18 Japanese Maple Trees for Your Yard

vitifolium japanese maple red and orange leaves
Japanese maple trees add grace and beauty through the seasons. While the Bloodgood Japanese maple is a tried-and-true specimen you'll probably recognize, consider some of our favorite varieties—including dwarf Japanese maple—that feature a spectacle of vibrant leaf color.

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. Choose this variety if you're looking for a good, small-size red cut-leaf variety of Japanese maple.

Name: Acer palmatum 'Dissectum Atropurpureum'

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

Size: 8 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-9

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 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 and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 8 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-8

Related: Tips for Growing Japanese Maple Trees

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

Related: Diagnosing Tree Diseases

Golden Full Moon Maple

An exceptionally beautiful plant, this Japanese maple tree features golden-yellow leaves through the summer. If you're aiming to plant for fall color try 'Aureum': 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

Autumn Moon

Like the golden full moon Japanese maple, this tree 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

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. Choose Hogyoku if you live in a climate with hot summers.

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.

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, so plant this tree if you're looking for winter interest.

Name: Acer palmatum 'Beni kawa'

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

Size: 15 feet tall, 12 feet wide

Zones: 6-9

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. Lovers of variegated foliage: This is the tree for you!

Name: Acer palmatum 'Higasayama'

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

Size: 15 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-8

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

Coral Bark

A good-size 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. This is another good choice of Japanese maple if you're looking for winter interest in the landscape.

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

Related: Shrubs with Winter Interest

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

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. This is the tree for you if you're on the hunt for a time-tested and hardy tree.

Name: Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'

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

Size: 20 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-8

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

How to Pick a Tree to Plant

We get it: Choosing a tree for your yard can be intimidating. Once planted, there's almost no turning back. Use our tips to select the best tree at your local garden center or nursery.

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. Looking for a small cut-leaf variety of Japanese maple? Try 'Villa Taranto'.

Name: Acer palmatum 'Villa Taranto'

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

Size: 10 feet tall and wide

Zones: 6-8

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

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

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. This tree changes up texture when it comes to Japanese maples.

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

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. 'Caperci Dwarf' is great for small spaces and containers.

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

Small-space gardening can be a challenge when it comes to trees. We show you the best trees for small yards, including flowering trees like crabapple and the ever-popular Japanese maple, tree-planting tips, and more.

Top Trees for Small Spaces

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

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. 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: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 25 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-9

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