Color Blast: Japanese Maple

Plant these jewel-toned trees as garden focal points.
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©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Why You Should Grow Japanese Maples

Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), are favored for their bright leaves, which often turns a rich or red purple in the fall. Many acers grow extremely slowly and are perfect in a smaller garden.

A Versatile Tree

Japanese maples are one of the most versatile trees for any yard, patio or garden. Often grown for its unique red colored leaf, it also has an interesting growth habit with a fine leaf texture and muscular looking multiple trunks.


Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku' is generally grown for attractive foliage and shape. It also has excellent winter bark. Plant around the home or yard or periphery of the border or rock garden.

'Summer Gold' Japanese Maple

'Summer Gold' emerges a light green color in the spring before, as its name suggests, displaying a beautiful golden yellow color throughout the summer, even through hot weather.

'Orangeola' Japanese Maple

'Orangeola' is a fast-growing Japanese maple showing off stunning orange leaves in spring and fall. During summer, the leaves fade to hues of red and green.

Patio Plants

Japanese maples are slow-growing and make perfect patio plants. Overlay them with other plant groupings for wild color all year.

'Little Princess' Japanese Maple

'Little Princess' features bright, apple-green leaves edged in red in the spring, turning yellow in fall. This tree is ideal for small gardens and containers. 

'Nicholsonii' Japanese Maple

'Nicholsonii' is an olive-green to olive-brown leafed Japanese maple tree that grows almost as wide as it is tall with heavy horizontal branches. It produces brilliant fall colors with yellow to crimson tones.

Full-Moon Maple

A vigorous deciduous tree or large shrub, the Full-Moon Japanese maple (Acer japonicum) has large, rounded, mid-green leaves that turn vivid colors of red, orange and purple in the fall.

'Coonara Pygmy' Japanese Maple

'Coonara Pygmy' features ever-changing leaves that emerge in the spring pale pink and green. Once summer arrives, the Japanese maple sheds the pink hues before turning a bright orange-yellow with splashes of red in fall. This tree requires full sun to partial shade. 

'Chishio' Japanese Maple

'Chishio', also known as 'Chishio Improved or 'Shishio Improved', emerges in early spring with a mix of bronze and pink foliage, blue-green foliage in summer and orange-red foliage in fall. 

'Chitose-Yama' Acer

Acer palmatum 'Chitose-yama' has leaves divided almost all the way to the base. Coloring is a purple-red with late summer greens that end with crimson colors in the fall.

Acer 'Aureum'

Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum' is a small, rounded Japanese maple, with lime to chartreuse tinged golden leaves. In fall, its leaves turn orange and red, just like those of a sugar maple. As the leaves expand, they resemble little Chinese fans.

'Viridis' Japanese Maple

'Viridis' features bright green, lacey foliage that forms an elegant dome shape over time. It is a beautiful bright-orange in the fall, with golden yellow undertones and crimson highlights, that transitions into bright green throughout the summer. This maple is the most vigorous of the green laceleaf maples. 

'Shirazz' Japanese Maple

During spring, 'Shirazz' delights with bright pink foliage that turns green with creamy pink edges throughout summer. This Japanese maple is in it for the long haul—it can live 60 years or longer!

'Beni Schichihenge' Japanese Maple

'Beni Schichihenge' is a rare specimen that shines in spring with multi-colored foliage. It features green leaves edged in pure white with bright pink borders.

'Red Dragon' Japanese Maple

'Red Dragon' features deeply-dissected purple leaves that turn bright apple-red in the fall. Its slow growth habit and size, maturing at 7 to 8 feet, makes this tree perfect for containers.

'Deshojo' Japanese Maple

'Deshojo' features salmon-red foliage in the spring, turning green in summer and orange-scarlet in fall. It lends itself well to container living.

'Crimson Queen' Japanese Maple

'Crimson Queen' features delicate, weeping foliage and holds its beautiful crimson color throughout summer.

'Crimson Princess' Japanese Maple

'Crimson Princess' features lacey, bright red foliage in spring that doesn't fade in the heat of the summer. In fall, the leaves turn orange.

'Shishigashira' Japanese Maple

'Shishigashira' features solid green foliage throughout the summer and purple-red foliage with orange hues in fall. It's good for containers or small gardens.

'Beni Shidare Tri-Colour' Japanese Maple

'Beni Shidare Tri-Colour' takes on a weeping form, featuring deeply divided red, green and white leaves that turn orange in fall. This tree requires partial shade with protection from the wind to prevent leaf scorch. 

'Pendulum Julian' Japanese Maple

'Pendulum Julian' features delicate, doubly-serrated leaves that emerge green with brown highlights in spring. During summer the leaves turn burgundy before putting on a rich red color in fall.

'Pink Ballerina' Japanese Maple

'Pink Ballerina' is a super rare specimen with pink and red foliage and dissected leaves.

'Shaina' Japanese Maple

'Shaina' features bright red foliage in the spring that matures to a deep maroon-red in summer. It has a freely branching growth habit that becomes dense with maturity.