Japanese maple trees (botanical name: Acer palmatum), called momiji in Japanese, offer striking texture, form and color. Gardeners primarily use them for ornamental purposes and to recreate Japanese-style gardens. These small deciduous trees are characterized by their delicate jagged-edge leaves. Many kinds of Japanese maple trees exist, all of which require moist, rich soil and partial to full sun.
Red Japanese Maple
Red Japanese maple trees, also called the Japanese red maple tree (botanical name: Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' spp.) are medium-large trees that reach maximum heights of 30 meters. Their foliage spreads to approximately 20 meters. These trees are best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8 and require partial to full sun and well-drained soils. Red Japanese maple trees display spectacular red-colored leaves throughout the year that turn into a warmer red in the cooler autumn months.
Bloodgood Maple Trees
The Japanese "Bloodgood" maple (botanical name: Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood') is a popular Japanese maple cultivar that grows to a maximum height and spread of 20 meters. The leaves of the tree are a rich purple-red that retain their color well in even the hottest months and turn into a pleasant red in fall. Bloodgood maple trees are best suited to USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8.
Sango Kaku Maple
The Sango Kaku Japanese maple tree (botanical name: Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku') is a dramatic tree that is especially breathtaking in the winter. Its bark takes on a fluorescent coral-red shade in the colder months and its pink branches are infused with brilliant red, palm-shaped leaves. The tree grows to a height between 12 and 15 feet (144 to 180 inches) and spreads to between 15 and 20 feet (180 to 240 inches). The Sango Kaku maple grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 8, prefers partial shade to full sun exposure, and has average water requirements.
The deciduous Kamagata tree (botanical name: Acer palmatum 'Kamagata') is a dwarf Japanese maple cultivar that ranges in height between 36 and 48 inches. Considered a shrub, the tree thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9. Kamagatas prefer full to partial sun exposure and acidic soils (pH between 5.1 and 6.5), and make ideal container plants.
Yezo-Nishiki (botanical name: Acer palmatum 'Yezo-Nishiki') is a Japanese maple cultivar that has characteristic red leaves that change shades between different seasons. Leaves are cherry or wine red in the fall and spring and a rich bronze-red in the summer and winter months. Yezo-Nishiki grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 8. The tree is medium-sized, growing to a maximum height of 180 inches and width of 240 inches.