varieties.

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Common name: Velvet Viking cutleaf Japanese maple

Botanical name: Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Monfrick'

Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Foliage: The deciduous leaves show reddish-purple color throughout the growing season. The colors intensify in the fall. The leaves offer incredible fine texture, thanks to their deeply cut segments.

Habit: Velvet Viking Japanese maple is a very compact tree, growing just three feet tall and five feet wide, with branches that spread outward and then weep. Its short stature and dramatic shape make it a candidate for foundation plantings or to anchor a bed.

Origin: This cutleaf Japanese maple comes from Minnesota, where it was discovered by Craig Frick, co-owner of Superior Lawn and Landscape, a garden center in St. Bonifacius. It was introduced by Monrovia in 2019.

How to grow it: Sit Velvet Viking Japanese maple in full sun or part shade. It is more accepting of full sun in cooler, northern climates; a part-shade location would be better in the South, particularly one that protects it from hot afternoon sun. It requires regular water, so provide some during dry spells and intense heat. USDA Zones 4–9.

Image credit: courtesy of Monrovia