All About Japanese Maples

Lovely lacy leaves and a graceful aspect of the Japanese maples make these small trees an asset in any landscape.


You can hardly go wrong with Japanese maples. Most have an exquisitely layered, cascading form, an elegant, fine leaf texture, and remarkable fall color. Among the many varieties, there are maples with yellow-green, purple, red, bronze, and variegated leaves. And their sizes suit any landscape, varying from 3-foot dwarfs to slow-growing 15-footers. Japanese maples can get a little pricey, so consider them an investment in your home.

See our top 18 varieties of Japanese maples.

Many Japanese maples have a wonderful way of spreading in the shape of low graceful domes. On a slope or overhang, their arching branches can descend even below the base of the trunk. See the way this laceleaf pours over the retaining wall echoing the pond's waterfall?

A Few of Our Favorites

  • Bloodgood 
  • Osakazuki 
  • Full Moon
  • Atropurpureum
  • Burgundy Lade
  • Elegans
  • Ornamtum
  • Sango-kaku

Learn more about Japanese maples.
Get tips on growing Japanese maples anywhere.

'Bloodgood' Japanese maple
  • Bloodgood variety holds its red-purple leaf color during the summer better than most.
  • Osakazuki has reliable fall foliage even in mild climates and holds its turned leaves longer than the others.
  • Full moon maple's striking chartreuse leaves go brilliant orange, red, and purple in the fall.

In Cold Areas (Zone 5):

  • Atropurpureum
  • Burgundy Lace
  • Elegans
  • Ornatum

For winter color:

  • Coral bark maple, Sango-kaku. The soft-green leaves turn bright yellow in fall, then drop to display the tree's distinctive red twigs.

How to Plant a Tree
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