Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum

The Japanese Maple was first shown to European explorers in 1783 and introduced to the West in 1820. After nearly 80 years of obscurity, the Japanese Maple became popular and began to spread across the world. Growing wild within, or on the edge of, mixed broad-leaved woodlands, today there are hundreds of cultivars of Japanese Maple used for a variety of landscape purposes from foundation to specimen planting across the world. With grey-brown, smooth bark and 5 to 9 lobed leaves, Japanese Maples have excellent red and gold fall color and are extremely varied in their habit and size across various cultivars.

Encyclopedic Entry

According to Michael A. Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants ...

  • Popular Non-Dissected Varieties:
    var. atropurpureum, Bloodgood, Burgundy Lace, Emperor One, Moonfire, Oshio beni, Ozakazuki, Sango Kaku, Scolopendrifolium, Scolopendrifolium Rubrum
  • Popular Dissected Varieties:
    var. dissectum atropurpureum, Crimson Queen, Ever Red, Filigree, Garnet, Ornatum, Red Filigree Lace, Tamukeyama, Viridis, Waterfall
  • Type:
    Deciduous Ornamental Tree
  • Family-Genus-Species:
    Sapindaceae Acer palmatum
  • Sun Requirements:
    Partial Shade (Ideally during the hottest parts of the day!)
  • Rate:
    Slow to Medium
  • Leaves:
    Leaves are opposite, simple, 2 to 5 inches long, deeply 5 to 7 to 9 lobed, lobes being lance-ovate to lance-oblong in shape, acuminate, subcordate doubly serrate; color varies depending on cultivar, but species is green in summer, becoming yellow, bronze, purple or red in the fall; many of the var. atropurpureum types turn a magnificant red in fall; leaves hold late and are often present into November.
  • Landscape Value:
    Probably one of the most flexible maple species as far as landscape uses; magnificent specimen, accent plant, shrub border, grouping, bonsai; definitely lends an artistic and aristocratic touch; considering the tremendous heat in the south I am amazed at the number of choice specimens; even in full sun the plant does reasonable well; the purple leaf forms appear to lose the pronounced color earlier in the growing season.
  • Hardiness:
    Zone 5 to 8. For an idea of your plant zone please visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
  • Soil Preference:
    Transplanted balled and burlapped or as a container plant into moist, high organic matter, well-drained soil. Tolerant of most soil types.
  • Size:
    15 to 25 feet in height, spread equal to or greater than height; great variation in this species due to large number of cultivars which are common in commerce; many of the dissectum types only reach 6 to 8 feet and become quite mound-like in shape; the species can reach 40 to 50 feet in the wild state; magnificent specimens along the east coast from Boston to Washington that approach 40 to 50 feet.
  • Habit:
    Species tends towards a rounded to broad-rounded character, often the branches assume a layered effect similar to Flowering Dogwood; the plant can be grown as a single-stemmed small tree or large multi-stemmed shrub; perhaps the greatest ornamental attributes are exposed in the latter situation.
  • Flowers:
    Small, red to purple, May to June, borne in stalked umbels (possibly corymbs), quite attractive on close inspection.
  • Fertilization:
    Fertilize an area three times the canopy spread of the tree 1 to 2 times a year with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Only fertilize an established tree.
  • Planting Instructions:
    Dig a hole three times the diameter of the root system, with a depth no deeper than the original soil line on trunk. Break up the soil to the finest consistency possible. Place plant in hole and fill, compacting the fill dirt. Water the plant heavily to seal soil around the roots and remove air pockets. Water well, and remember to water regularly until they have started to grow.
  • Diseases & Insects:
    Actually surprisingly few; have had a real problem with rooted cuttings in plastic houses that leafed out early. The high humidity promoted Botrytis infection which literally killed 80 fine specimens in about 3 days.

Photo Gallery

Acer palmatum Acer palmatum Acer palmatum
Acer palmatum Acer palmatum Acer palmatum
Acer palmatum Acer palmatum Acer palmatum

Spotlight Cultivars

Bloodgood Japanese Maple


The 'Bloodgood' Maple is the most popular cultivar of the Japanese maple. Known for its beautiful purple foliage and resilient nature when faced with higher temperatures which would harm most other cultivars, the 'Bloodgood' maple is a wonderful addition when considering landscaping. With leaves among the darkest of any Japanese maple, the 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple retains its color throughout the fall. It holds its color better and is more forgiving than most other red Japanese maple cultivars. The 6-12" & 12-18" 'Bloodgood' Japanese maples are perfect for Bonsai training.

Burgandy Lace Japanese Maple

Burgandy Lace

The Burgundy Lace Japanese Maple is a popular Japanese Maple choice due in part to its leaves. With reddish purple color not quite as consistent as the 'Bloodgood', Burgundy Lace is prone to turning purple-bronze-green in summer. Its leaves are cut almost to the point of attachment of the blade to the peiole and each lobe is finely serrated and cut along the margins. Leaves average 4 inches long by 3 and 1/2 inches wids. A small tree of about 10 to 12 feet high and 12 to 15 feet wide, it is a great tree for gardens and landscaping.

Emperor One Japanese Maple

Emperor One

Orido nishiki Japanese Maple

Orido nishiki

Sango Kaku Japanese Maple

Sango Kaku

Suminagashi Japanese Maple


Shindeshojo Japanese Maple


Braiding Japanese Maples

Growing Bonsai Trees

Where can I purchase Japanese Maples?

Our Japanese Maples are grown from cuttings. We offer Bloodgood Japanese Maples in several sizes listed below that include shipping. For further information regarding planting procedure and technique, please visit boydnursery.net/planting/. We ship via Priority Mail from zip-code 37378 and DO NOT ship plants west of the Rocky Mountains.

We also provide a limited supply of the following Japanese maple cultivars in balled and burlapped quantities: Bloodgood, Burgundy Lace, Orido nishiki, Sango Kaku, Suminagashi, and Shindeshojo. Please call with the size and quantity that you are interested in, and we will provide you with a quote. Wholesale orders are shipped dependent upon the customer's needs. Size and quantity availability can be found at boydnursery.net.

This product can only be shipped during the Winter and Early Spring!

'Bloodgood' Japanese Maples
Prices for the 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple are per tree with FREE SHIPPING through Priority Mail.
Plant HeightPrice