How big does a japanese maple tree grow

How to Select the Right Japanese Maple for Your Garden

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Top Tips to Select the Right Japanese Maple

Graceful and elegant, Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are an excellent addition to most gardens. Essentially carefree once established, they offer year-round interest with their ever-changing beauty. From the sculpture of bare winter branches to the flush of spring leaves in colors from red to pink to green, followed by lush summer growth, and finally, a big finish in the fall, they’re one of the most compelling plants you can add to your landscape (or terrace, patio, or courtyard, too–remember, some can grow in large pots).

To figure out which maple is right for your garden, consider these four factors:

Zone:  Most Japanese maples do well in zones 5 – 8. They can be grown in warmer zones, but can suffer from leaf scorch and require ample regular summer irrigation and protection from hot afternoon sun. In Zone 4, most Japanese maples (except for Velvet Viking™) are not reliable in the garden. It’s possible for them to survive a year or two if the winter lows aren’t too severe, but sooner or later, they will succumb to weather. They can, however, be grown in containers and, once dormant, overwintered in an unheated garage or other cool, sheltered location. A better option might be a Korean maple which is lovely and hardy to zone 4.

Size and FormChoosing the right one means knowing how you want to use it. Japanese maples range from 2 to 30 feet tall in forms that can be weeping, rounded, dwarf, mounding, upright, or cascading. Are you looking to create a grove of Japanese maples? Maybe create a spotlight with a solitary specimen? Do you want to fill a large container? Or perhaps a taller Japanese maple as the main attraction?

Leaf Shape: Decide which type of foliage appeals to you. Once you’ve got the size and form figured out, think about foliage. Japanese maple foliage is primarily divided into two types: either palm-shaped (Acer palmatum), or delicate and lacy (Acer palmatum var. dissectum). There are fans of both types, and the choice is often informed by the style of the garden or the surrounding structures.

Leaf Color:  What color of foliage appeals most? With a range of foliage colors–red, green, orange, purple, white, and pink depending on the season–Japanese maples are among the most colorful of trees. Some leaf out in brilliant reds in spring, change to green by summer, and finish the fall in yellows and oranges. Others start red and stay red till autumn. Do you want a sequence of changing color from spring to fall or do you just really love rich, dramatic red throughout the seasons?

Once you have a handle on these considerations, it’s time to see some options!  It’s always best to visit your local garden center to get the best possible information on what grows very well in your specific region.

To get you started here are some of our favorite Japanese maples divided by size and suggested ways to use them as well as care and planting info.

This is a considered purchase, so if you have questions or need more specific advice, please use the comments section.

Best Japanese Maples for Small Spaces and Containers

Some Japanese maples are either naturally dwarf, or grafted onto rootstock that keeps them small for years (even decades if you’re into pruning), or simply very slow-growing. These offer the opportunity to have a spectacular specimen that you can grow in a container or in a confined space. Choose carefully and avoid issues later by only selecting those that max out at no more than 10 ft. tall and wide at maturity.

Shaina Japanese Maple
Zone: 5 – 8

Dwarf, compact form that becomes dense with maturity. New foliage emerges bright red, aging to deep maroon. Partial shade to full sun. Up to 8 ft. tall and wide.

Kagiri Nishiki Japanese Maple
Zone: 5 – 8

Unique pink and white irregular border on the light green leaves. Slow-growing it’s ideal for smaller courtyards. Partial shade to full sun. Up to 8 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide.

Red Dragon Japanese Maple
Zone: 5 – 8

Beautiful, deeply dissected purple leaves turn bright apple red in fall. Slow growing and perfectly sized for containers. Partial to full sun. Up to 5 ft. tall and wide.

Velvet Viking™ Japanese Maple
Zone: 4 – 9

The hardiest Japanese Maple we have seen, it features finely cut red-purple foliage throughout the spring and summer months. It becomes richer in autumn. In most areas, it prefers partial shade, but in cool-summer areas it can take full sun. Up to 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

Best Japanese Maples for Grouping or Statement

While we often see them carefully situated as stand alone specimens, especially in Asian-inspired gardens, in the wild Japanese maples grow in groups as understory plants in shady woodland spaces. You can get the same effect in your own garden by mixing several different types, shapes, and sizes ranging from about 10 ft. tall and above. While each will need ample room to grow, plant close enough so their branches can intermix. Magic!

Shishigashira Japanese Maple
Zone: 5 – 8

Heavily curled foliage becomes purple-red with orange-red patterns in fall. Less likely to sunburn than other varieties. Partial to full sun. Up to 15 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide.

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple
Zone: 5 – 8

Low-branching, dwarf tree with delicate, weeping form and beautiful crimson summer color turning scarlet in fall. Partial to full sun. Up to 10 ft. tall and wide.

Autumn Moon Fullmoon Maple Zone: 5 – 7

Outstanding for limited spaces. New growth unfurls yellow to burnt orange, with exceptional fall foliage. Partial shade to partial sun. Up to 10 ft. tall and wide.

Emperor I® Japanese Maple
Zone: 5 – 8

A stunning statement plant, it shows off dark red-purple foliage that turns brilliant shades of scarlet come fall. It is slow to leaf out in spring, protecting it from late spring frosts. Partial to full sun. Up to 15 feet tall and wide.

Best Japanese Maples for One Big WOW

If you have a spot that needs both height and drama, a Japanese maple that tops about at about 25 ft. tall might be just what you’re looking for. While still relatively small as trees go, they’re big on the wow factor due to their shape, foliage, bark, or often all of the above. These three are best used where they can stand alone without other trees or large shrubs competing for attention. As with all trees, pay careful attention to mature size. (This is Coral Bark Japanese Maple in the summer.)

Bloodgood Japanese Maple
Zone: 5 – 8

Foilage opens red, turns brilliant-scarlet in fall, and blackish-red bark is a winter standout. Excellent small lawn tree. Filtered to full sun. Up to 20 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide.

Coral Bark Japanese Maple 
Zone 5 – 8

Year-round showstopper with vibrant fall foliage and unique brilliant red-coral bark on young branches even in winter. Filtered to full sun. Up to 25 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide.

Osakazuki Japanese Maple
Zone: 5 – 8

Bright green summer leaves become brilliant crimson red in fall, holding color for several weeks. Lovely specimen tree. Partial to full sun. Up to 25 ft. tall and wide.

Japanese maple care tips
  • While some can tolerate full sun, most Japanese maple varieties prefer dappled or afternoon shade, especially when young. Shade does have its limits though–they need some sun for best foliage color and to promote the more loose and open structure for which they are prized.
  • Protection from strong winds.
  • Well-drained, consistently moist soil–during extreme heat or drought, give them a little extra water.
  • Protection from late spring frosts, especially when young.

5 More Remarkable Japanese Maples

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How Big Does a Japanese Maple Get? | Home Guides

By Nathalie Alonso Updated June 08, 2021

Native to Japan and other East Asian countries, Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are majestic trees that provide striking pops of reddish-purple color in a garden. With a variety of cultivars available, Japanese maple tree size varies greatly – some specimens are better described as shrubs – though even a tall Japanese maple is considered a small tree. Japanese maples are winter hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant zones 5 through 9.


Japanese maples usually reach heights between 10 and 25 feet, though some cultivars may be smaller.

Japanese Maple Tree Size

The Japanese maple is considered a small tree, and it usually grows only between 10 to 25 feet tall. The Clemson Cooperative Extension describes the growth rate of this tree as slow, as it can take 10 to 15 years to reach a height of 15 feet. The Japanese maple typically grows faster when young. In the wild, a Japanese maple can grow to 40 feet or more, though such heights are rare in cultivation.

Cultivars of the Japanese maple grow in a variety of sizes. 'Bloodgood' is prized for its dazzling red fall color and its approximate same size as the species plant, while 'Burgundy Lace' grows about 10 feet tall and is more shrub-like. Dissected varieties of the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum) that feature feathery foliage, such as 'Crimson Queen' and 'Inaba-Shidare', also tend to be smaller and more akin to shrubs, with heights under 12 feet, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Caring for a Japanese Maple

Fertile, sandy loam is a good soil choice for Japanese maples. It needs slightly acidic soil. If it's too alkaline, the leaves may exhibit chlorosis, turning yellow due to low levels of chlorophyll. While this tree likes dappled sunlight, according to the Clemson Cooperative Extension, a Japanese maple that doesn't receive sufficient sun will grow more slowly.

Japanese maple trees don't fare well in drought, so keeping the soil moist during dry spells is essential, although you should make sure that the soil drains well to prevent root rot. Avoid pruning your Japanese maple in the spring or summer, because doing so can cause extensive sap bleeding. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension says to skip fertilizer with young plants and to fertilize established trees only if the soil is lacking in nutrients. Fertilizing should take place in the spring before the new leaves appear.

Uses for a Japanese Maple

Because they can tolerate partial shade and appreciate dappled sunlight, the Japanese maple is an ideal understory tree, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. This tree can be used as an accent or a screen. When choosing a spot for your Japanese maple, pick a location that provides shelter from intense winds. If the region where you live is likely to experience frosts in late spring, keep in mind that new Japanese maple growth usually appears very early in the spring and may require protection to avoid injury.

If you're planting a low-spreading Japanese maple cultivar, be sure to choose a spot where it has room for the branches to reach the ground without interfering with traffic on a walking path or a driveway. Dissected Japanese maples with a cascading habit are ideal for planting near ponds, says the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Japanese maple is a good species for a bonsai.


  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Acer palmatum
  • Missouri Botanica Garden: Acer palmatum var. dissectum
  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Maple
  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: How should I plant and care for a Japanese maple?

Writer Bio

Since beginning her career as a professional journalist in 2007, Nathalie Alonso has covered a myriad of topics, including arts, culture and travel, for newspapers and magazines in New York City. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University and lives in Queens with her two cats.

What is remarkable about Japanese maple? Planting, care and propagation of plants


  • Japanese red maple
  • Brief description of the most requested varieties
  • Japanese maple planting and care
  • Japanese maple seeds
  • Japanese fan maple
  • Japanese maple photo
  • Japanese maple buy

Leaves are perhaps the most underestimated feature of plants. But it is the leaves of the Japanese maple that are the keys to the successful design of your garden.

Japanese red maple

Japanese maple (Acer Japonicum) and Dlanical maple (Acer Palmatum) - highly suitable Listfoot trees and bushes (in culture) ROD from IPPOY and Korya. These two species, as well as a variety of the second - fan maple (Acer palmatum Dissectum) - create group Japanese maples . Miniature maple varieties grow well in Japan but can be easily grown in our climate. The most resistant is the green-leaved maple and its red-leaved varieties 'Atropurpureum' and 'Bloodgood'.

Japanese maples grow very slowly and usually reach several meters in height. In Japan, the largest tree at the age of 100 years, reaches 10 meters in height and 40 centimeters in trunk diameter. Usually Japanese maple and palmate maple grow up to 8 m, and fan maple - no more than 2-3 m in height.

When 200 years ago these plants began to be imported from Japan, which had been growing there for centuries, European botanists were stunned by their incredible diversity. Europeans originally christened them with a Latin name - Acer polymorphum . And from this group, perhaps, this Japanese maple was one of the first that was brought to our region. This type of maple has almost round leaves , most of them are up to 15 cm long and consist of 7-, 9-, 11-, 13 feather-like lobes. They are very similar to the human hand. Because of the shape of the leaves, this maple has another name - hauchiwa-Kaede . There are four main varieties Japanese maples: - a typical Japanese maple A. japonicum, in which the shares are connected almost together and the leaf seems to be solid. Other maples: A. japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’, A. japonicum ‘Dissectum’, A. japonicum ‘Vitifolium’.

Japanese maple looks very impressive during flowering in May. Its flowers are red or yellow-green, large, up to 15 mm in diameter. But the most impressive tree is in autumn, when Leaves take on an enchanting color. In direct sunlight, the leaves turn red and purple, shading into bright orange and red. They look stunning!

Best varieties : Japanese Maple Senkaki (Acer palmatum 'Senkaki' or 'Sango-kaku'), Maple Garnet (Acer Palmatum 'varsecatum' discat' palm , Maple Katsura (Acer Palmatum 'Katsura', Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Katsura'), Maple Butterfly (Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’, Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Butterfly’).

Brief description of the most popular varieties:

Japanese Maple Senkaki is an attractive and compact tree, a popular variety that is sure to be appreciated by lovers of Japanese maples. Tree height - up to two meters, suitable for growing in large pots and containers. Leaves lobed, usually with five lobes, turning bright orange in autumn.

Japanese Maple Senkaki (photo):

Maple Garnet - incredibly beautiful maple, you can look at it endlessly, especially in the autumn season. Average height maple is four meters. The main highlight is the unusual spreading crown, as well as the color of the leaves in the autumn months, they turn carmine red.

Maple Garnet (photo):

Japanese maple planting and care

Every gardener will be able to grow a very beautiful Japanese maple. You only need to choose the right place to plant, and also spend a little time caring for it.

Landing. Be sure to select the correct landing site. The ideal place for them would be sunny or partially shaded, protected from the winds. They tolerate some shade but are prettier when grown in full sun. Yes, those trees are do not like transplants. Once you have planted Japanese maples, they should not be repotted because it is very easy to damage their delicate roots.

Japanese maples frost resistant. Concerning soil requirements , they should not be planted in wet soils. Japanese maples are sensitive plants. The soil must contain a high proportion of humus and have slightly acid reaction . If the soil is sandy, then it needs to be enriched with fertile garden soil. Due to the fact that the roots of these plants grow close to the ground, it is necessary to level the place where they are planted well. Thus, you will be able to create thermal insulation layer , which will perform its protective function both in winter and in summer. It is also necessary to cover young maple seedlings in winter as these plants may suffer from frost. Also, in early spring, shelter will contribute to a not too fast development of their kidneys.

Japanese Maple ideal for planting in containers . And all thanks to his compact growth . But for the winter, plants in tubs should be moved to a frost-free room. It grows slowly and is also very picturesque. Besides being easy to grow, Japanese Maple will provide you with a lot of joy in summer and autumn with its beautiful leaves that change color with the onset of cold weather. Expect fireworks of fiery red, brown, yellow and orange leaves.

Care. After planting the young maple must be fed . The first top dressing is a month after planting, then they are fed once every four weeks. Suitable compound fertilizer and compost. After the winter period, be sure to remove frozen branches. Gardeners do not recommend cutting tree crowns, because Japanese maple pleases exactly with its natural beauty. Also, don't forget Mulch the soil before the start of the winter season. In hot weather be sure to watch the soil, maple does not like dry soil . Sometimes the leaves of the plant are also sprayed, do it in hot weather. Maple pest - gall mite . Watch the leaves carefully, if you see something suspicious, it is better to remove the leaf immediately .

Japanese maple seeds

Many varieties of maple seeds fall in autumn, but there are varieties whose seeds can be collected in summer. The seeds are medium in size, most often brown in color, they are often called “helicopters” by the people, because they very slowly fall to the ground, and at the same time rotate. There are some difficulties when growing maple from seeds. It all depends on the chosen variety. It is easiest to grow maples, in which the seeds fall in spring or summer.

After you collected seeds , they need to be placed in the cold. It is best to put the seeds in an airtight bag beforehand (zippered lunch bags are suitable). The collected seeds are placed in the refrigerator. Each variety has its own temperature , the best option is 3-5 degrees Celsius. check the seed bag constantly to make sure there is no condensation or excess moisture on it. Seeds are taken out after 120 days. Seeds of some varieties can be planted after 90 cold days. Germinated seeds can only be planted in small containers when a second layer of leaves has appeared on a small sprout. Now you can plant the tree in the ground.

Japanese fan maple

Fan maple is a marvelous decoration of every garden or park. It is an excellent compact tree that impresses with the beauty of its leaves. Fan maple is one of the varieties of Japanese maple, because the historical Homeland trees - Japan, and also grows naturally in China and Korea. The tree is very compact, height is about eight meters. Crown very unusual, dense, spherical. Sometimes it has several trunks. The leaves of the fan maple are very beautiful and large, the average length is 12 centimeters and the width is four centimeters. The leaf is divided into lobes. Blossoms mainly in spring, small flowers in inflorescences, appear later Lionfish.

Garden use. Japanese Maple will look very good in a private garden as well as in city parks. Its interesting and very bright leaves attract attention. You can make it the main accent on your territory, because in autumn it is very difficult not to notice this tree. Japanese maple is very effectively combined with large stones or boulders, and even with small pebbles, which can be scattered near the tree root. The canopy provides shade so you can plant near the tree ferns or other shade-tolerant plants. Landscape designers with good taste will be able to create very unusual compositions using maple and coniferous plants , as well as combining maples and flowering shrubs . The main thing is not to overshadow this beautiful tree!

Japanese maple photo

Japanese maple buy

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Published: 27.10.2021

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description and varieties of red maple, planting and care + photo

Amateur gardeners and landscape designers are sensitive to rare ornamental plants. Japanese maple can become the pride of every garden. The natural range of its distribution is limited to the islands of Japan, South Korean coasts and the Russian island of Kunashir. It grows more often in mountainous areas.

Leaves like those of our maple - cut up to half the diameter into several slices (from 7 to 11), large (coverage up to 15 centimeters). Depending on the variety, the dissection of the leaves may be different, sometimes they are strongly pinnate. Petioles, on which leaves grow, 3-5 cm long, can be pubescent.

Due to the magnificent color of the leaves, the maple of this species has become so popular, the crowns of the handsome Japanese are flying in the middle of the garden like a red flame. Some of its species have purple-red foliage throughout the growing season, others change color from green to yellow and crimson.

Small bright flowers appear before the leaves in spring. Of these, wings are formed. These are seed-fruits up to 3 centimeters long, with the help of which plants of this genus reproduce.

Oriental maples are grown outdoors and in special tubs.

Species and interesting varieties

Japanese maple has several subspecies, and breeders have bred amazing varieties that no one can pass by indifferently. They differ in the form of a tree and leaves, exactingness to the conditions of detention. There can be both tall specimens and short ones.

It should be noted that culturally bred varieties are much more picturesque and are much more common than basic natural varieties. In addition to the main species described above, others are also grown.

Fan-shaped (pallet-shaped)

The original shape of the tree has a spreading crown with beautiful, carved leaves. The long-lobed leaves are lacy and remain golden yellow or red throughout the season. Having thrown off foliage, this plant remains a decoration of the garden, thanks to graceful branches. It blooms red in June, many varieties have been created on its basis.

Shirasawa Maple

A rare variety up to 15 meters high, there are shrubs of a short outline. The leaf plate is not strongly dissected, large. A prominent representative of this species is Aureum. This shrub grows up to 4 meters high, has a yellow-orange leaf with a border around the edge. A fairly winter-hardy variety, but they like to cultivate it in tub conditions.


Gorgeous maple, almost completely dissected leaves are green in summer. In autumn the tree turns crimson.

Orange Dream

Yellowish-green leaves with a red border turn to red-orange. Orange Dream grows fast and is tall.


A very ornamental shrub with openwork outlines of dark red leaves, almost inky. Even in the shade does not lose the dark color of the foliage.

Mikawa yatsubusa

Height 1.5 meters, bush dense and squat. The leaves are needle-shaped, green in spring, scarlet in autumn.



One and a half meters in 10 years - this tree grows to such a height. It is distinguished by a dense bushy crown, its leaves are deeply cut. When it turns blood red, it becomes especially attractive. Shaina is planted in containers, decorating terraces and verandas, halls of houses with them.


Japanese red maple variety reaches 1.8 meters in adulthood. The green leaves are edged with red and cut. The saturation of the color retains in partial shade.

Beni Kawa

Light leaves, original red bark.

Dissectum Garnet

Finely divided conifer-like leaves are green in spring, becoming reddish-purple or orange-yellowish by autumn. A very beautiful, attractive appearance gives the tree a huge crown coverage, almost twice its height. Such drooping varieties of shrubs should be placed near ponds or arbors.

Aka shigitatsu sawa

Tree 3 meters high or so. This plant has peculiar pink or red dissected leaves. Likes semi-shade.

Wilson's Pink Dwarf

Fan maple not very hardy. The height of the shrub in adult form is 2.5 meters, the coverage is less than 1 meter. The leaves grow on red branches and are orange in color.


Deeply cut green leaves with a pink or red border give a spectacular look. By the end of the season, it changes color to purple.

Where to buy seedlings, where and how to plant

Do not buy Japanese maple seeds on the Internet from unknown sellers. It is advisable to come to a nursery or shop that sells certified trees and buy a tree.

It is better to buy seedlings in spring or autumn; you need to make sure that the bush is not damaged. Should be planted immediately.

Japanese maple varieties love diffused shade and permeability of the soil. It is not necessary to choose too alkaline soils and cultivate the land with lime.

The soil must be sufficiently fertile or slightly acidic, always loose.


  • Dig a hole twice the size of the plant's root system;
  • Pour drainage into the hole, then humus or compost with peat;
  • Moisten and straighten the roots, put a tree, sprinkle with earth and water;
  • Mulch around tree trunks to retain moisture.


Produced by seeds, both in nature and under cultural conditions. Seed material must be fresh.

  • Before planting, the seeds are stratified by placing them in sand (it should not be wet) and kept in a cold room all winter;
  • In the spring planted in containers with special soil, can be treated with growth stimulants;
  • In autumn, the strongest shoots are left to winter in a cool place in the same container, where the temperature is always positive;
  • Transplant shoots into separate pots next spring;
  • Seedlings that have reached 30 centimeters are planted in a permanent place - in open ground, a tub or a pot.

Japanese red maples can be propagated vegetatively by grafting cuttings onto palmate rootstock. This procedure often ends in failure.


Domestic gardeners plant undersized varieties of Japanese maple. If it will grow in a container, then it must be fed regularly with mineral compounds. Suitable fertilizer for heather crops. It will also need more frequent watering.

Plant roots do not like stagnant water, they can rot. Therefore, watering should be plentiful, but timely.

Rejuvenating pruning should be carried out on old and dense trees. It is done in the fall, after the leaves have fallen. Sanitary removal of broken and diseased branches is carried out every year in the spring. It is also necessary for the prevention of fungus.

Preparing for winter

In summer, you need to start preparing the maple tree for winter. Finish feeding, watering and loosening. In late autumn, remove all leaves from the bush, and after the first freezing, spray the branches with a weak (3%) copper-containing solution.

In the northern regions of Russia, it is still safer to plant this crop in tubs and bring it into a cool room for the winter period. Wintering is also practiced right in pots laid on their side in the garden, in a shallow trench.

In the middle lane, they practice covering for the winter with garden non-woven material. Well, if the winter is snowy, then the maple can survive it stably.

Care in the spring

With the advent of spring, it is necessary to awaken the tub plant so that it adapts and grows faster. To do this, after the frost has left, on warm days, the tree is shed with plenty of water.

Attention! Tender young leaves will inevitably burn in the sun in the spring. To prevent this, the potted plant is removed in partial shade or covered, just like an open ground plant, with a light covering material.

Japanese maple in landscaping

The short height allows the plant to grow successfully in tubs. The advantage of this method is that the container can be moved from one place to another, saving from the sun or put away for the winter, and also placed in different parts of the garden from time to time.

Pots are also placed on stands to make them more visible.

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