Japanese maples are renowned for their distinctive sharply divided leaves and vibrant colors. Today, we’re comparing two varieties: Fireglow and Bloodgood.
Bloodgood stands tall at 20 feet, twice the height of Fireglow, and is characterized by its deep burgundy-red foliage. In contrast, Fireglow reaches a modest 10 feet and boasts scarlet-red shiny foliage, uniquely accented with orange undersides.
|Mature height||20-25 ft (6-7.5m)||8-10 ft (2.4-3m)|
|Mature width||20-25 ft (6-7.5m)||8-10 ft (2.4-3m)|
|Light exposure||full sun, partial shade||full sun, partial shade|
|Soil||moist, drained||moist, drained|
|Watering||One time per week in a drought||One time per week in a drought|
|Pests||insects, mites||insects, mites|
Bloodgood’s color is darker
The Bloodgood variety starts with dark red-burgundy leaves when they first appear, which lighten slightly as they open but maintain their burgundy hue. This color persists throughout the summer until fall.
Fireglow, on the other hand, sports scarlet leaves, varying in intensity from lighter to darker shades. Generally, its leaves are red, contrasting with Bloodgood’s red-burgundy or reddish-purple.
Fireglow’s leaves stand out due to their slight shininess and partial transparency, which creates a stunning effect in sunlight. Moreover, the underside of Fireglow leaves is orange and also has a subtle sheen, adding to the variety’s appeal.
Both varieties are resilient, maintaining their color well and resisting sunburn even under full sun. However, their vibrancy diminishes in shade, with colors turning less saturated and potentially reddish-green.
For these maples to truly flourish and display their unique colors, they require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Fireglow is smaller
Fireglow is notably more compact than Bloodgood. After a decade, Fireglow typically reaches 8-10 feet in both height and width, growing at a rate of 0.5-1 feet annually. This makes it an ideal choice for smaller spaces.
In contrast, Bloodgood grows larger, reaching 15-20 feet in height and about the same or slightly more in width after ten years, with an annual growth exceeding one foot. Due to its size, Bloodgood is less suitable for smaller yards, as a tree of this width also needs additional space for adequate sunlight exposure and proper air circulation.
While pruning can help manage the size of these maples, those with limited space or a preference for smaller plants might find Fireglow a more convenient option, requiring less intervention to enjoy its natural beauty.
The shape is a little different
Fireglow Japanese Maple typically has a more upright and compact growth habit. This variety is known for its well-branched structure, creating a balanced and somewhat rounded canopy as it matures.
The branches of Fireglow tend to grow more upright, giving it a vase-like shape, especially when young. As the tree ages, the canopy can become more rounded, but it maintains a relatively neat and tidy appearance.
The Bloodgood variety tends to have a more expansive and slightly irregular shape compared to Fireglow. It grows into a larger tree with a broad canopy.
Bloodgood’s branches spread wider and can create a more domed or umbrella-like canopy as the tree matures. This spreading habit contributes to its imposing presence in a landscape.
The leaves of Fireglow have a glossy texture, which enhances their luminous quality. This shininess makes the foliage stand out, particularly in contrast to more matte-finished plants.
The leaves are palmate, with five to seven lobes, typical of Japanese maples. The lobes are finely pointed, creating an elegant and delicate appearance. They are moderately sized, contributing to the tree’s overall compact and neat appearance.
Bloodgood leaves have a more subtle texture compared to Fireglow, with a less glossy finish. This gives the tree a more understated elegance.
Similar to Fireglow, Bloodgood’s leaves are also palmate with five to seven lobes. However, the lobes are slightly broader and the points less pronounced, giving the leaves a fuller appearance.
The leaves on a Bloodgood are typically larger than those of Fireglow, contributing to the tree’s overall bolder and more robust look.
Popularity and Availability
Bloodgood, a well-established variety, traces its origins to the United States, specifically New York. It is a descendant of Acer palmatum Atropurpureum and was named after its creator’s surname, aptly reflecting the maple’s distinct appearance. However, its popularity and widespread use have led many gardeners to seek more unique alternatives.
In contrast, Fireglow made its way to the United States from Europe, initially cultivated in the Fratelli Gilardelli Nursery in Milan, Italy. It wasn’t until the late 1970s, when Dutch nurseries began promoting it, that Fireglow gained significant popularity, earning its fiery name and distinguishing itself in the gardening world.