Choosing the Right Japanese Maple Varieties

Choosing the Right Japanese Maple Varieties

inaba shidare japanese maple close up

A #ProPlantTips Tree Selection Guide

The unparalleled good looks of Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) trees are truly exquisite. Each variety has their own unique charm!

This short list is by no means complete! We offer a fantastic online catalog filled with lovely choices to custom-fit into your garden designs. Has Gorgeous Types of Japanese Maple Trees for Sale…Which One is Right for Your Yard?

Beyond height and spread, our catalog of varieties of Japanese Maple trees offer a variety of form, leaf shape and color. But that's not all, as even the stems can also be brightly pigmented!

Study your landscape to find just the right spot to feature a lovely Japanese Maple. They'll perform beautifully in well-drained soil and partial shade, with protection from afternoon sun.

 Select for color, growth habit and form and consider mixing and matching several different varieties together. Here's a rundown of some of our most popular cultivars:

Versatile Emperor One Japanese Maple Emperor japanese maple 1

With an upright, spreading profile, compact Emperor One makes a lively accent tree in a courtyard or a lawn planting. Use just one, or plant a series to create a modern landscape feature. 

The bold crimson leaves hold their color beautifully all season. Emperor One is a hardy choice that leafs out a bit later to avoid late spring freezing.

Its toothed palmate leaves seem to glow in the summer sunlight. And you'll look forward to fall all year-long when the color intensifies to a truly glorious ruby-red.

Although not a large tree, Emperor One can certainly carry the back layer of a mixed border. Space them 10 feet apart, and encourage the wide-spreading branches to create a gorgeous screen.

emperor japanese maple 2

Mix Emperor One with the taller, more upright Bloodgood Japanese Maple for a customized partner planting. Think of beautiful Japanese Maples as architectural elements to create the landscape of your dreams!

Emperor One At a Glance

  • Upright, compact and somewhat spreading
  • Hardy, resists frost
  • Five-lobed leaves
  • Ruby-red foliage
  • Accent, border, focal point, and foundation for small spaces

Cascading Tamukeyama Japanese Maple Tamukeyama 1

An excellent choice for a smaller yard or container, Tamukeyama boasts a gorgeous weeping habit that spreads wide before drooping. Your guests will do a double take at this showy specimen!

Look closer at the deeply cut red-purple leaves. Called 'lacecut or 'laceleaf'', their fine-texture is a delightful asset of these special trees.

In production for over 300 years, Tamukeyama earns its place in any landscape. Allow it to settle in to soften a curve or moment of transition in your space.

Include one to play the starring role in an island planting bed reclaimed from the lawn. It partners beautifully with Azalea, Hydrangea and Hosta.

Tamukeyama 2

Protect the deeply lobed leaves and pigmented bark from full sun for best results. Why not place it behind a bench as a lovely, cool spot to recharge your batteries?

Tamukeyama At A Glance

  • Mounding habit
  • Spreads wider than tall
  • Delicate, lacecut foliage
  • Deep red bark
  • Good choice for high heat and humidity

Low-Growing, Spreading Inaba Shidare Japanese Maple

For an unforgettable display, include the stunning form of Inaba Shidare Japanese Maple in your landscape design. These ground-hugging small trees feature an upright trunk and cascading branches that reach wide.

inaba shidare

Use them to provide a serene contrast to tall, narrow evergreens. Or plant them in oversized containers raised up high to appreciate the spill of the weeping branches.

Customize the fit of your Inaba Shidare with thoughtful pruning. The goal is to create a one-of-a-kind specimen tree that nestles into its planting site.

You'll adore the bright, finely-dissected leaves of this tree near a water feature with a boulder or two. Consider adding seating nearby, to fully appreciate these "living poems".

At once graceful and organic, Inaba Shidare brings an elegant feel to a courtyard. On larger properties, create a hidden destination getaway and decorate it with this ageless classic.

Inaba Shidare At A Glance

  • Compact spreading form
  • Unique classic
  • Vivid lacecut foliage 
  • Scarlet-red color turns bright red in fall
  • Excellent specimen and container tree

Vibrant Stems Coral Bark Japanese Maple

An excellent choice for shade in a small yard, Coral Bark has divinely pigmented red bark and leaf stems. It's especially noticeable against the bright grass-green foliage.

coral bark japanese maple

The leaves "pop" against the bold trunk and branches. This is especially true in spring, as the red sap rises through the tree.

New branches are especially rich in this electric red color. In winter, they'll add an exceptional amount of interest.

Rely on Coral Bark for a right-sized shade tree that fits well in modern lots. It's a perfect choice to anchor an east or north-facing foundation planting.

The seven-lobed leaves develop a wonderful golden hue in fall. You'll appreciate this stunning tree all year-long!

Coral Bark At A Glance

  • Gorgeous red stems
  • Excellent winter interest
  • Grass-green foliage turns golden in fall
  • Great size for modern lots
  • Taller than it is wide

Colorful Shirazz Japanese Maple shirazz maple 1

For an ever-changing color display, you'll appreciate the beautiful, deeply-lobed leaves of Shirazz. Each spring, you're in for a treat as the new foliage emerges bright pink with white margins.

Over the season, Shirazz leaves age to a blend of green, pink and white. But that's not all…with cooler fall temperatures, the leaves finally burnish to a scarlet red to wrap up the season.

Place this stunning tree in a high-profile area for the biggest return on your investment. Allow their variegated leaves to grace the corner of your foundation, or provide a delightfully dynamic backdrop to your patio seating. 

A mature Shirazz Japanese Maple tree is a perfect size for a specimen. It's also a great choice for an odd-numbered grouping on a berm.

shirazz maple 2

With its leaf color, vase-shape and artfully drooping branches, Shirazz develops into a magnificent living artwork. The ever-changing colors of the elongated, lobed leaves will fascinate you and your guests all season-long. 

Shirazz At A Glance

  • Colorful foliage display
  • Compact and vase-shaped
  • Lyrical drooping branches
  • Can be kept in oversized containers for many years
  • Rarely needs pruning

When you plant these special trees, you are connecting into a long history of esteemed Asian sensibility. Appreciate their incomparable beauty in your landscape this season!

Remember to plant these special trees in rich, well-drained soil. Provide protection from late afternoon sun in warmer climates to avoid leaf scorch.

Many enthusiasts grow a collection of them in huge containers. Japanese Maples are happy in containers for many years with judicious pruning, mulch, proper fertilization and careful attention to watering.

Pair them with other Japanese-native plants, like Yuki Snowflake Deutzia, Hosta Hydrangea and Camellia. Their artful form and incredible foliage provides a respite from modern stresses.

Need more help choosing the perfect tree? Contact our plant experts for advice at

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