Q.Are 'Full Moon ' maples (Acer japonicum) suitable for Southern California? If not, What variety of maple do you suggest? I live in The Rancho Santa Fe area of North San Diego county.
A. I've seen 'Full Moon' maples growing in protected spots or as bonsais here in Southern California. If you decide to grow them you should keep them in pots located in protected areas with filtered shade; also when they grow here their leaves tend to burn starting about mid-summer.
If that's not discouraging enough there’s another problem now –many maple species here are under attack by a pest called the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer. This beetle has been killing maples here and will probably only get worse, so you taking a big gamble no matter what maple you plant. The pest is currently not in San Diego County but at the current rate of spread may soon be.
University of Conneticut Horticultural Information Page:
Mendecino Maples Acer japonicum selection: