Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple) seeds
Unusual in the UK, this maple is native to Eastern North America where it is much prized for its fantastic autumn colours and is a major source of Maple Syrup. The leaves emerge bright green in spring and turn delightful shades of gold, orange, scarlet and crimson in autumn. The more acidic the soil, the more intense the autumn colours will be.
Flowers: Yellow-green in spring on mature trees
Height: Very slow growing to 20m, Position: Full sun in any reasonable soil
Packet of 20 seeds
RHS Plants for Pollinators.
The RHS Plants for Pollinators mark is only given to plants that support pollinating insects. Find out more at rhs.org.uk/plantsforpollinators
These seeds have a double dormancy which needs to be broken before they will germinate, ie. they need to go through a process which simulates the changing seasons.
Sowing Instructions: Sow at any time of the year. Soak seeds for 24 hours in water which starts off hand hot. Sow very thinly in trays or pots of moist, peat based seed compost (eg. Levington), lightly cover with compost and seal inside a polythene bag. Maintain an optimum temperature of 18-21C for 8 weeks, then place the container(s) in the fridge for a further 8 weeks. Then, return to 18-21C and germination should take place. Throughout this process check regularly and ensure the compost does not dry out. Note: Germination can be very erratic, so sow thinly and prick out the seedlings as they become large enough to handle disturbing the rest of the compost as little as possible.
Alternatively, sow as above, seal in a polythene bag and place in a cold frame or sheltered part of the garden and let nature take its course as the seasons change. (I personally find this gives the best results)
Growing Instructions: Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5cm pots. The little trees are best grown on for a year or two in pots and protected from frost for at least the first winter. Care should also be taken to protect them from late spring frosts which can be very damaging. Plant out once established in a sunny or semi-shaded position out of the strong midday sun and sheltered from cold, drying winds. Acers generally will give their best autumn colour in neutral to acid soil or ericaceous compost.