18 Japanese Maple Trees You’ll Definitely Want to Plant in Your Yard

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18 Japanese Maple Trees You'll Definitely Want to Plant in Your Yard

vitifolium japanese maple red and orange leaves

The elegant form and colorful foliage of Japanese maples can make a stunning focal point in the landscape. This type of maple grows smaller than other types and has more delicate, lacy foliage in a wide array of colors. Here are some favorite varieties, including dwarf Japanese maple, that feature a spectacle of vibrant leaf color.

Note: Acer palmatum, a species of Japanese maple, is invasive in some parts of eastern U.S., Canada, and Hawaii so should not be planted in these areas.

Dissectum Atropurpureum

A classic Japanese maple, ‘Dissectum Atropurpureum’ bears deeply cut, feathery, red-purple leaves that turn crimson in fall. Plus it has graceful, weeping branches. Choose this variety if you’re looking for a small-size red cut-leaf variety of Japanese maple.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Atropurpureum’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-8

Coonara Pygmy

In spring, dwarf ‘Coonara Pygmy’ Japanese maple unveils its pink-tinged leaves. The pink blush fades in summer, but then in fall the leaves turn a brilliant shade of orange-red. Because of its small size, this maple is a tree you can grow in containers or small spaces.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Coonara Pygmy’

Growing Conditions: Part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: 8 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-8

Green Cascade

Boasting lustrous, finely cut green foliage, ‘Green Cascade’ Japanese maple also has a delicate weeping habit. If not staked, it forms a flowing mound of foliage. In fall, its leaves turn shades of red and orange.

Name: Acer japonicum ‘Green Cascade’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in average moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide

Zones: 5-7

Golden Full Moon Maple

An exceptionally beautiful tree, golden full moon maple features vibrant yellow leaves through the summer. If you’re aiming to plant for fall color try ‘Aureum’; its leaf tips develop red edges while its leaf center stays golden.

Name: Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moist, well-drained soil

Size: 20 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-7

Autumn Moon

Like the golden full moon Japanese maple, ‘Autumn Moon’ features bright yellow leaves. But on this variety, the leaves bear decidedly pink tones. In fall, the leaves put on a show in shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Name: Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’

Growing Conditions: Part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: 25 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-7

Hogyoku

A time-tested selection and mid-size Japanese maple tree, ‘Hogyoku’ bears green leaves that turn bright orange in autumn. It has a sturdy trunk and branches, and tolerates heat better than many other varieties. ‘Hogyoku’ is a good choice if you live in a climate with hot summers.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 18 feet tall and 15 feet wide

Zones: 5-9

Beni Kawa

A tree for all seasons, ‘Beni Kawa’ features small green leaves that turn golden-yellow in fall. In winter, it really shines because of its bright red stems. This Japanese maple looks stunning against a backdrop of snow, so plant this tree to provide eye-catching winter interest.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Beni Kawa’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic well-drained soil

Size: Up to 15 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-9

Higasayama

A favorite for bonsai, ‘Higasayama’ offers pink buds that open into leaves colored in cream, green, and fuchsia. As the season progresses, this dwarf Japanese maple tree’s leaves fade to green, then change to glowing shades of gold and yellow in autumn. If you’re a fan of variegated foliage, this is the tree for you.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Higasayama’

Growing conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide

Zones: 5-9

Emperor 1

A favorite because of its dark purple-red foliage, Emperor 1 is a good choice for northern gardens. Its leaves open a bit later than most other trees, which helps it avoid potential damage from late spring frosts. This Japanese maple tree also offers brilliant scarlet-red fall color.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Wolff’ Emperor I

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 15 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-9

10

Coral Bark Maple

A good-size Japanese maple tree with multi-season appeal, ‘Sango-kaku’ (commonly called coral bark maple) features green leaves that turn brilliant yellow in fall. After the leaves drop, the tree’s bark takes center stage with its bright coral-red color. This colorful maple tree is a sure way to add winter interest to your landscape.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide

Zones: 5-8

11

Suminagashi

Mary Carolyn Pindar

A fast-growing variety, ‘Suminagashi’ can gain a foot in height each year during its first decade. It offers deeply cut leaves and rich, purplish-red foliage that looks good all spring and summer. In fall, the graceful leaves turn bright crimson.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Suminagashi’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: 15 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-9

12

Bloodgood

One of the most popular Japanese maples, ‘Bloodgood’ offers deeply cut, purple-red leaves that hold their color well through the summer. In fall, the tree develops striking crimson-red color. This is the one for you if you’re on the hunt for a time-tested and hardy tree.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 20 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-8

13

Villa Taranto

Deeply cut, spidery leaves distinguish ‘Villa Taranto’. This Japanese maple variety’s foliage emerges pink in spring, then fades to bright green in summer. In autumn, the leaves on this compact tree again change, this time to beautiful golden yellow.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Villa Taranto’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall and 7 feet wide

Zones: 5-8

14

Crimson Queen

JANET MESIC-MACKIE

A stunning variety of Japanese maple, ‘Crimson Queen’ offers weeping branches of beautiful reddish-purple foliage. In autumn, the finely cut leaves turn bright crimson.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide

Zones: 5-8

15

Beni Schichihenge

JANET MESIC-MACKIE

A smaller Japanese maple tree variety, ‘Beni Schichihenge’ offers blue-green leaves variegated in shades of pink and cream. In fall, the leaves change to exciting shades of orange and gold. It also tends to resist leaf scorch from hot, dry weather better than many other varieties.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Beni Schichihenge’

Growing Conditions: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 8 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9

16

Aconitifolium

Mary Carolyn Pindar

One of the most beautiful Japanese maples, ‘Aconitifolium’ offers deeply cut, fern-like green foliage that turns shades of red, orange, and yellow in fall. This tree, also called ‘Maiku Jaku’, changes up the beautiful texture you’ve come to expect from most Japanese maples.

Name: Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-7

17

Vitifolium

A big, sturdy Japanese maple tree, ‘Vitifolium’ offers wide, deep green leaves that turn bright shades of gold, yellow, orange, and scarlet in autumn. If you live in a climate that has hot summers and cold winters, this is the Japanese maple tree for you.

Name: Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 15 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-7

18

Caperci Dwarf

Susan Roth

A small, slow-growing Japanese maple tree, ‘Caperci Dwarf’ offers pink-tinged new growth that fades to green as the season progresses. Then in fall, the green leaves turn a shade of warm, glowing gold. This is a perfect tree for small spaces and containers.

Name: Acer palmatum ‘Caperci Dwarf’

Growing Conditions: Part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide

Zones: 6-8

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in the USA

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
Northeast (e.g., New York, Massachusetts)Rose, Purple Lilac, Mountain LaurelSugar Maple, American Elm, White Pine
Southeast (e.g., Florida, Georgia)Orange Blossom, Cherokee Rose, Southern MagnoliaLive Oak, Spanish Moss, Saw Palmetto
Midwest (e.g., Ohio, Illinois)Carnation, Violet, Purple ConeflowerBur Oak, Prairie Grasses, Wild Bergamot
Southwest (e.g., Texas, Arizona)Bluebonnet, Saguaro Cactus Flower, Indian PaintbrushJoshua Tree, Agave, Mesquite
West (e.g., California, Washington)California Poppy, Coast Rhododendron, BitterrootGiant Sequoia, Redwood, Manzanita
Rocky Mountain (e.g., Colorado, Montana)Rocky Mountain Columbine, Bitterroot, Indian PaintbrushBlue Spruce, Aspen, Sagebrush
Great Plains (e.g., Kansas, Nebraska)Sunflower, Goldenrod, Purple ConeflowerCottonwood, Bluestem Grasses, Buffalo Grass
Pacific Northwest (e.g., Oregon, Alaska)Oregon Grape, Forget-me-not, Pacific RhododendronDouglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Ferns

This table includes the most popular flowers and plants in the USA by region, which considers a range of botanical species, including native and widely cultivated varieties.

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in Australia

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
New South WalesWaratah, Bottlebrush, Flannel FlowerEucalyptus, Acacia, Banksia
VictoriaCommon Heath, Waxflower, Pink HeathMountain Ash, Silver Wattle, Victorian Blue Gum
QueenslandCooktown Orchid, Golden Penda, Umbrella Tree FlowerMoreton Bay Fig, Macadamia Nut, Queensland Bottle Tree
South AustraliaSturt's Desert Pea, Kangaroo Paw, Eucalyptus BlossomAdelaide Blue Gum, South Australian Blue Gum, Saltbush
Western AustraliaRed and Green Kangaroo Paw, Mangles Kangaroo Paw, Swan River DaisyJarrah, Marri, Karri
TasmaniaTasmanian Blue Gum, Leatherwood Flower, Tasmanian WaratahHuon Pine, Tasmanian Oak, Myrtle Beech
Northern TerritorySturt's Desert Rose, Frangipani, Desert RoseBoab, Gidgee, Spinifex
Australian Capital TerritoryRoyal Bluebell, Australian Daisy, CorreaSnow Gum, River Red Gum, Black Mountain

This table offers a basic overview of popular flowers and plants in each Australian region, focusing on a combination of state flowers, native species, and other characteristic plants. It's important to note that specific species' popularity and prevalence can vary. This table is a simplified representation. Consulting local botanical gardens or regional horticultural societies in Australia would be ideal for more detailed and accurate information.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for today.com magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.