How to Grow Your Japanese Maple Tree and Its Varieties 2022

If you’re a Japanese Maple Tree lover then we bet you already know how special these small trees are. They’re simply fascinating, and are one of the most suitable trees for a beautiful landscape. There’s no better tree for a captivating cottage garden than the Japanese Maple Tree. Apart from its undeniable allure, many other features and facts make this tree unique.

For example, they can live up to 100 years, and their leaves make a delicious fried snack in Osaka. This fascinating tree has great cultural value and history from as far back as the 16th century in Japan. What’s not to love about this cute little “eager-to-please” deciduous tree?

Are you motivated to plant a Japanese Maple Tree in your garden already? That’s not a bad idea. In this article, we’ll let you in on everything you need to know about the Japanese Maple Tree. If you want some pointers for the best products to start your Japanese Maple Tree garden, we’ve got you too.

Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?


OUR FAVORITES

  • Easy growing and maintenance
  • Great adaptability to the environment
  • Size: 3 to 4 feet
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  • Easy to grow
  • Low maintenance
  • Outstanding color
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  • Style: Red Dragon
  • Beautiful foliage plant
  • Comes in a trade gallon pot
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Top 7 Products to Grow Your Japanese Maple Trees

As a beginner, it’s perfectly normal to make some mistakes while growing your Japanese Maple Trees. That’s especially when it comes to selecting the right products.

Fortunately, you can limit such errors by considering the following premium Japanese Maple Tree products for your garden:

1. Brighter Blooms – Bloodgood Japanese Maple Tree – Top Pick

Top Pick
Brighter Blooms - Bloodgood Japanese Maple Tree

Purchase these easy-to-grow trees if you wish to plant a Bloodgood Japanese Maple. This Maple tree can grow up to 15 feet.

Size: 4-5 feet

Variety:  Acer palmatum atropurpureum

Growing Requirement: Partial shade

Style: Bloodgood Japanese Maple

Are you too busy to pay attention to your garden? No problem. This tree from Brighter Blooms is low-maintenance, and you can forget about it once you plant them properly.

Pros:

  • Easy to grow
  • Low maintenance
  • Outstanding color

2. Brighter Blooms – Tamukeyama Japanese Maple – Best Seeds for Hardy Trees

Best Seeds for Hardy Trees
Brighter Blooms - Tamukeyama Japanese Maple

Here's another amazing tree from the best hands— Brighter Blooms. This tree is suitable for USDA Hardiness Zone 5.

Size: 3 to 4 feet

Variety: Acer Palmatum Dissectum

Growing Condition: Partial shade and full sun

Style: Tamukeyama

Pros:

  • Easy growing and maintenance
  • Great adaptability to the environment

3. Red Dragon Weeping Japanese Maple Tree – Best Seeds for Colorful Garden

Best Seeds for Colorful Garden
Red Dragon Weeping Japanese Maple Tree

New Life Nursery and Garden offers you the most reliable Red Dragon Maple tree you can get nowhere else.

Size: Trade Gallon Pot

Variety: Acer Palmatum Dissectum

Style: Red Dragon

Pros:

  • Beautiful foliage plant
  • Comes in a trade gallon pot

4. October Glory Maple Tree – Best Seeds for Bright Garden

Best Seeds for Bright Garden
October Glory Maple Tree

October Glory Maple trees from Brighter Blooms will grow beautifully in your gardens. This is one plant you'll never get tired of admiring.

Size: 5 to 6 feet

Style: Red Maple Tree

Growing Condition: Full sun, Partial shade

Pros:

  • Easy to grow and maintain
  • Relatively fast-growing cultivar

5. Little Sango Dwarf Coral Bark Japanese Maple – Best Seeds for Small Maple Plant

Best Seeds for Small Maple Plant
Little Sango Dwarf Coral Bark Japanese Maple

Do you love small and colorful Japanese Maple Trees? Then this dwarf maple with bright colors from Japanese Maple Trees and Evergreen is for you.

Variety: Acer Palmatum Red Wood

Growing Condition: Partial Shade

Pros:

  • Beautiful and bright colors in all seasons
  • Great value for money

6. Dancing Peacock Fern Leaf Japanese Maple – Runner Up Seeds for Bright Garden

Runner Up Seeds for Bright Garden
Dancing Peacock Fern Leaf Japanese Maple

This Dancing Peacock Fern Leaf isn't afraid to shine. It's a unique and delightful plant for any garden.

Unit Count: 1

Growing Condition: Partial shade, Full Sun

Pros:

  • Has the best Japanese Maple Tree fall foliage
  • Easy to grow
  • Award-winning plant

7. Little Red Dwarf Japanese Maple – Runner Up Seeds for Colorful Garden

Runner Up Seeds for Colorful Garden
Little Red Dwarf Japanese Maple

This tree makes the perfect bonsai. You'll fall in love with its gorgeous colors at once. For best results plant in fall.

Unit Count: 1

Height: 4 feet upon maturity

Pros:

  • Value for money
  • Premium quality plant

Types of Japanese Maple Trees 

Here’s another amazing fact about the Japanese Maple Tree, or Acer palmatum—it has over a thousand varieties. However, plant experts have grouped them into the following categories for easy identification:

  • Atropurpureum

In science, “atropurpureum” refers to plants with dark reddish-purple leaves. The Acer palmatum atropurpureum has a deeper purple color in spring, looks greenish in full sun, and turns scarlet during fall. Nicknamed “Bloodgood,” this Japanese Maple Tree cultivar was developed in the Bloodgood Nursery in Long Island, New York City. This Japanese Maple Tree variety is an amazing choice for an ornamental garden.

The Bloodgood Japanese Maple loves full sun to partial shade, and is native to Japan, China, and Korea. They typically grow to about 15 to 20 feet high, making them one of the larger Japanese Maple Tree shrubs. Planting this species in your garden is a delight.

  • Dissectum 

Acer palmatum Dissectum is one of the most common Japanese Maple Tree varieties. It’s an ornamental plant with lace-like filigree foliage, with many of them having a weeping growth habit.

In summer, their leaves are green but change to yellow in autumn, although the foliage color differs depending on cultivars. They thrive in moist but well-drained, acidic soils, and do well when along a pond’s edges.

The Garnet, Red Dragon, and Crimson Queen are some of our favorite plants under this grouping. Other plant cultivars include Tamukeyama, Green Mist, Inaba Shidara, Seiryu, and many more.

Garnet’s leaves maintain the reddish-orange color of a deep garnet stone in summer and turn purplish-green in spring. It becomes bright red in autumn. Garnet trees typically grow to a height of 9–12 feet.

Growing to about 10 and 12 feet tall and wide, Crimson Queen is just the perfect size for your landscape. They are excellent trees for meditation gardens too.

Crimson Queen is crimson red in summer, but combines red, purple, bronze, and yellow colors in autumn. It goes to about 10 feet tall and is one of the smallest and most beautiful of the Japanese Maple Trees—a true queen, if you may.

  • Palmatum 

Palmatum is a Latin word for the “hand,” making the prominent distinguishing feature between this Japanese Maple variety and others. This variety has foliage with about 5 to 7 lobes that take the shape of a human hand.

Its sinus is a little below the leaf’s length. Diana and Red Wood are some of the most common cultivars of this variety.

Acer palmatum Diana, with its semi-pendulous branches, makes excellent bonsai as it only grows to 3 to 6 inches. It has a compact tree form, with its leaves turning yellow or gold in spring and red in autumn.

Acer palmatum Red Wood has green, flushed red leaves and red flowers in spring. It turns bright green in summer, bright red in winter, and flushed pink/yellow in fall. It’s named after Ed Wood, the one who discovered it.

  • Variegatum 

Acer palmatum Variegatum refers to medium-sized Japanese Maple Trees that have different colors (variegated) beyond their margins. Our favorite plants in this grouping include Ukigumo (Floating Clouds), Peaches and Cream, Acer negundo Ghost, and Acer sieboldianum Variegated Japanese Maple.

Ukigumo or Floating Clouds is a unique variety in this grouping. They have pale, medium-sized green foliage with white blotches and soft pink shades in spring. In fall, their leaves may turn yellow-orange.

“Peaches and Cream” has more spread than height. Although slow-growing, it can live as long as 60 years. It has creamy-white and rose pink in spring; in summer, the leaves turn green and white with pink margins.

Negundo Variegatum (Silver Variegated Box Elder or Ghost Maple) are fast-growing trees with pale green leaves. It also has creamy silver and pink speckles on its foliage. It has a rounded habit and grows to about 8m.

Acer sieboldianum Variegated Japanese Maple (Variegated Siebold’s Maple or Kumoi Nishiki) has light green foliage with creamy white spots. In autumn, the leaves’ colors range from orange to brilliant red.

  • Red Wood 

The Acer palmatum Red Wood is a unique Japanese Maple with a conspicuous red-colored bark. Its leaves are flushed red to green in spring and yellow or flushed pink in fall. It has green foliage in summer and red flowers in spring.

Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ (Coral Bark Japanese Maple) is one of the most common maple trees in this category. Its leaves are light green in summer, pinkish-yellow in fall, and have beautiful reddish flowers in spring. The Coral Bark Japanese Maple is well-sought after.

This plant loves full sun or partial shade, and requires low maintenance. Due to Sango-kaku’s uniqueness, it clinched the garden merit award from the Rich Horticultural Society. If you want a maple that makes your landscape a tourist attraction, here you have it!

  • Matsumurae 

Acer palmatum Matsumurae has deeply cut and rounded 7 to 9 lanceolate lobed leaves with smooth margins. If you want to grow a maple tree for its foliage then this is a suitable cultivar for you.

“Omurayama” is one of the most common examples of this Japanese Maple shrub grouping. Also called “fern leaf,” this cultivar grows up to 10-15 feet in height and spread. It’s one of our favorite weeping forms of Japanese Maple Trees.

In spring, Omurayama is light green with orange margins and small reddish flowers. The foliage turns green in summer, and is a mix of bright red, gold, and orange in fall.

  • Corallinum

Acer palmatum Corallinum is easy to spot in spring when it shines the brightest with its outstanding reddish-pink leaves. In summer, the leaves add a green hue and turn bright scarlet in Autumn. They have small to medium-sized leaves with about seven clear-cut lobes.

This cultivar isn’t common, so if you want your Japanese Maple garden to stand out from others, consider planting this. It grows slowly and typically reaches a height and spread of about 3 and 4 meters.

Amber Ghost and Deshōjō are common examples of Acer palmatum Corallinum. Amber Ghost fades to melon color from bright red, turning green in fall and orange and scarlet in autumn. Deshōjō has bright pink and green foliage in spring and turns green with reddish-bronze hints on their edges during summer.

  • Amoenum 

Amoenum includes any Japanese Maple plant (Acer palmatum) that can’t be categorized in any other group. Their leaves are typically green, with seven sharply pointed lobes. Ōsakazuki is a typical example of this variety.

Ōsakazuki has a rounded habit with relatively large seven palmately-lobed leaves. They possess green foliage in summer, which turns bright scarlet in autumn. Ōsakazuki will usually reach about 4 meters high and wide after 10 to 2o years.

This Japanese Maple has one of the most stunning colors in autumn compared to other species. Like Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, Ōsakazuki has received the Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.

  • Linearilobum 

Acer palmatum linearilobum (Bamboo-Leaf Japanese Maple) is an open deciduous tree that grows to about 4m high. It gets its nickname from its long, deeply cut bamboo-like green leaves, and turns orange-red in fall. This variety has high ornamental value, and is perfect for small gardens.

Red Pygmy and Koto No Ito (meaning ‘golden old harp’) are good examples of the Bamboo-Leaf Japanese Maple Tree. Acer palmatum Red Pygmy grows more slowly than many other species in its group. Its leaves are reddish-green in summer, brilliant red in spring and fall.

Acer palmatum Koto No Ito has 5 – 7 strap-like lobes. This species starts out red but turns bright green in summer and vibrant golden yellow in autumn.

  • Reticulatum 

Acer palmatum Reticulatum Japanese Maple Trees have distinct vein colors from the rest of its leaf. Its interiors are creamy green, while its veins are bright green. This plant has numerous other outstanding features as well, depending on the species.

Some of Acer palmatum Reticulatum’s classic examples include “Aka-shigitatsu-sawa,” “Nathan,” and “First Ghost.”

Aka-shigitatsu-sawa Japanese Maple has creamy white leaves with green veins. Acer palmatum Nathan has peachy foliage that turns bright red in fall and green in summer. Acer palmatum Reticulatum is a small tree with creamy white leaves and deep green veins.

  • Aureum 

Acer palmatum Aureum has unique bright yellow or orange leaves in spring. They develop yellow or lime green foliage in summer, gradually fading to pale chartreuse in autumn.

Acer shirasawanum Aureum (also Golden full moon maple) is one of the most common varieties of Acer palmatum Aureum. This maple tree can grow as tall as 20m in height and width on suitable soil. It grows chartreuse-gold foliage in spring that turns orange-red in fall.

Acer palmatum summer gold Japanese Maple is another classic member of this group. This plant has chartreuse to yellow-green foliage that turns gold in summer and orange or red in fall. The third example in this category is the Acer shirasawanum Autumn Moon, a slow-growing plant with unique coloring.

  • Witches’-Broom 

Witches’-Broom is a special variety of the Japanese Maple Tree, and we’ll tell you why. It has a genetic mutation that makes its middle lobe shorter than the surrounding ones, unlike other Japanese Maple Trees. Skeeter’s Broom, Vic’s Broom, and Carlis Corner Broom are excellent examples of Witches’ Broom.

Acer Palmatum Skeeter’s Broom has bright red foliage in spring that turns bright scarlet before shedding in fall. It has beautiful purple-red leaves in summer and is perfect for small gardens.

Acer Palmatum Vic’s Broom has dense lime green foliage with rose-red margins that turn into yellow, orange, and red in fall. On the other hand, Carlis Corner Broom has pink leaves in spring and a summer burgundy foliage that turns dark red in autumn.

  • Pine Bark 

Pine Bark Japanese Maple has a rough bark with a striking resemblance to the Japanese black pine. With its pine-like bark as the only distinctive characteristic in the group, Japanese Maple Trees in this category have varied foliage.

For example, Nishiki gawa Pine Bark has green foliage throughout spring and summer, but turns orange and red in autumn. Meanwhile, Acer palmatum Arakawa Rough Bark Japanese Maple turns golden-yellow from its green color in autumn. Again, Nishiki gawa has a more noticeable bark than Arakawa and other forms.

  • Convexum 

The Japanese Maple Trees in this group have convex lobes. That is, the lobes are round-like and curve outwards. They are typically hybrids with a strong shirasawanum influence.

Trompenburg Japanese Maple is a classic example of Acer palmatum Convexum. Trompenburg has foliage that looks like an open hand with outspread fingers. The leaves are deep purple to red in spring, and develop into rich crimson in the fall. It has a high tolerance for the sun.

This Japanese Maple makes an interesting landscape with its outstanding foliage. It’s easy to maintain and has a height and spread of about 7 and 4 meters. You’ll love tending to this tree in your garden.

  • Crispum 

Acer palmatum ‘Crispum’ Dwarf Japanese Maple! Like us, we are sure you’d love this little Japanese Maple Tree at first sight with its wavy leaf margins. Let’s describe this variety with our favorite species in the group—Shishigashira, Mikawa Yatsubusa, and Krazy Krinkle.

Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’ (Lion’s Head Maple) has a crinkled, tightly compact glossy-green foliage that we adore. With its leaves turning gold to red in autumn, this tree grows short and thick. It’s very attractive and makes the perfect bonsai.

Acer palmatum Mikawa Yatsubusa is usually less than 4 feet high, although it can grow to about 8 feet. Its foliage is light green in spring and orange to scarlet in fall. It has an outstandingly fine texture and an upright spreading growth habit.

Acer palmatum Krazy Krinkle Japanese Maple bright chartreuse and purple curled foliage in spring. It turns red and orange in autumn. It typically doesn’t grow beyond ten feet high.

Our favorite of this group, Acer palmatum Shishigashira, is quite a bit taller than other Cripsum trees, growing to about 15 feet. It’s perfect for a small garden.

  • Sessilifolium 

Sessilifolium Japanese Maple (Stalkless Maple) has attractive deep-cut green foliage. The Maples in this category lack petioles, the stalk that joins leaves to stems. They typically have a height and spread of about 10 feet.

The Japanese Maple Beni Hagoromo is a Sessilifolium with feather-like foliage. Its leaves are brilliant red in spring and dark purple-red in summer. In fall, they turn orange and bright red.

The Beni Hagoromo Japanese Maple Tree is also called Acer palmatum ‘Tamuke yama’. It’s a very beautiful species to have in your garden. They can grow to about 12 feet.

  • Marginatum 

Here’s another Japanese Maple variety with variegated foliage. However, you shouldn’t confuse Marginatum with the Variegatum varieties, as they have a more contrasting margin/center coloring than Variegatum. Yama Nishiki and Shirazz are classic examples of this variety.

Acer palmatum ‘Yama nishiki’ (‘Snow Peak’) has white margined foliage with obvious and attractive saw-like margins. It turns rich pink in autumn and has a very attractive look. It thrives in acidic, well-drained soils.

Acer palmatum Shirazz changes its colors through its growing season. It has uniquely red foliage with pink margins in spring, with its center turning greenish-red until fall.


How to Grow Your Japanese Maple Trees 

Here’s how to grow and care for your Japanese Maple Trees correctly in your garden:

  • Grow Japanese Maple Trees Under the Right Conditions

There are three ways to grow Japanese Maple Trees — from seeds, cuttings, or through transplanting. The three methods each have their own advantages and demerits, so make sure you research the best methods before you plant.

Regardless of the method you choose, it’s essential to ensure that you have the right conditions to grow them. Otherwise, you may end up with under-developed and malnourished trees that wouldn’t survive for long.

The first thing to know about Japanese Maple Trees is that they love partial shade and some sun (not extreme). What makes partial shade depends on your location.

If you live in a cold region with low temperatures, your Japanese Maple Tree will require full sun. It also depends on your plant’s variety, as some varieties (like Variegated maple trees) have low sun resistance.

Japanese Maple Trees love well-draining and moist soil with a pH of about 5.5 to 6.5. You must also consider your plant’s height upon maturity, so that you can plant them in spacious gardens. This plant also loves regular watering.

  • Prune Them 

It’s not compulsory to prune your Japanese Maple Trees, as they can do well without it. However, in a case where you must prune (when there are dead or diseased branches), ensure that you do it correctly.

When pruning, ensure that you use clean shears or clippers by disinfecting them to avoid spreading an infection to healthy parts. Also, it’s best to prune your Japanese Maple Trees in the middle of winter, while they’re still dormant.

It’s easier to structure your plants to your taste in this period. You can also prune your Maple Trees when they overgrow and end up reaching unwanted areas.

  • Mulch Properly 

There are two essential reasons to mulch your Japanese Maple Trees. The first is to insulate the roots, especially as they have a shallow root system. The second is to maintain the moist soil that they love. Mulching also helps to reduce how regularly you water your trees.

Mulch your Japanese Maple Trees with about 4 to 6 inches of wood chips, preferably hardwood. When mulching ensure that you don’t do it too close to the trunks (at least 5 inches away) to prevent them from rotting. Your mulch should also be less than 4 inches deep.

  • Fertilize

You’ve probably heard of the importance of fertilizing your plants to ensure proper nourishment and development. Well, this doesn’t apply to Japanese Maple Trees, and we have their extensive root systems to thank for this.

Now, we are not saying you shouldn’t fertilize your trees at all. Instead, we mean that you should apply fertilizers sparingly as Japanese Maple Trees don’t need too much of them. That’s especially when you first plant them.

If you must fertilize your trees, do so after growing for about a year. The best time for fertilization is in early spring or late winter.

  • Manage Pests and Diseases 

Like every other plant, pests and diseases may attack your Japanese Maple Trees for different reasons. So, you must watch out and manage them immediately once you notice them.

Common Japanese Maple pests include Japanese beetles, mites, mealybug, aphids, and maple scales. Control pest infestation naturally through beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, parasitoid wasps, and hoverflies. You can control borers by removing affected parts.

Common diseases that affect Japanese Maple Trees include anthracnose, pseudomonas, verticillium wilt, root rot, and powdery mildew. Your method of managing diseases depends on the type and severity.

Generally, however, you can control them by limiting the conditions that favor their spread. You may also make use of recommended fungicides.


Conclusion 

If you’ve properly read through this article then you now know all there is to know about the Japanese Maple Tree. It’s time to choose your preferred variety and grow it into a lovely garden to be proud of.

Do you have any questions on your mind? Feel free to ask them in the comments. We want to ensure that you’ve got all the confidence you need to grow this beautiful tree correctly.

FAQs

Do Japanese Maple Trees like sun or shade?

Japanese Maple Trees love partial sunlight, and don’t do well in the scorching sun as they’re prone to burning. Exposing them to morning sun and giving them adequate shade in the afternoon is the best for them.

Is a Japanese Maple a fast-growing tree?

Japanese Maple Trees are slow-growing. They typically grow 12 to 14 inches per season, growing slower as they mature.

Where do Japanese Maple Trees grow best?

They thrive in well-drained, moist, and acidic soils. They grow best in zones 6 to 8. However, you can grow them in colder or warmer zones if you care for them properly.

Do Japanese Maple Trees lose their leaves in winter?

Japanese Maple Trees are deciduous trees. So, unlike evergreens, they drop their leaves in winter.

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