The Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple (Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’) Care Guide

The Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple, otherwise known as the Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ or Full Moon Maple ‘Aconitifolium’, Fern-Leaf Maple ‘Aconitifolium’, Downy Japanese Maple ‘Aconitifolium’, Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium Maiku Jaku’, Acer japonicum ‘Filicifolium’, Acer japonicum ‘Laciniatum’, Acer japonicum Meigetsu, Acer parsonii, Acer shirasawanum ‘Lacinatum’, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and slow growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its peculiar leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.
  • Light: Keep your Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple belongs to the Sapindaceae family, the genus Acer and the species Japonicum, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ (AY-ser juh-PON-ih-kum a-kon-eye-tee-FOH-lee-um).

Other common Sapindaceae species include Acer Griseum, Acer palmatum ‘Seiryû’, Acer Palmatum, Autumn Moon Fullmoon Maple, Fort Mcnair Red Horse Chestnut, Crimson King Norway Maple, Acer Rubrum ‘Frank Jr.’ Plant Patent #16769, Acer Palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ and Dwarf Horse Chestnut.

As with other Acer’s, the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 7 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a and the ideal climate zone is between 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ can grow up to 8′ – 10′ (240cm – 3m) in 8′ – 10′ (240cm – 3m) and 8′ – 10′ (240cm – 3m) in 8′ – 10′ (240cm – 3m). 

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.


In terms of watering, the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple is a fairly simple plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

The Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple produces some beautiful red, pink, gold/yellowgray/silver, and burgundy flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple have a beautiful dark green and reddish colors during most of the year.

In particular, they have a compound (pinnately, bipinnately, palmately) and simple arrangement with a opposite organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ to be around (3-6 inches) in size.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Acer Japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ owners agree that this shrub will look great in most asian/zen gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of japanese garden, city and courtyard, informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple’s best location within your garden is in patio and containers, beds and borders, and in small gardens, others use it for landscaping in a privacy screen, container, urban garden, firescaping/fire wise, specimen, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Pieris, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Paeonia will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Fernleaf Full-Moon Maple, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

Recent Posts