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Japanese Maple Trees for Your Yard

Japanese maple trees add grace and beauty through the seasons. While the Bloodgood Japanese maple is a tried-and-true specimen, consider some of our favorite varieties, including dwarf Japanese maple, that feature a spectacle of vibrant leaf color.

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    • Dissectum Atropurpureum

      This classic Japanese maple variety bears deeply cut, feathery red-purple leaves that turn bright crimson in fall. We also love its graceful, weeping habit.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Dissectum Atropurpureum'

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

      Size: 8 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 6-9

      Choose It Because: You want a good, small-size red cut-leaf variety.

    • Coonara Pygmy

      In spring, this dwarf Japanese maple unveils its pink-tinged leaves. The pink tinge fades in summer, but then in fall the Japanese maple leaves turns a brilliant shade of orange-red. Because of its small size, this maple is well-suited to containers.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Coonara Pygmy'

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

      Size: 8 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 6-8

      Choose It Because: You need a Japanese maple for a container or for a small space.

    • Green Cascade

      This fullmoon Japanese maple offers lustrous, finely cut green foliage and a delicate weeping habit. If not staked, it forms a flowing mound of foliage. In fall, the Japanese maple leaves turn shades of red and orange.

      Name: Acer japonicum 'Green Cascade'

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

      Size: Groundcover to 10 feet or more

      Zones: 5-7

      Choose It Because: You need a good weeping variety.

    • Autumn Moon

      Like the golden fullmoon Japanese maple, this Japanese maple features golden leaves. But on this variety, the leaves bear decidedly pink tones. In fall, these Japanese maple leaves put on a show in shades of red, orange, and yellow.

      Name: Acer shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon'

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

      Size: 25 feet tall and wide

      Zones:5-7

      Choose It Because: You need a Japanese maple with golden leaves.

    • Hogyoku

      A great time-tested selection, this mid-sized Japanese maple tree bears rich-green leaves that turn bright orange in autumn. It's sturdy and tolerates heat better than many other varieties.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Hogyoku'

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

      Size: 15 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 6-9

      Choose It Because: You need a variety that's heat tolerant.

    • Golden Fullmoon Maple

      An exceptionally beautiful plant, this Japanese maple tree features golden-yellow leaves through the summer. In fall, the leaf tips develop red edges while the leaf center stays golden.

      Name: Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'

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

      Size: 20 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 5-7

      Choose It Because: You need a Japanese maple with golden foliage.

    • Beni Kawa

      A tree for all seasons, this Japanese maple features small green leaves that turn golden-yellow in fall. In winter, the plant really shines because of its clear-red stems. They look stunning against a backdrop of snow.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Beni kawa'

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

      Size: 15 feet tall, 12 feet wide

      Zones: 6-9

      Choose It Because: You want winter interest.

    • Higasayama

      A favorite for bonsai, this dwarf Japanese maple tree offers pink buds that open into leaves colored in cream, green, and fuchsia. As the season progresses, the Japanese maple leaves fade to green, then change to glowing shades of gold and yellow in autumn.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Higasayama'

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

      Size: 15 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 6-8

      Choose It Because: You enjoy variegated foliage.

    • Emperor 1

      A favorite because of its dark purple-red foliage, the Japanese maple tree Emperor 1 is also a good choice for northern gardens as its leaves open a bit later than most -- helping it avoid late spring frosts. It also offers brilliant scarlet-red fall color.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Wolff'

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

      Size: 15 feet tall and wide

      Zones:5-8

      Choose It Because: You want a good red-leaf type or live in the North.

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      Coral Bark

      A good-sized Japanese maple tree with multi-season appeal, 'Sango-kaku' features green leaves that turn brilliant yellow in fall. After the leaves drop, the stems show off a bright coral-red color.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'

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

      Size: 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide

      Zones: 6-8

      Choose It Because: You want winter interest.

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      Sumi Nagashi

      This big red Japanese maple tree variety offers deeply cut leaves and rich, purple-red foliage that looks good all spring and summer. In fall, the graceful leaves turn bright crimson.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Sumi nagashi'

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

      Size:18 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 5-8

      Choose It Because: You want a big red cut-leaf variety.

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      Bloodgood

      A classic, the Japanese maple 'Bloodgood' offers deeply cut, purple-red leaves that hold their color well through the summer. Then in fall the tree develops striking crimson-red color.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'

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

      Size: 20 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 6-8

      Choose It Because: You want a time-tested big red cut-leaf variety.

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      Villa Taranto

      This eye-catching variety of Japanese maple tree offers deeply cut, spidery leaves that emerge pink in spring, then fade to bright green in summer. In autumn the leaves again change -- this time to beautiful golden yellow.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Villa Taranto'

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

      Size: 10 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 6-8

      Choose It Because: You want a small cut-leaf variety.

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      Crimson Queen

      This stunning variety of Japanese maple offers weeping branches of beautiful crimson-purple foliage. In autumn, the finely cut leaves turn bright crimson.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Crimson Queen'

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

      Size: 12 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 5-8

      Choose It Because: You want a weeping red cut-leaf variety.

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      Beni Schichihenge

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

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Beni schichihenge'

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

      Size: 8 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 6-9

      Choose It Because: You want variegated foliage or a heat-resistant variety.

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      Aconitifolium

      We think this is one of the most beautiful Japanese maples. It offers deeply cut, almost ferny foliage that opens to green and turns shades of red, orange, and yellow in fall.

      Name: Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' (also called 'Maiku jaku')

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

      Size: 10 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 5-8

      Choose It Because: You need a cut-leaf Japanese maple with a great texture.

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      Caperci Dwarf

      This small, slow-growing Japanese maple tree offers pink-tinged new growth that fades to green as the season progresses. Then in fall, the green leaves turn a nice shade of warm, glowing gold.

      Name: Acer palmatum 'Caperci Dwarf'

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

      Size: 6 feet tall; 10 or more feet wide

      Zones: 6-8

      Choose It Because: You need a Japanese maple for a container or for a small space.

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      Vitifolium

      A big, sturdy Japanese maple tree, this variety offers wide, deep green leaves that turn bright shades of gold, yellow, orange, and scarlet in autumn.

      Name: Acer japonicum 'Vitifolium'

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

      Size: 25 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 5-9

      Choose It Because: You need a Japanese maple that tolerates cold or warm weather well.

    • How to Pick a Tree to Plant
      19 of 21

      How to Pick a Tree to Plant

      Use our tips to select the best tree at your local garden center or nursery.

    • Trees for Small Spaces
      20 of 21

      Top Trees for Small Spaces

      Many Japanese Maples work well in tight spots. See other types of trees that also fit the bill.

    • 21 of 21
      Next Slideshow Our Favorite Small Trees

      Our Favorite Small Trees

      Small trees can pack a big punch into your landscape. Here are some of our editors' favorite varieties.
      Begin Slideshow »

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