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20 Dwarf Japanese Maple Varieties

The beautiful small leaves of the Japanese maple with deeply dissected lobes look fabulous evoking various associations. Thanks to the different colors of the leaves we have many different options. But what could be more unusual? A weeping Japanese maple!

With its unique foliage and weeping shape, you will have one of the most extraordinary plants in your garden. In this article, I have selected for you the 15 best dwarf weeping Japanese maples. I hope this information will help you choose the maple that is perfect for you.

Inaba Shidare Japanese Maple

dwarf japanese maple

Inaba Shidare is one of the most unique varieties among Japanese maples. Its leaves are divided into 5-7 lobes, but the lobes themselves have many cuts. All this makes the leaves very patterned.

As for color, the young leaves of this maple are bright red. In midsummer, the red color becomes less saturated and shifts to burgundy. Toward the fall, the leaves turn a greenish-red, and in the fall they turn bright red again.

It is a dwarf Japanese maple because it is usually less than 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Over time, this maple will form a mushroom-shaped crown and the young branches will sag to the ground under the weight of the leaves.

Inaba Shidare is a very hardy maple. It grows well from zone 5 to 9. And easily tolerates planting in full sun. Also grows well in containers.

Read also: Which Hydroponic System to Choose?

Tamukeyama Japanese Maple

dwarf japanese maple

Acer palmatum ‘Tamukeyama’

Tamukeyama is a dwarf variety of Japanese selection. It has very lacy leaves. Each lobe is very long, it has one of the longest lobes among Japanese maples. Because of this, the leaves are also very drooping, which enhances the weeping effect.

The height of this variety after 10 years is more than 5 feet and the width is 7 feet. The crown is umbrella-shaped, with branches cascading to the ground. The number of leaves is enormous, so this maple is very dense, and in spring, summer, and fall the thick branches are almost invisible.

The color of the leaves is dark red. Dark leaves are a distinctive feature of this variety. Neither in the spring nor the fall is it bright red. Throughout the season, the color changes from dark red to dark maroon.

Tamukeyama has excellent cold and heat tolerance. It is recommended for growing in zones 5-9. It is the most suitable variety for full sun.

Waterfall Japanese Maple

dwarf japanese maple

Acer palmatum ‘Waterfall’

Waterfall is the dwarf weeping green Japanese maple. In spring, when the leaves unfold, their color is light green, the more mature they become, the darker and richer the green color becomes.

In autumn the most interesting thing begins, the leaves turn bright yellow, then by the end of autumn they turn bright orange.

Waterfall is also one of the smallest weeping Japanese maples. It is no more than 4 feet tall after a dozen years, but it can reach 6 feet or more in width. Its crown is umbrella-shaped and more regular than the previous two varieties. Over time, the branches will become longer and droop downward.

This maple grows equally well in full sun and semi-shade. It grows best in zones 5 to 8 but is not recommended in zone 9 due to excess sunlight in this climate.

Orangeola Japanese Maple

dwarf japanese maple

Acer palmatum ‘Orangeola’

Orangeola is another one of the smallest Japanese maples. It grows up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It is more pyramidal than umbrella-shaped, which distinguishes it from most of the preceding varieties. As it reaches its maximum height, the branches will curve down toward the ground, creating a weeping effect.

The leaves have very thin lobes and look lacy. The leaves are bright red when young, but become orange over time. The mature leaves are greenish orange in color. Throughout the season, young foliage continues to appear.

The result is that you will always have three colors of foliage on the tree, which is simply gorgeous.

Orangeola is good for growing almost anywhere in the U.S. This variety is recommended for planting in zones 5 to 9. It will tolerate full sun but will need some shade in zone 9.

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple

weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’

Crimson Queen is a dwarf variety of American selection, bred in a nursery in the state of New Jersey. After 10 years of age, it is usually no more than 4 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide.

From a young age, this tree forms a large number of lateral branches that immediately begin to sag. So if you want a weeping Japanese maple quickly, the Crimson Queen is the best choice.

Another feature of this variety is that it retains its color well throughout the season. The color of the leaves is dark red or maroon. Crimson Queen, unlike other varieties, hardly changes the color of the leaves.

This variety is available for cultivation in zones 5-9. But it is contraindicated to full sun. The best planting location is the partial sun, as in full sun the leaves can become pale. Crimson Queen is the best maple if you have a lot of shade, but the total shade is not good for it either.

Red Dragon Japanese Maple

weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Red Dragon’

Red Dragon is a very interesting Japanese maple first of all because of its lace leaves, which resemble a dragon silhouette. Their color is burgundy, but the lower part is bright red or almost red-orange. During even a slight breeze, the leaves sway and produce a bicolor effect.

The size of this maple is dwarfed, growing up to 5 feet tall and wide. The multiple leaves and thin young branches give you a weeping effect. You don’t have to prune it because the annual growth isn’t that big.

Like most Japanese maples, this variety can be planted in zones 5-9 in full sun. In zone 9, you will need some shade because too much light will make the leaves lose their color.

Viridis Japanese Maple

weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Viridis

Viridis is another cutleaf Japanese maple. The color of its leaves is light green, but the closer it gets to summer, the more intense the color becomes. In the fall, the leaves first turn yellow, but before they fall, they are already bright orange.

If you plant this maple together with another red Japanese maple, you will get a dynamic change of colors throughout the season.

As for size, it is a dwarf maple because it does not grow taller than 5 feet and is no more than 7 feet wide. The shape of this variety is very broad and it begins to branch out at an early age. It looks best when grafted on a high rootstock, as the weeping is then more pronounced.

Tolerates almost all climates in the U.S. Does not require any different care than most Japanese maples.

Garnet Japanese Maple

weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Garnet

Garnet grows up to 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It is a small Japanese maple that is well suited for growing in both a container and a small garden. The growth habit is umbrella-shaped and weeping.

The color of the young leaves is bright red, the more mature the leaves become, the darker the color becomes while. The older leaves are burgundy in color. Like all Japanese maples, Garnet leaves are deeply dissected into several lobes.

Grows well from zone 5 to 9 in the garden. In containers, it does best in zones 6 to 8. It needs some shade in the southern states but grows well in full sun in the north.

Red Select Japanese Maple

dwaf weeping japanese maple

Acer Palmatum ‘Red Select’

Red Select is another excellent Japanese weeping maple. It is often confused with Inaba Shidare but they are actually two different varieties. Red Select is a seedling of Inaba Shidare. Red Select has smaller leaves than the parent variety.

The leaves of this maple are bright red in color and at maturity, the leaves have a slight cherry tint. In autumn, the leaves turn fiery red again.

Because of its size, Red Select can be classified as a dwarf maple. Its height after 10-15 years does not exceed 4-5 feet and its width does not exceed 6-7 feet. Over time, the branches begin to grow sideways and droop toward the ground under the weight of numerous leaves.

It tolerates the climate of zones 5-9 perfectly. It can be planted in full sun or semi-shade. It is easy to grow in the garden as well as in a pot. It does not need a lot of water, but it cannot be called drought tolerant.

Red Filigree Japanese Maple

dwaf weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Red Filigree

Red Filigree is a Japanese maple of Italian selection. It is a unique variety through its very small and very thin leaves. There are almost no Japanese maple varieties that have the same thin foliage.

As for color, Red Filigree has burgundy foliage and the color almost does not change from spring to fall. What makes this variety so distinctive is that it can grow in deep shade all day long without affecting the color or shape of the leaves.

That is why it can certainly be called the best dwarf weeping Japanese maple for shade.

It is also one of the most miniature Japanese maples. Its height and width usually do not exceed 3-4 feet after 10 years of cultivation. It grows well in zones 5-9 and as I mentioned the best planting location is shade or partial sun.

Victoria’s Red Sensation Japanese Maple

dwaf weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Victoria’s Red Sensation

Victoria’s Red Sensation has very bright red young leaves in the spring, hence its name. By July the leaves turn a greenish-brown and in the fall they turn bright red again. This contrast of colors makes this maple more dynamic.

Victoria’s Red Sensation is four feet tall and five feet wide at maturity. It is umbrella-shaped, with branches arranged in a cascade.

The young branches are green in color which looks good with the red young foliage. The weeping begins to show after 5-6 years of cultivation.

It withstands equally well the frosts of zone 5 and the heat of zone 9. The recommended planting place is full sun or semi-shade.

Ever Red Japanese Maple

dwaf weeping japanese maple

Acer palmatum Ever Red

Ever Red is another dwarf weeping Japanese maple. Its peculiarity is its bright red leaves from spring to fall. In midsummer, the foliage turns slightly greenish-red, but overall this maple retains its color well.

At ten years of age, it is 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. The crown shape is mushroom-shaped and cascading. Does not need pruning. Its compact size makes it ideal for growing in containers.

The excellent hardiness of this maple allows it to be grown in climate zone 5. Well tolerates the heat of zone 8-9. The best place for planting in full sun in the north and partial shade in the south.

In the first year after planting Ever Red needs regular watering, after it has taken root additional watering can be stopped.

Octopus Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum Octopus

Octopus Japanese Maple has very beautiful red young leaves. The color persists well. In summer, the foliage may be a little pale, but this maple will turn red again in the fall.

Octopus is compact in size. It reaches a height of 4 feet and a width of 6 feet or more. Later it can be twice as wide as it is tall. The crown is broad, umbrella-shaped, with branches falling from it with dissected leaves.

This variety can be grown in zones 5 to 9. In zones 8 and 9, if planted in full sun it may have pale leaves, so in hot climates, a semi-shaded planting is recommended. Also, mulching gives good results as the maple gets enough water to thrive.

Chika Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum Chika

Chika is a beautiful variety bred in Japan. It belongs to the green weeping Japanese maples. The color of the leaves is bright green in spring, becoming a little darker and less bright in summer. But the maple looks the most beautiful in autumn when the leaves are colored in yellow-orange color.

This maple can reach a height of 8 feet and a width of 6 feet. This means it is a semi-dwarf variety, but can still be easily grown in a small garden. If it exceeds the desired size it can easily be controlled by pruning. The only drawback is that it is difficult to grow in a pot.

The frost and heat resistance of Chika is the same as most of the maples on this list. All other care requirements are similar to most Japanese maples.

Shojo Shidare Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum Shojo Shidare

Shojo Shidare is a beautiful weeping maple that comes from Japan. Its peculiarity is its very bright red leaves, the color of which holds well throughout the year. The mature leaves are a bit darker but the red is still very vivid.

It is a compact variety, its width is greater than its height. Cascading and weeping are very well expressed. If you are not happy with the size, you can always cut it into shape, as it tolerates pruning very well.

Grows well in both sunny and partial shade. Recommended for cultivation in zones 5-9. It Tolerates most soils, but heavy clay soil, needs drainage to avoid stagnant water.

Fireball Japanese Maple

fireball japanese maple

Fireball Japanese Maple

Let me introduce you to an excellent dwarf Japanese maple called Fireball. It really is a fireball because of its shape and color.

It is about 5 feet tall and about the same width. This is the size you should expect after 10 to 15 years of growing. This means that the growth rate is slow and it can be grown in a very small space.

The same height and width give this maple a ball shape. At the same time, the bright scarlet leaves make the orb look fiery.

Over time, the leaves darken slightly and turn maroon. But this does not last long because in the fall the color changes back to a very vibrant one.

Karasu Gawa Japanese Maple

karasugawa japanese maple

Karasugawa Japanese Maple

The reason why I suggest you look at Karasu Gawa is its wonderful variegation. Besides its small size, you can have a really beautiful tree which can be a highlight of your garden.

The leaves of this variety are pink with green spots at the beginning of the season. Over time, the pink color changes to a creamy white combined with dark green spots. Some leaves may remain pink for the rest of the season. In the fall, this maple lights up with reds.

As for size, it can reach about 10 feet in width and height after many years of growth. However, by pruning you can get any size you want.

Jeddeloh Orange Japanese Maple

jeddeloh orange japanese maple

Jeddeloh Orange Japanese Maple

Jeddeloh Orange is an amazing Japanese maple with very fine lobes of leaves. The edge of each lobe is bright red and the center of the lobe is a vibrant green. This combination is very contrasting and looks mesmerizing.

In midsummer, this maple becomes a little more greenish but does not lose its beauty. In fall the leaves turn a fiery orange which is another advantage.

The shape of this maple is umbrella-shaped with a weeping effect. At maturity, it can reach a height of about 5 feet and a width of 8 feet. This is a wonderful variety for a small Japanese-style garden.

Summer Gold Japanese Maple

summer gold japanese maple

Summer Gold Japanese Maple

Summer Gold is a variety that fully justifies its name. It has golden yellow leaves that do not lose their beauty throughout the growing season. Moreover, over time, the color becomes even richer.

A distinctive feature of this maple is that its leaves do not burn in the afternoon sun. At the same time, most yellow-leaved maples get burned if they grow in full sun.

In the fall, the leaves turn orange-red and it’s quite a sight!

As for size, it is a compact variety that reaches 8 feet in both width and height. The crown shape is spherical or slightly upright.

Ryusen Japanese Maple

ryusen japanese maple

Ryusen Japanese Maple

Ryusen is a unique dwarf weeping Japanese maple. It has branches that tend to hang down very much.

You can make it into any shape by pointing the branches up or parallel to the ground. It’s really up to your imagination what you can do with this maple.

The color of the leaves is a bright green that turns orange at the end of the year. The leaves do not fade even if Ryusen is planted in full sun.

It is a very drought-tolerant maple. At 10 years of age, it usually does not exceed 12 feet. But you can easily control its size with annual pruning.


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.