20 Japanese Maple Trees (Including Dwarf Varieties): Types, Leaves (Pictures) – Identification

The spectacular ornamental landscape trees Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) trees have colorful palmate leaves. The leaves of Japanese maples are red, gold, brilliant green, orange, and yellow in color. Japanese maples are tiny trees, with many colorful dwarf Japanese maple trees suited for small, compact gardens or growing in pots. They are different from other maple species in that they are tiny.

The finest Japanese maple trees for cultivation in your yard are covered in this article. You can choose between dwarf and weeping Japanese maples by accessing descriptions and images of both kinds.

Table of Contents

Japanese Maple Trees Facts

Japanese maple trees, also known as little flowering trees or big shrubs in the woody plant genus Acer, add beautiful fall color to any garden landscape. Japanese maples are native to Japan, Asia, and southeast Russia and have a common name that reflects this. The leaves of Japanese maples, which are deciduous trees and shrubs, fall in the autumn. In USDA zones 5 through 9, the ornamental maple trees are suitable.

The rounded crown, palmately lobed leaves, and gorgeous fall colors distinguish Japanese maples. Dwarf Japanese maples may reach up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) whereas regular Japanese maples may reach up to 20 feet (6 meters). Little clusters of flowers develop in the spring, and the maple leaves are 1.5 to 5 inches long (4 to 13 cm).

Japanese maple trees grow well in gardens and are simple to maintain. Full sun to partial shade is ideal for growing ornamental Japanese maple trees. When grown in part shade, the vivid Japanese maple leaf colors are more vibrant. Organically rich, well-drained, and constantly wet soil is ideal for Japanese maple trees.

How to Choose the Right Japanese Maple Tree

Consider the plant’s size, leaf shape, and leaf color when choosing the perfect Japanese maple tree for your garden. For tiny garden landscapes, dwarf Japanese maples and weeping Japanese maples are ideal. Japanese maples may have rounded, weeping, upright, or cascading branches, depending on the species. Perfect specimen plants or lawn trees for providing shade are taller Japanese maples.

Leaf size and color are other factors to consider when selecting a suitable Japanese maple tree. Maple tree leaf blades are wide to narrow and lacy, with palm-shaped Japanese maple leaves that range in width from broad to slender. Another factor to take into account is the color of your lovely maple tree. Red, yellow, pink, purple, burgundy, and brilliant yellow are just a few of the spectacular colors found in Japanese maple leaves throughout the year.

Japanese Maple Tree Leaves

Palm-shaped and delicate laceleaf (also known as cutleaf or threadleaf maples) are two forms of Japanese maple leaves that differ in shape, color, and size. The broad lobes of a Japanese maple leaf, which range from five to nine per leaf, are what distinguish it. Serrated edges and a pointed tip characterize leaf blades.

The leaves of palmate Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are large and serrated with five to nine lobes. Japanese palmate maples have lobes that are deeper than those seen on typical maple trees. Thin, pointed strap-like leaves with long thin lobes characterize laceleaf Japanese maples (Acer palmatum dissectum). Lobes are broken into smaller lobes as they are dissected. The laceleaf maple varieties have feathery, fern-like leaves, as compared to Japanese palmate maples.

The spring, summer, and autumn hues of a Japanese maple leaf are another characteristic. Japanese maple tree leaves change color throughout the season, typically starting out green in the spring and changing to orange in the summer. Deep red, purple-red, bronze, green, golden yellow, and orange are some of the Japanese maple leaf colors. Variegated Japanese maple trees with bi-colored leaves are also available.

Dwarf Japanese Maple Trees 

Little-scale landscaping or container growing are excellent uses for dwarf Japanese maple trees. Natural dwarf Japanese maples may be tiny trees that grow slowly or slender specimens that take many years to mature. Dwarf Japanese maples reach a height of 4 to 8 feet (1.2 to 2.4 meters) on average.

Containerized dwarf Japanese maples thrive. Add color to patios, decks, or paved areas by planting decorative maples this way. In addition, to protect it from frost, you may grow a container Japanese maple tree in USDA zone 4 and overwinter it indoors.

Weeping Japanese Maple Trees

A domed, umbrella-like crown with cascading colorful branches and lacy leaves is common for weeping Japanese maple trees. With a spread of 12 ft. (3.6 m), weeping Japanese maples typically grow to be 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall. Because they occupy less space than ordinary trees, decorative weeping maples are appropriate for smaller gardens.

Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Waterfall,’ Acer palmatum ‘Green Gem,’ and Acer palmatum ‘Viridis’ are some of the best weeping Japanese maple trees.

Types of Japanese Maple Trees 

Dwarf maples, weeping maples, and ordinary Japanese maples are the three types of Japanese maple trees. Japanese maples come in two flavors: red and green. Lobed palmate or lacy leaves with serrated edges and five to nine deep lobes are used to differentiate between Japanese maples. Most gardens with little trouble accommodate easy-care Japanese maples.

Varieties of Dwarf Japanese Maple

Here are some of the best dwarf Japanese maple trees to grow as a specimen tree or container plant in your yard.

Red Dragon Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Red Dragon’)

The Red Dragon maple cultivar has a weeping growth habit and beautiful crimson-red dissected leaves that turn to brilliant crimson red in the autumn. With cascading branches that produce a lively centerpiece in a garden setting, the dwarf maple has a weeping personality.

For tiny gardens or pots, the Red Dragon is a magnificent dwarf Japanese maple tree. Full sun or partial shade is ideal for the Red Dragon Japanese maple tree. It takes 6 to 8 years to reach full maturity (1.8 – 2.4 m). USDA zones 5 to 8 are compatible for growing.

Japanese maple leaves: The slender, crimson, dissected leaves of the dwarf Japanese maple tree known as the Red Dragon resemble a dragon’s claw.

Crimson Queen Dwarf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’)

From spring to summer, the ‘Crimson Queen’ Japanese maple is a dwarf ornamental tree with burgundy-red lacy leaves that turn crimson in the fall. It is ideal for full sun cultivation. Despite strong sunlight, the laceleaf maple retains its vivid foliage colors. It is tolerant of complete sun.

The crimson queen’s cascading development with scarlet leaves produces a spectacular bushy maple plant that blooms in the spring. Between 8 and 10 feet (2.4 – 3 m) wide, the Japanese dwarf tree known as the “Crimson Queen” grows. USDA zones 5 to 9 are suitable for growing in full sun.

Japanese maple leaves: Bright red lacy leaves with their stunning crimson hues survive the spring and early summer in the ‘Crimson Queen’ Japanese leaves.

Inaba Shidare Dwarf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Inaba Shidare’)

The bushy dwarf Japanese maple has deeply cut and dissected red palmate leaves that are deeply cut and dissected. With five or seven serrated lobes and lacy dissected foliage, each Japanese maple leaf is 2″ to 5″ (5 – 12 cm) long. In the fall, the purple-red leaves turn stunning hues of dark purple, red, bronze, and yellow.

In partial shade to full sun, the Inaba Shidare dwarf decorative maple performs best. Between 4 and 6 feet (1.2 and 1.8 meters) tall, the bushy dwarf maple tree takes 10 years to grow. It grows to be 10 feet (3 meters) tall. Zones 5 to 9 are ideal for this.

Japanese maple leaves: The deeply cut and dissected leaves of the Inaba Shidare maple. The reddish-purple foliage of this plant remains lovely throughout the season.

Shaina Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Shaina’)

The compact, bushy tree ‘Shaina dwarf Japanese maple tree is ideal for tiny gardens and tiny places. In the spring, the deeply lobed leaves emerge vivid red, turn dark purple-red, and in the autumn, crimson red. The upright, spherical crown of the dwarf Japanese maple ‘Shaina’ is characterized by its dark leaves.

The Shaina cultivar, a lovely dwarf Japanese maple, grows to be 4 to 6 feet (1.2 – 1.8 m) tall and 4 feet (1.2 ft.) broad. USDA growing zones 5 to 9 are ideal for this plant. Maple leaf color improves when grown in partial shade, although the shrubby variety can tolerate some direct sun.

Types of Japanese Maple Trees (Red Japanese Maples)

During the three growing seasons, here are some of the best red Japanese maple trees to use to create stunning hues of crimson, burgundy, purple-red, and scarlet in gardens.

Bloodgood Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. atropurpureum ‘Bloodgood’)

The Bloodgood Japanese maple is a shrubby tree with deeply-lobed purple-red leaves that adds a focal point to any garden. Before becoming wine-red or burgundy, the Japanese maple leaf blades have five or seven tips and emerge as bright red. This lovely Japanese maple tree has all-year appeal because of its upright growth, blackish-red bark, and spherical crown.

The Japanese maple tree known as the Bloodgood grows slowly to a height of between 10 and 20 feet (4.5 and 6 meters) wide. There is no need to trim the ornamental maple tree. In zones 5 to 8, grow in full sun or partial shade.

Japanese maple leaves: From spring to autumn, the red lobed leaves of the Bloodgood Japanese maple are beautiful. In the autumn, the maple leaf colors change from vibrant red to rich maroon.

Fireglow Japanese Maple Tree (Acer palmatum ‘Fireglow’)

The crimson red leaves of the crimson red Japanese maple tree may endure full sun and may endure from spring till autumn. The common name for this Acer palmatum cultivar is ‘Fireglow’ because of the five to seven red lanceolate blades that make up the palmate leaves.

The Bloodgood maple has a similar appearance to this smaller maple cultivar. From 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 meters) tall and 15 feet (4.5 meters) broad, the Fireglow Japanese maple takes 10 years to develop. USDA zones 5 to 8 are suitable for growing.

Japanese maple leaves: The crimson colors of the deeply lobed Fireglow maple leaves last till autumn. The leaves of this leafy maple tree do not get burnt in full sun.

Emperor Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Wolff’)

The Emperor Japanese maple tree has upright growth and leaf colors that range from purplish-red to vibrant red, with palmate leaves. This upright Japanese maple grows 10 to 15 feet (3.5 to 4.5 meters) and is known as Emperor One or Red Emperor. Throughout the season, the maple leaves retain their rich crimson hues. Since the leaves are relatively frost-tolerant, the maple is appropriate for colder zones in zone 5. It’s ideal for growing in full sun without being scorched by the sun.

Japanese maple leaves: Large palm-like leaves with five lobes and serrated edges characterize the Emperor Japanese maple. Purple, wine red, or bright red are the Japanese maple leaf colors.

Laceleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Atropurpureum’)

The Laceleaf Japanese maple ‘Atropurpureum’ is a large shrubby, spherical maple tree with tiny fern-like leaves that are split into little lobes. In the fall, the exquisite wiry maple leaves turn vivid purple, then bronze-green and finally fiery orange. Laceleaf maples may grow between 6 and 8 feet (1.8 and 2.4 meters) tall and broad. USDA zones 5 to 8.

Garnet Laceleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Garnet’)

The laceleaf variety of the garnet Japanese maple tree has brilliant red leaves that are deeply serrated, long, thin, and pointed. With spreading branches that droop downward, the robust ‘Garnet’ maple tree produces a dramatic circular red tree canopy. Up to 12 ft. (3.6 m) broad, matures at 6 to 8 ft. (1.8 – 2.4 m) tall.

Orange Dream Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’)

Golden yellow palmate leaves with pink streaks that turn greenish-yellow in the summer are stunning on this Japanese maple tree. The tiny shrubby tree grows between 8 and 10 feet (2.4 and 3 meters) tall and has a spread of 6 feet (1.2 meters). In USDA zones 5 to 8, grow the ornamental maple ‘Orange Dream.’ For tiny gardens or pots, this little maple tree is a great choice.

Ornatum Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Ornatum’)

In the spring, the long thin lobes of the ‘Ornatum’ Japanese maple create delicate bronze-red lacy leaves. In the summer, the leaves turn bronze-orange, and in the fall, they become bright red. The rounded growth habit of the Ornatum maple tree. It grows up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall and has an 8-10 foot (2.4 – 3 meters) spread. It is a Japanese maple that takes a long time to grow. In zones 5–8, grow in full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil.

Red Pygmy Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum ‘Red Pygmy’)

With seven lobed leaves that are reddish-purple in the spring and then turn to dark green in summer and golden-yellow in the autumn, this Japanese maple has an appealing rounded shape. The Red Pygmy maple tree grows at a pace of up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) tall and spreads up to 6 feet (1.8 meters). USDA zones 5 – 8 allow you to grow it in moist, well-drained soil.

Types of Green Japanese Maple Trees

Little ornamental small trees suitable for all garden sizes are available from Green Japanese maple. Green Japanese maples have green leaves throughout the summer, which is a unique characteristic. The leaves, on the other hand, may change color from green to red in the autumn after emerging in spring.

Viridis Green Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Viridis’)

In the spring and summer, Viridis Japanese maple has vivid green leaves that turn yellow or orange in the autumn. In the spring and summer, the laceleaf or cutleaf Japanese maple tree leaves are bright green, then golden yellow or orange in the fall. In the winter, the Japanese maple’s bent wood branches and limbs add visual appeal.

In dappled sunlight, the Japanese maple ‘Viridis’ thrives. It grows between 8 and 10 feet (2.4 and 3 m) tall and 8 feet (2.4 m) broad, resulting in a slow-growing maple. Zones 5 to 8 are ideal for growing this plant.

Japanese maple leaves: In the autumn, the exquisite finely cut leaves of the ‘Viridis’ Japanese maple have a wiry look and a vibrant green color.

Coral Bark Japanese Maple Tree (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-Kaku)

The bark of the Coral Bark Japanese maple is a vibrant coral-red color, with yellow, five-lobed leaves and a vase-shaped growth habit. It gets its name from the beauty of its bark. The bright, vivid yellow palmate leaves contrast with reddish-pink bark to make the coral bark maple a standout species. USDA zones 5 to 8 are ideal for growing this green Japanese maple. The Acer palmatum ‘Sango-Kaku’ is a slow-growing maple that grows to be 20 and 25 feet (6 – 7.5 meters) tall and widthwise in 10 to 20 years.

Japanese maple leaves: Sango-Kaku has ferny leaves 2 inches (5 cm) long and is a coral bark Japanese maple. In the fall, they turn golden yellow and emerge yellowish-green.

Osakazuki Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’)

The leaves of the Japanese maple tree turn crimson in the fall, giving it a bushy look. The serrated edges of the palmate maple leaves are 5 or 7 lobes. The tree’s color changes throughout the summer, from green to gold. The leaves of the Japanese maple trees turn a brilliant crimson red for a few weeks before falling in the autumn. The Osakazuki maple thrives in full sun with no sun scorch, unlike other maples. USDA zones 5 to 8.

Japanese maple leaves: There are seven pointed lobes on the ‘Osakazuki’ Japanese maple leaf. In the autumn, the green leaves turn a brilliant scarlet with a rich crimson hue.

Butterfly Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’)

The unique feature of the Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple is its creamy-white and green variegated lobed leaves. Some maple tree leaves are half-white, while others are entirely white. In the spring, the decorative serrated leaves gain pink hues. The beautiful scarlet to magenta ‘Butterfly Japanese Maple’ looks in the fall. The shrubby maple tree may grow up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall and broad, measuring 7 to 12 feet (2.1 to 3.6 meters).

Waterfall Weeping Japanese Maple Tree (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Waterfall’)

The small, weeping maple tree with ferny, lace-like cut leaves has between seven and eleven incised lobes is known as the ‘Waterfall.’ In the fall, the green laceleaf Japanese maple feathery leaves become a vibrant red, purple, yellow, and bronze. The immense, spreading canopy of the weeping maple is a feature that distinguishes it. The dwarf maple is 6 to 10 ft. (1.8 – 3 m high) and has a rounded, umbrella-like crown that measures up to 12 ft. (3.6 m) wide.

Full Moon Japanese Maple Tree (Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’)

The tiny tree with green leaves that turn orangey-bronze in the autumn is known as the Full Moon Japanese maple. The fan-like leaves with shallow lobes are a defining characteristic of the Golden Full Moon maple. Between 15 and 20 feet (4.5 and 6 meters) tall and broad, the ‘Aureum’ maple tree grows. Nonetheless, it takes many years for this slow-growing tree to reach maturity.

Seiryu Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’)

The threadleaf variety with super-thin dissected leaves and green with pinkish tips is known as the ‘Seiryu’ Japanese maple. In the spring, lime-green Japanese maple leaves bloom, then in the autumn, orange-red leaves emerge. The green cut maple leaves look like a dragon’s claw, hence the cultivar name of this Japanese maple is ‘Blue-Green Dragon.’

Between 10 and 15 feet (3 and 4.5 meters) tall and 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.6 meters) broad, the Seiryu Japanese maple tree The widely columnar growth habit of the Seiryu maple is an unusual characteristic.

Acer palmatum ‘Kagiri-nishiki’

The variegated green and white leaves with a touch of pink borders that turn pink and crimson in the autumn make it a lovely Japanese maple tree. It’s a tall, slow-growing tree with a similar spread of up to 20 feet (6 meters). USDA Zone 5 – 8 and full sun to partial shade

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