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Japanese Maples

May 11, 2022


To any Landscape!

Japanese maple trees can provide a striking focal point, be the perfect plant to set off a large container, or grow into an impressive bonsai specimen. There are hundreds of Japanese maple varieties that come in various sizes with a large assortment of leaf shapes and colors that range from shades of green to orange, red, purple, and variegated.

2022 Japanese Maples Available in 1 Gallon Pots

Slow Growers

Most Japanese maples grow at a slow to moderate rate of 1 to 2 feet per year. They typically grow fastest when they are young and slow down as they reach maturity. Planting them in a spot where they are happy and caring for them well helps maximize their growth rate. If you want an established look right from the start, you can opt to plant an older, larger maple rather than a young one that may take years to mature. If this isn’t an option, select a cultivar that has a reputation for being a faster-than-average grower

Japanese Maple


When to plant:
Fall is an excellent time to plant because it allows the roots of your Japanese maple to get established while the rest of the tree is dormant. However, many gardeners also find success planting in the spring. Either way, make sure there is no threat of frost which can damage a newly planted tree.

Japanese maples prefer to be in locations protected from strong winds and spring frosts.

Japanese maples are fairly adaptive but prefer moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soils that contain organic matter. If you live in an area with heavy clay soil, planting them slightly elevated is beneficial; this will help guard against root rot and disease. Chlorosis (yellowing of leaves due to lack of chlorophyll) may occur in high-pH soils.

Container planting:
Many of the smaller varieties are excellent in containers. Japanese maples “self stunt,” meaning their top growth will decrease when their roots are confined. When planting in a container, it is still wise to focus on small to medium varieties or dwarf forms.


Water them well at planting time and regularly thereafter. Although they can endure periodic dry spells once established, you will want to avoid moisture extremes and water regularly during extreme drought. Maples like mulch to protect their roots from heat and cold, as well as reduce the frequency of watering, especially for those in containers. Keep mulch several inches away from the trunk.

Low-nitrogen fertilizer is fine in spring (N-15 or lower), but don’t apply after May, as this could impede fall color & winter toughness. It is best to wait to fertilize newly planted Japanese maples until their second growing season.

As a rule, Japanese maples don’t require regular pruning and will create their own naturally beautiful shape. However, if you want to create an airy look, thin out branches over time; to create a canopy, remove lower limbs. Japanese maples are an exception to the common pruning times of fall and winter because of the sap that will ooze from the cuts in those seasons; this can lead to disease and a weakened tree. The best time for pruning is July-August when sap won’t ooze from the branches. Because many Japanese maples are grafted, any shoots that grow from the base of the plant should be removed as these can become stronger than the grafted section and overtake it.

Credits: Garden Design /


Japanese Maple

 MVG Japanese Maples

 SeiryuKatsuraButterflyRhode Island Red
ZoneZone 5-8Zone 5-9Zone 5-8Zone 5-9
SunFull sun, Partial sunFull sun, Partial sunFull sun, Partial sunFiltered sun, Full sun, Partial shade, Partial sun
WaterNeeds regular watering – weekly, or more often in extreme heat.Needs regular watering – weekly, or more often in extreme heat.Needs regular watering – weekly, or more often in extreme heat.Water regularly – weekly, or more often in extreme heat or containers.
Water NeedsModerateModerateModerateModerate
Growing SpeedSlow growerSlow growerSlow growerSlow grower
Height10 to 15 ft. tall10 to 12 ft. tall7 to 9 ft. tall6 ft. tall
Width6 to 8 ft. wide10 to 12 ft. wide5 to 6 ft. wide6 ft. wide
Spring ColorGreenGolden-orange with pink edgesPink tinged green leavesRed
Summer ColorGreenGreenWhite tinged green leavesMaroons
Fall ColorPurple-brown then brilliant red.Orange-yellowScarlet MagentaOrange
DescriptionSelected for its upright, vase-shaped form; displays finely dissected lacy green foliage. Excellent accent, wonderful focal point for the patio area. Fall foliage turns an interesting purple-brown then brilliant red. Improved selection makes an attractive garden or patio tree.A dense, compact Japanese Maple with a graceful vase-shaped habit that stands out boldly in the landscape. Perfect for small gardens or containers. Leaves emerge golden-orange with pink edges and turn to delicate foliage of bright green in the summer before turning brilliant shades of orange and yellow in fall.Silvery white margined green leaves cover the densely held branches and become scarlet magenta in fall. New spring growth is pink tinged. A slow-growing shrub-like tree for containers, bonsai, and Asian or small gardens. This versatile plant can even be trained as bonsai for tabletop or raised beds.A spectacular dwarf Japanese maple with dense, compact branching on an upright habit and a rounded, ovate crown. The stunning palmate foliage emerges red in spring and deepens as it ages. Cooler fall temperatures bring orange tones. Red stems add color to the bare winter silhouette. Well-suited for use as a container specimen.