These 15 Maple Trees Will Set Your Yard Ablaze with Vibrant Color

No matter what size yard you have, one of these colorful maple trees will fit your needs and add spectacular color to your landscaping.

maple tree close up leaves
Photo: Bob Stefko

With their vibrant fall foliage, maple trees are popular options for adding stunning color to landscapes. No matter how big your yard is or what the weather is like in your location, a variety of maple will work for you. Our list of 15 types of maple trees will help you pick the perfect one for your landscape.

Pretty Maple Trees to Add to Your Yard

Alison Czinkota / BHG

01 of 15

Japanese Maple

japanese maple in front of gazebo
Bob Stefko

Japanese maples, with their elegant form and foliage, have been treasured throughout the centuries. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, with beautifully serrated green or red foliage. In general, Japanese maples remain compact and can fit into tight spaces. You also can grow them as a bonsai.

Botanical Name: Acer palmatum

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Zones: 5–8

02 of 15

Coral Bark Maple

Coral Bark maple
Mike Jensen

Year-round color! That's what you get with coral bark maple. This type of maple tree has reddish-pink bark and pale green leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall. In the winter, the color of the tree's bark brightens, so it stands out in a snowy landscape.

Botanical Name: Acer palmatum 'Sangokaku'

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Size: 15–20 feet tall, 12 feet wide

Zones: 5–8

03 of 15

Paperbark Maple

Paperbark maple
Jane Milliman

This gorgeous, slow-growing maple tree is perfect for small yards and develops lovely, peeling, red-brown bark. In addition, this maple variety produces bright green foliage, which turns reddish-yellow in fall.

Botanical Name: Acer griseum

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 20–30 feet tall, 12 feet wide

Zones: 5–7

04 of 15

Sugar Maple

red sugar maple
Denny Schrock

When it comes to fall color, sugar maples are at the top of the list. These native maple trees are spectacular in autumn when their foliage turns vibrant red, orange, and yellow. They make excellent shade trees for large backyards. There are several options, but 'Green Mountain' is one of the most popular because it's drought resistant.

Botanical Name: Acer saccharum

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 50–75 feet tall, 30–45 feet wide

Zones: 4–8

05 of 15

Silver Maple

Silver maple in orange light
Bob Stefko

Silver maple is a graceful, fast-growing type of maple tree that does best planted in moist locations away from buildings because they tend to drop branches. They have aggressive root systems that can infiltrate sewer systems, so it's best planted away from underground pipes. Hybrids such as 'Silver Queen' or 'Silver Cloud' are less messy and aggressive.

Botanical Name: Acer saccharinum

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 60–80 feet tall, 40–60 feet wide

Zones: 3–9

06 of 15

Red Maple

lush Red maple tree
Denny Schrock

A North American native, red maple trees form an oval crown of bright green leaves that turn fiery red in autumn. Red maple grows at a moderate rate and makes a sturdy, beautiful shade tree. Look for top varieties such as 'Red Sunset', 'October Glory', 'Red Supersonic', 'Ruby Frost', and 'Columnar'.

Botanical Name: Acer rubrum

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Size: 40–60 feet tall, 30–40 feet wide

Zones: 3–9

07 of 15

Hedge Maple

Hedge maple
Denny Schrock

The rounded form of hedge maple is easily sheared to any height to create a privacy screen or living wall. In the fall, this maple tree develops pretty, pale yellow leaves. 'Metro Gold' and 'Royal Ruby' are reliable varieties with bold fall color.

Botanical Name: Acer campestre

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Size: 20–35 feet tall, 20–30 feet wide

Zones: 5–8

08 of 15

Crimson King Maple

Crimson King maple
Peter Krumhardt

This popular purple-leaf maple tree is actually a form of the common Norway maple. In fall, the foliage of 'Crimson King' maple turns a deep maroon. Like other Norway maples, it can be invasive in some regions.

Botanical Name: Acer platanoides 'Crimson King'

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 35–45 feet tall, 25–30 feet wide

Zones: 3–7

Buy It: 'Crimson King' Maple Tree ($35, The Home Depot)

09 of 15

Snakebark Maple

Snakebark maple
Denny Schrock

Named for its unique, striped bark, snakebark maple is a relatively compact type of maple tree, making it a good choice for small backyards. Plant these small trees where you can admire their spectacular bark, which becomes more colorful with age.

Botanical Name: Acer pectinatum ssp. forrestii

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Size: 15–20 feet tall, 15 feet wide

Zones: 5–9

10 of 15

Korean Maple

Korean maple
Denny Schrock

If you love Japanese maple varieties but live in a region where they won't survive the winter, try Korean maple. These rugged, small trees can tolerate cold temperatures. The trees have deeply lobed, dark green leaves that turn crimson in autumn. This type of maple tree loves full sun and partial shade.

In the spring, Korean maples develop small purple flowers that add to the color show. They also grow well in containers. Korean maple does not like hot, dry conditions.

Botanical Name: Acer pseudosieboldiana

Growing Conditions: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Size: 15–25 feet tall, 15 feet wide

Zones: 4–8

11 of 15

Trident Maple

Trident maple
Denny Schrock

Resistant to air pollution, trident maple is a good choice for street-side plantings. In the fall, this variety of maple trees' bright green lobed foliage changes to deep scarlet and orange. Trident maple grows slowly, so it rarely needs pruning. Plant this red maple tree in full sun or partial shade.

Trident maple makes an excellent low-maintenance shade tree, especially for smaller yards. It's also relatively drought and disease resistant. Look for varieties 'Naruto' or 'Ningpoense'.

Botanical Name: Acer buergerianum

Growing Conditions: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Size: 20–30 feet tall, 20–30 feet wide

Zones: 5–9

12 of 15

Three-Flowered Maple

Three-flowered maple
Denny Schrock

Also called roughbark maple, this versatile, small maple tree grows well in sun or shade and develops interesting ridges or knobs on the trunk as it matures. It is one of the few varieties of maple trees that develop fall color even if grown in the shade. You can plant this type of maple in any soil condition—it's very low maintenance.

Three-flowered maple looks great in four seasons, has few pest or disease problems, and is drought resistant.

Botanical Name: Acer triflorum

Growing Conditions: Full Sun, Shade

Size: 20 feet tall, 20 feet wide

Zones: 5–9

13 of 15

Morton Miyabe Maple

Morton Miyabe maple
Denny Schrock

First selected at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, the award-winning Morton miyabe maple has proved itself as a durable, easy-care maple tree with amazing fall color. This type of maple tree's dense branches make it a terrific shade tree, but it prefers to grow in full sun.

This adaptable and hardy maple is tolerant to heat, cold, soil type, and urban pollution. It is not invasive and would be a good substitute for ash trees where ash borer problems exist. Two excellent selections are 'State Street' and 'Rugged Ridge' varieties.

Botanical Name: Acer miyabei

Growing Conditions: Full Sun

Size: 40–50 feet tall, 30–35 feet wide

Zones: 4–6

14 of 15

Tatarian Maple

Tartarian maple
Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries.

A relative of Amur maple, tatarian maple is a tough, attractive maple tree that tolerates cold winters and hot summers. Look for varieties of maple trees that develop spectacular scarlet seedpods, such as 'Hot Wings'. These types of seedlings grow fabulously in the summer, preferring full-sun to partial-shade conditions. Variety 'Rugged Charm' is also an excellent option for small yards because it stays compact.

Botanical Name: Acer tataricum

Growing Conditions: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Size: 15–20 feet tall, 15 to 20 feet wide

Zones: 3–8

15 of 15

Black Maple

Black maple
Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries.

Although closely related to sugar maple, black maples are more heat and drought resistant. Otherwise, these close cousins are similar except for leaf shape. Black maple leaves have three lobes, while sugar maples have the traditional five lobes.

Black maples form a large, rounded crown, making it an exceptional shade tree. In the fall, their leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow and red.

Botanical Name: Acer saccharum nigrum

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 50–75 feet tall, 50 feet wide

Zones: 4–8

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