18 of the Most Colorful Japanese Maple Trees for Your Yard

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Golden Full Moon Maple
Peter Krumhardt

Just one look at the elegant form and foliage of Japanese maples will have you hooked. 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.

Dissectum Atropurpureum

dissectum atropurpureum japanese maple tree with pink flowers below
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Atropurpureum Dissectum Dry Seed ($32, Etsy)

Coonara Pygmy

Coonara Pygmy
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Coonara Pygmy Dwarf Japanese Maple ($50, Kigi Nursery)

Green Cascade

green cascade japanese maple tree amidst other trees
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Green Cascade Japanese Maple ($124, Etsy)

Golden Full Moon Maple

Golden Full Moon Maple
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Japanese Full Moon Maple ($5, Etsy)

Autumn Moon

autumn moon japanese maple leaves
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Autumn Moon Japanese Maple ($87, Garden Centerpoint)

Hogyoku

hogyoku japanese maple leaves yellow and green
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Maple Japanese 'Hogyoku' Seeds ($4, Walmart)

Beni Kawa

beni kawa japanese maple acer palmatum tree
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Beni Kawa Maple ($40, Amazon)

Higasayama

higasayama japanese maple acer palmatum leaves
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Higasayama Japanese Maple ($40, Amazon)

Emperor 1

emperor one japanese maple leaves
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Emperor One Japanese Maple Trees ($130, Garden Goods Direct)

Coral Bark Maple

coral bark japanese maple and gazebo
Marty Baldwin

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

Buy It: Coral Bark Maple ($40, Amazon)

Suminagashi

sumi nagashi japanese maple bright red leaves
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

Buy It: Suminagashi Dry Seeds (from $31, Etsy)

Bloodgood

bloodgood japanese maple leaves
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Japanese Bloodgood Red Maple Tree ($62, The Home Depot)

Villa Taranto

villa taranto japanese maple acer palmatum leaves
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Villa Taranto Dry Seeds (from $25, Etsy)

Crimson Queen

Crimson Queen Japanese maple
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

Buy It: Crimson Queen Dry Seeds ($134, Etsy)

Beni Schichihenge

beni schichihenge japanese maple acer palmatum
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

Buy It: Beni Schichihenge Japanese Maple ($50, Amazon)

Aconitifolium

full-moon maple acer japonicum bright orange leaves
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

Buy It: 'Aconitifolium' Fern Leaf Maple ($50, Kigi Nursery)

Caperci Dwarf

Capersi Dwarf Tree
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

Buy It: Caperci Dwarf Japanese Maple ($40, Amazon)

Vitifolium

vitifolium japanese maple red and orange leaves
Peter Krumhardt

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

Buy It: Vitifolium ($40, Amazon)

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