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Tamukeyama Japanese Maple vs Crimson Queen: What’s The Difference?

In recent years, the diversity of ornamental plants has grown significantly. Breeders annually introduce a plethora of new cultivars, often making it challenging to distinguish between them.

A key distinction between the Japanese Maple Tamukeyama and the Crimson Queen Japanese Maple lies in their leaf colors. Tamukeyama boasts vivid burgundy-red leaves, in contrast to the terracotta red leaves of the Crimson Queen. Additionally, the Crimson Queen tends to be marginally larger than Tamukeyama.

Japanese Maple Tamukeyama vs Crimson Queen

Japanese Maple Tamukeyama and Crimson Queen

Tamukeyama Crimson Queen
Hardiness zone 5-9 5-9
Mature height 4-5′ (1.2-1.5m) 8-10′ (2.4-3.0 m)
Mature width 6-7′ (1.8-2.1m) 10-12′ (3.0-3.6 m)
Growth rate slow fast
Light exposure partial shade, full sun partial shade, full sun
Soil drained drained
Soil pH 5.9-6.5 5.8-6.8
Watering One time per week in a drought One time per week in a drought
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects insects

The color is different

The primary distinction between these two plant varieties is their coloration.

In spring, the Tamukeyama displays a unique wine-colored, burgundy-red foliage that remains impressively vibrant throughout the summer and maintains its saturation into autumn.

Autumn brings a transformation in Tamukeyama, turning its leaves to a striking scarlet red, adding to its appeal. This seasonal color shift is always a captivating spectacle.

Conversely, the Crimson Queen showcases a deep crimson-red hue in spring. This color remains relatively constant throughout the summer and, similar to its counterpart, turns scarlet red in autumn.

While the Crimson Queen’s coloration is attractive, it doesn’t quite match the rich intensity found in the Tamukeyama.

Tamukeyama is smaller

Tamukeyama generally exhibits a more compact size compared to Crimson Queen. After a decade, it typically attains a height of about 5 feet and a spread of around 7 feet. Characterized by an umbrella shape, Tamukeyama expands more horizontally than vertically. Its drooping branches contribute to a distinctive weeping appearance.

In contrast, the Crimson Queen can reach up to 8 feet tall and spread out to 10 feet wide over the same ten-year period. Similar to Tamukeyama, it also features an umbrella-like form with weeping branches.

It’s important to note that the growth of both varieties is influenced by their environmental conditions. Adequate sunlight, water, and fertilizer can significantly accelerate their growth.

Leaf Shape

The leaves of Tamukeyama are deeply dissected, giving them a lace-like appearance. This fine texture adds a delicate aesthetic to the landscape. Crimson Queen also has finely dissected leaves, but they tend to be slightly broader than those of the Tamukeyama.

Sun Tolerance

Tamukeyama has excellent sun tolerance: it retains its color well even in bright sun, although it does prefer some afternoon shade in hotter climates.

Although Crimson Queen can tolerate some sunlight, it is less sunlight tolerant than Tamukeyama and is better suited to semi-shade to prevent leaf scorch.


  1. Maples require ample sunlight to develop vibrant colors.
  2. It’s crucial to maintain consistent moisture for maples. Ensure the soil doesn’t dry out beyond a depth of 2 inches.
  3. The soil should be fertile and have good drainage. Incorporate organic matter, like compost, into the planting hole, mixing it with the existing soil.
  4. Apply organic mulch around the base of the maple. Suitable materials include pine bark or compost. Aim for a mulch layer of 1-2 inches thick, but avoid mulching directly against the trunk, leaving a gap of about 1 inch.
  5. Annual treatments with fungicides and pesticides are advisable for these maples. Pests and diseases can harm ornamental plants, so proactive measures are key for protection.
  6. Fertilize with a slow-release mineral fertilizer annually in spring.
  7. Prune any lateral or vertical branches that extend beyond the desired shape or size of the tree.


Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple

Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple is a top alternative. Its columnar shape is a benefit, as it occupies less garden space.

This variety boasts a striking red-burgundy foliage that persists until autumn. Its leaves, divided into five lobes, are robust and cover a larger area, giving the plant a fuller appearance.

Red Spider Japanese Maple

Another excellent option is the Red Spider Japanese Maple. This variety grows to about 10 feet in both height and width at maturity.

The Red Spider’s leaves are elegant, with a light red hue that turns to reddish-brown in autumn. Though it lacks a weeping form, this maple remains highly decorative and competes well with Tamukeyama and Crimson Queen.

Baby Lace Japanese Maple

For those who prefer smaller plants, Baby Lace Japanese Maple is an ideal choice. At ten years old, it reaches only 1-2 feet in height and about 4 feet in width.

The leaves of Baby Lace are small, intricately decorative, and change from burgundy-red to orange-pink throughout the year. This variety is perfect for a compact garden space featuring stones and a waterfall, though it does require specific care and growing conditions.


In summary, while both the Tamukeyama and Crimson Queen Japanese Maples are renowned for their striking red foliage and ornamental value, the Tamukeyama is distinguished by its deeper red color, weeping growth habit, and sun tolerance, whereas the Crimson Queen is characterized by its softer red leaves, more compact form, and preference for more shaded environments.