What Trees Have Red Leaves?

Green-leaved trees can create a beautiful background to any garden or home landscape, but for trees that really stand out, consider including some that have red leaves all year round. Unlike those deciduous trees that change color for only a brief period in the fall, there are several trees that can bring a splash of red to the garden all throughout the year.

Red maple leaves against  sky
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red leaves add color to a garden

Japanese Stripped-bark Maple

Red Japanese Maple or Acer.
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the Japanese striped-bark maple has a moderate growth rate

The Japanese stripped-bark maple is a member of the maple family that is hardy enough to thrive in plant hardiness zones 5 through 7, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This deciduous tree reaches a mature height of between 30 and 35 feet, and has a moderate growth rate. When the leaves first emerge in the spring they are a bright red. As the season progresses, the leaves fade to green, and when autumn comes around they turn back to a reddish yellow.

Tricolor Beech Tree

Tricolor Beech
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the leaves of the tricolor beech have red or pink borders

The smallest of all beech trees, the tricolor beech typically only reaches a height of between 20 and 30 feet. It does well in sun or shade, and can survive the below freezing temperatures of northern winters. Unlike typical beech trees that stay green through the summer and turn bronze in the winter, the tricolor beech has leaves that are only partially green, with white, red or pink borders and stripes running through them. The colors vary from tree to tree, and some even have leaves that are mostly an attractive reddish-purple color. Because of this inherent variation, those looking to purchase a tree with a particular pattern or color are encouraged to look at the tree when its leaves have already developed.

Crimson King Maple

Lone Crimson Maple Tree
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the Crimson King Maple can reach a height of 50 feet

The Crimson King maple is the only maple that keeps its reddish-purple leaves all summer long. As hardy as the rest of the maple family, the Crimson King thrives in zones 4 through 7. It can withstand freezing temperatures, and its resilience makes it an excellent choice for a street or city tree. It does equally well in rich or poor soil, and in sunny or shady areas. In addition to its unique foliage, the Crimson King is a flowering tree that blossoms in the early spring. The mature height of the Crimson King is up to 50 feet, so plan accordingly when placing near patios and around power lines.


Debra Durkee

Debra Durkee has been writing professionally since 2005. She has been both a columnist and reporter, with her work appearing in print publications from the Metro Group, Inc in New York to the "Casa Grande Dispatch" in Arizona. Now a freelance writer, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from West Virginia University.