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20 Dwarf Japanese Maple Varieties

The delicate, finely cut leaves of dwarf Japanese maples are simply stunning, reminding us of various things. Their varied leaf colors offer a range of choices.

I’ve picked out 20 of the best dwarf Japanese maples for you in this article. I hope this guide assists you in finding the ideal maple for your needs.

Inaba Shidare Japanese Maple

dwarf japanese maple

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 6 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Inaba Shidare stands out among Japanese maples for its uniqueness. Its leaves, divided into 5-7 lobes, are deeply incised, creating intricate patterns.

The young leaves start off a vibrant red, then mellow to a burgundy hue in midsummer. As autumn approaches, they shift to a greenish-red, and by fall, they’re bright red again.

This maple is a dwarf variety, typically staying under 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Over time, it develops a mushroom-like crown, with young branches drooping under the leaf weight.

Inaba Shidare is also known for its hardiness. It thrives in zones 5 to 9, handles full sun well, and grows nicely in containers.

Tamukeyama Japanese Maple

dwarf japanese maple

Acer palmatum ‘Tamukeyama’

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 7 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Tamukeyama is a unique dwarf Japanese maple known for its lacy leaves. These leaves are notable for their exceptionally long lobes, contributing to a striking weeping effect.

After ten years, this variety typically reaches over 5 feet in height and 7 feet in width. Its umbrella-shaped crown features branches that cascade to the ground. The abundance of leaves creates a dense appearance, often hiding the thick branches in spring, summer, and fall.

The leaf color is a distinctive dark red, setting Tamukeyama apart. It doesn’t turn bright red either in spring or fall, but instead shifts from dark red to dark maroon throughout the seasons.

Tamukeyama is highly adaptable, showing excellent tolerance to both cold and heat. It is recommended for zones 5-9 and is particularly well-suited for full sun exposure.

Waterfall Japanese Maple

dwarf japanese maple

Acer palmatum ‘Waterfall’

  • Height: 4 ft
  • Width: 6 ft
  • Zones: 5-8

Waterfall is a charming dwarf weeping Japanese maple with green leaves. In spring, the new leaves emerge a light green, gradually deepening to a rich, darker shade.

Come autumn, the transformation is striking. The leaves turn a vivid yellow, eventually shifting to bright orange by late fall.

Among the smallest weeping Japanese maples, Waterfall typically doesn’t exceed 4 feet in height after about a dozen years, but can spread to over 6 feet wide. It has a more uniform, umbrella-shaped crown compared to other varieties, with branches that lengthen and droop over time.

This variety thrives in both full sun and partial shade. It’s best suited for zones 5 to 8. However, it’s not recommended for zone 9, as the intense sunlight in this climate can be too harsh.

Orangeola Japanese Maple

dwarf japanese maple

Acer palmatum ‘Orangeola’

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 4 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Orangeola is one of the more petite Japanese maples, reaching up to 5 feet in height and 4 feet in width. Its shape is more pyramidal than umbrella-like, setting it apart from many other varieties. As it matures, the branches curve downwards, creating a beautiful weeping effect.

The leaves of Orangeola are distinctively lacy, with very thin lobes. They start off as a bright red when young and gradually turn orange. The mature leaves have a greenish-orange hue. New foliage keeps emerging throughout the season, adding to the tree’s vibrancy.

This results in a stunning display of three different leaf colors on the tree simultaneously.

Orangeola is versatile, suitable for growing in most parts of the U.S. It’s recommended for zones 5 to 9. While it can handle full sun, some shade is beneficial, especially in zone 9.

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple

weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’

  • Height: 4 ft
  • Width: 6 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Crimson Queen is a dwarf American-bred variety, originating from a nursery in New Jersey. After a decade, it typically stands no taller than 4 feet and spreads 5-6 feet wide.

From a young age, this maple quickly develops numerous lateral branches that droop, creating an immediate weeping effect. If you’re looking for a weeping Japanese maple that matures quickly, Crimson Queen is an excellent choice.

A notable characteristic of this variety is its consistent color retention throughout the season. The leaves are a deep red or maroon and unlike other varieties, they don’t undergo significant color changes.

Red Dragon Japanese Maple

weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Red Dragon’

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 5 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Red Dragon is a captivating Japanese maple, especially known for its lacy leaves that resemble the silhouette of a dragon. The leaves are a rich burgundy on top, with the underside being a striking red or red-orange. When the breeze catches them, they flutter, creating a dynamic bicolor effect.

This maple is of a dwarf size, growing up to 5 feet both in height and width. Its abundance of leaves and slender young branches naturally form a weeping effect. There’s no need for frequent pruning as its annual growth is quite modest.

Viridis Japanese Maple

weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Viridis

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 7 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Viridis stands out as a captivating cutleaf Japanese maple, starting the season with light green leaves that intensify in color as summer approaches. In autumn, the foliage transitions to yellow and then to a vivid orange before falling.

Planting Viridis alongside a red Japanese maple creates a dynamic and changing color display throughout the seasons.

Size-wise, Viridis is a dwarf maple, not growing taller than 5 feet and spreading to about 7 feet wide. It has a broad shape and starts branching out early in its life. The weeping effect is more pronounced when grafted onto a high rootstock, enhancing its visual appeal.

Garnet Japanese Maple

weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Garnet

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 6 ft
  • Zones: 6-8

Garnet is a compact Japanese maple, reaching up to 5 feet in height and 6 feet in width. This small size makes it perfect for container planting or small gardens. It features an umbrella-like, weeping growth pattern.

The leaves of Garnet start off a bright red when young, gradually darkening to a burgundy hue as they mature. Like other Japanese maples, its leaves are deeply dissected into several lobes.

Red Select Japanese Maple

dwaf weeping japanese maple

Acer Palmatum ‘Red Select’

  • Height: 4-5 ft
  • Width: 6-7 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Red Select is another remarkable Japanese weeping maple, often mistaken for Inaba Shidare, yet they are distinct varieties. Red Select is a seedling derivative of Inaba Shidare, characterized by smaller leaves than its parent.

The leaves of Red Select are a vivid red, maturing with a subtle cherry tint. Come autumn, they transform into a fiery red once again.

Red Select falls into the dwarf maple category. After 10-15 years, it typically reaches a height of 4-5 feet and a width of 6-7 feet. As it matures, its branches start to extend sideways and sag under the weight of its plentiful leaves.

Red Filigree Japanese Maple

dwaf weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Red Filigree

  • Height: 3-4 ft
  • Width: 3-4 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Red Filigree, an Italian selection, is a unique Japanese maple known for its exceptionally small and thin leaves. This trait sets it apart, as very few Japanese maple varieties feature such delicate foliage.

The color of Red Filigree’s foliage is a steady burgundy, maintaining this hue consistently from spring through fall. Its standout feature is its ability to thrive in deep shade without any detriment to its leaf color or shape, making it arguably the best dwarf weeping Japanese maple for shaded areas.

Victoria’s Red Sensation Japanese Maple

dwaf weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Victoria’s Red Sensation

  • Height: 4 ft
  • Width: 5 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Victoria’s Red Sensation Japanese maple is known for its vibrant red young leaves in spring, which is reflected in its name. By July, the leaves transition to a greenish-brown, and then they return to a bright red in the fall. This shifting color palette adds a dynamic quality to the maple.

When fully mature, Victoria’s Red Sensation reaches about four feet in height and five feet in width. It has an umbrella-like shape with branches that cascade gracefully.

The young branches are green, which contrasts beautifully with the bright red young foliage. The weeping effect becomes more pronounced after 5-6 years of growth.

Ever Red Japanese Maple

dwaf weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Ever Red

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 6 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Ever Red is a delightful dwarf weeping Japanese maple, distinguished by its bright red leaves that persist from spring through fall. In midsummer, the foliage may shift to a greenish-red tint, but overall, it retains its vibrant color well.

When it reaches ten years old, it typically stands at 5 feet tall and spans 6 feet wide. Its crown is mushroom-shaped and cascades beautifully, and it doesn’t require pruning. Its compact size also makes it well-suited for container gardening.

Octopus Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum Octopus

  • Height: 4 ft
  • Width: 6 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

The Octopus Japanese Maple is known for its striking red young leaves, a color that it maintains well. In summer, the foliage might pale slightly, but it returns to a vivid red in the fall.

Octopus is a compact variety, growing to about 4 feet in height and 6 feet or more in width. With time, it can become twice as wide as it is tall. It has a broad, umbrella-shaped crown, from which branches laden with dissected leaves cascade down.

Chika Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum Chika

  • Height: 8 ft
  • Width: 6 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Chika, a lovely variety hailing from Japan, is part of the green weeping Japanese maples group. In spring, its leaves burst into a vivid green, gradually darkening and becoming slightly less bright as summer progresses. However, Chika truly shines in autumn when its leaves transition to a stunning yellow-orange hue.

This maple can grow to about 8 feet in height and 6 feet in width, classifying it as a semi-dwarf variety. It’s well-suited for small gardens, and if it grows larger than desired, pruning can effectively manage its size. The main limitation is that it’s challenging to

Shojo Shidare Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum Shojo Shidare

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 7 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Shojo Shidare is a stunning weeping maple originating from Japan, renowned for its exceptionally bright red leaves. This vivid color is maintained throughout the year, with mature leaves darkening slightly but still retaining a striking red hue.

This variety is compact, with a width that often surpasses its height. Its cascading and weeping characteristics are pronounced. If you prefer a different size or shape, Shojo Shidare responds well to pruning.

It thrives in both sunny and partially shaded environments and is recommended for zones 5-9. Shojo Shidare is adaptable to most soil types. However, in heavy clay soils, proper drainage is crucial to prevent water stagnation.

Fireball Japanese Maple

fireball japanese maple

Fireball Japanese Maple

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 5 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Fireball is a remarkable dwarf Japanese maple, aptly named for its distinct shape and color.

Its equal height and width lend Fireball a spherical shape, and its bright scarlet leaves create the appearance of a fiery orb.

As the seasons change, the leaves darken to a maroon shade, but this phase is brief. Come fall, the leaves revert to a vibrant hue, maintaining the tree’s eye-catching appearance.

Karasu Gawa Japanese Maple

karasugawa japanese maple

Karasugawa Japanese Maple

  • Height: 10 ft
  • Width: 10 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

I recommend considering Karasu Gawa for its stunning variegation, which, along with its small stature, can make it a standout feature in your garden.

At the start of the season, the leaves of this variety are pink with green spots. As the season progresses, the pink transitions to a creamy white, beautifully contrasted with dark green spots. Interestingly, some leaves may retain their pink color throughout the season. In fall, Karasu Gawa transforms again, this time lighting up with shades of red.

Jeddeloh Orange Japanese Maple

jeddeloh orange japanese maple

Jeddeloh Orange Japanese Maple

  • Height: 5 ft
  • Width: 8 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Jeddeloh Orange is a captivating Japanese maple, notable for its finely lobed leaves. Each lobe features a bright red edge contrasting sharply with a vibrant green center, creating a mesmerizing visual effect.

During midsummer, the maple shifts to a more greenish hue, yet it retains its striking beauty. As autumn arrives, the leaves transform into a fiery orange, adding yet another layer of visual appeal to this already stunning variety.

Summer Gold Japanese Maple

summer gold japanese maple

Summer Gold Japanese Maple

  • Height: 8 ft
  • Width: 8 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Summer Gold is a Japanese maple variety that truly lives up to its name. Its golden yellow leaves maintain their stunning appearance throughout the growing season, with the color deepening and becoming richer over time.

A remarkable aspect of this maple is its resistance to leaf burn in the strong afternoon sun, a common issue with many yellow-leaved maples when grown in full sun. As autumn approaches, the leaves transition to an eye-catching orange-red, making for a spectacular display.

Ryusen Japanese Maple

ryusen japanese maple

Ryusen Japanese Maple

  • Height: 12 ft
  • Width: 12 ft
  • Zones: 5-9

Ryusen is a distinctive dwarf weeping Japanese maple known for its highly pendulous branches.

This variety offers great versatility in shaping, as you can direct its branches upwards or horizontally, leaving plenty of room for creative landscaping.

The leaves of Ryusen are a vivid green that shifts to orange as the year draws to a close. Remarkably, the leaves maintain their color even when the tree is planted in full sun, resisting the fading that can occur in other varieties under similar conditions.

Yogesh

Saturday 10th of June 2023

Hi, Dwarf Japanese maple varieties are enchanting gems in the world of landscaping. Their compact size and graceful forms make them perfect for smaller gardens, patio containers, or even bonsai cultivation. These diminutive beauties may be small in stature, but they make a big impact with their intricate foliage and vibrant colors. From the delicate leaves of 'Sharp's Pygmy' to the cascading branches of 'Shishigashira,' each dwarf cultivar offers its own unique charm. Thank you for shedding light on these captivating varieties. They bring a touch of elegance to any space and prove that beauty knows no bounds, regardless of size.