Variegated Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus Brilliantissimum

British Grown
Volume 1+
Price per plant £48.00
Price £48.00

All prices include VAT

Product description



This is a small, slow-growing tree with a dense round head. Top-grafted onto a short stem this tree will not grow much larger than 5m (16ft). The young leaves are shrimp-pink in spring and change to pale yellow-green, then darker green with yellow marbling as the summer progresses. One of the major attractions of this tree is that it provides a splash of early colour contrasting well with other foliage and lasting through the summer.  It is suitable for container planting or a welcome addition to the border.

Where to grow

Can be grown in most soil types though it doesn’t like water logged sites or a high water table. Full sun or partial shade are good, avoid deep shady sites as this will effect the colour and size of the leaves. In late summer, the edges of the leaves can start to show stress but this will not harm the tree. 

Did you know?

This tree is normally propagated via top grafting. This means that branches of the Acer pseudoplatanus Brilliantissimum are grafted onto the stem of an already existing tree with a fairly long stem. The reason this is done is that the Brilliantissimum is so slow growing and will not grow straight, so a rootstock with a straight stem is used to obtain the desired look.

Mature height
Very Small up to 5 metres
0-5 meters
Round Headed
Growth rate
Very Slow
Soil type
Light sandy
Sun levels
Full sun
Partial shade
Difficulty/hard to grow
Season of interest
Green and Yellow (variegated)
Early to Leaf
Large Leaves
Needs shelter
Garden Tree
Small garden Tree
City/Urban Sites
Suitable for Containers
Suitable for Patio


Pruning Acer Pseudoplatanus Brilliantissium

Acer Pseudoplatanus Brilliantissium is a variegated cultivar, however new shoots may revert to plain, so remove these shoots if they appear. No other pruning is necessary other than to take out diseased, damaged or crossing stems. Take these off ensuring you make a clean cut that is flush with the main stem.

What time of year should I prune?  Prune in winter (November to January) when the plant is dormant. Acers will bleed if pruned too early.

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.


The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree.  In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

  1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
  2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.

Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.


If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150  1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175  1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.


Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.


By maureen ayrton on 16/05/2015

I have an Acer Brilliantissimum,  had it for 3 years now, it is just about 4.5ft high. Each year it comes into leaf, and looks healthy, then after about 4 weeks when the leaves are a lovely golden yellow colour, the leaves begin to turn brown from the top of the tree, and gradually works down to all the leaves, which curl up. This has happened each year that I have had it. What could it be.
I love the tree and should hate for it to be infected with a disease.

By Simon on 18/05/2015

Hello Maureen,

It is one of 2 things either wind burn or sun scorch. Is it in an exposed site? Sadly the delicate leaves on Acer Brilliantissimum are very prone to the elements.

By Katharine Hockley on 25/08/2016

Would you recommend planting this tree approx 11 feet from my house foundations or would you say this is too close with regard to root spread.  I have done a bit of research and appreciate that this is a slow growing tree with max height of just over 10 feet but cannot find information regarding how the roots spread.

By Simon on 31/08/2016

Hello Katharine,

Although there are too many factors involved in the interaction between tree roots and buildings to give a definitive answer, as a rule of thumb you should plant at a distance of at least half the ultimate height of the tree away from buildings. As this tree can grow to about 16ft, you should be safe at anything over 8ft away.

By Malcolm Turner on 03/08/2017

Hi Simon,

Have recently planted an Acer pseudoplatanus `Brilliantissimum in a 100 ltr dustbin as I only have back yard that is covered in York stone, how often should I water and feed and when should I think about re potting and into what sized container?

look forward to hearing from you.



By Simon on 04/08/2017

Hello Malcolm,

Ideally, you would water a tree in a container every day while in leaf, however a pot that size will hold quite a lot of moisture, so if you miss a day it’s unlikely to dry out. It’s also best if you can plant in a smaller container at first, then re-pot each year into gradually larger containers, as the roots tend to grow straight out to the edge of the pot and circle, so ‘potting on’ regularly results in a root system with more even access to the growing media. I understand why you are keeping the tree in a container, but be aware that it will shorten its lifespan, compared to being grown in the ground. Feed it with slow release feed in spring and early summer, according to packet instructions. Hopefully it will thrive, with care and attention!

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