Weeping Japanese Maples are delightful plants because of their crown shape and leaves. In this article you will find the best varieties of these trees.
Germaine’s Gyration Japanese Maple
The Germaine’s Gyration Japanese maple tree is a true wonder of nature. Its pendulous dissectum and twisting growth habit give rise to intricate spirals that are further emphasized by its lateral branching. This makes it a truly unique and mesmerizing addition to any garden.
One of the standout features of ‘Germaine’s Gyration’ is its larger-than-average leaves, which can reach heights of up to 10 feet and widths of up to 15 feet within just two decades. The tree’s light green color in early spring is a refreshing sight, while its bright yellow and orange hues in autumn create a spectacular display of natural beauty.
The tree is named after Germaine Iseli, a renowned expert on Japanese maples, and has also been called “Contorta” due to its distinct contorting habit. It is one of the fastest-growing cascading laceleaf types, making it an ideal choice for those who want a large specimen tree as a focal point in their garden.
Overall, ‘Germaine’s Gyration’ is a true masterpiece of nature, with its stunning twisting growth habit, larger leaves, and vibrant seasonal colors. It is a must-have for any gardener looking to add a touch of unique and captivating beauty to their landscape.
Crimson Queen Japanese Maple
Crimson Queen, a diminutive American cultivar, was developed in a New Jersey nursery. Mature trees usually grow no taller than 4 feet with a spread of 5-6 feet after a decade.
From a young age, this tree produces an abundance of lateral branches that tend to droop. Thus, if you’re looking for a rapidly cascading Japanese maple, Crimson Queen is the top choice.
This variety also boasts long-lasting leaf color throughout the growing season, with foliage tinted a dark red or maroon hue. Unlike other cultivars, Crimson Queen undergoes minimal leaf color change.
Although this cultivar can be grown in zones 5-9, it is not suited to full sun exposure. The best planting location is in partial sun, as exposure to full sun can cause the leaves to turn pale. Crimson Queen is an excellent option for shady areas, but full shade is not recommended.
Golden Falls Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum ‘Golden Falls’ is a truly unique and exquisite variety of Japanese maple tree. It was discovered as a seedling of the Acer palmatum ‘Ryusei’, and like its parent, boasts a strong weeping habit. What sets ‘Golden Falls’ apart from other weeping Japanese maples is its palmate leaves, making it a rare and sought-after addition to any garden.
This versatile tree can be staked to the desired height and allowed to cascade downwards, or even grown as a ground cover, providing a stunning and dramatic effect in any landscape.
‘Golden Falls’ is known for its long-lasting, golden orange spring and early summer color, which is truly breathtaking to behold. Its summer coloration leans more towards yellow-green, creating a soothing and refreshing atmosphere in any garden. As autumn approaches, the tree transforms once again, displaying a stunning array of colors, ranging from orange to red and yellow.
It’s worth noting that ‘Golden Falls’ requires protection from the hot afternoon sun, so make sure to provide it with the necessary shade and shelter to thrive.
Garnet Japanese Maple
Garnet, a small Japanese maple, has an umbrella-shaped and weeping growth habit that can reach up to 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It is an excellent option for both container and small garden cultivation.
The young leaves of Garnet are a bright red color that deepens to burgundy as they mature. Like other Japanese maples, Garnet leaves are deeply divided into multiple lobes.
This cultivar grows well in garden zones 5 to 9 and in containers in zones 6 to 8. It prefers some shade in southern regions but can tolerate full sun exposure in the north.
Rikuzen Shidare Japanese Maple
Acer amoenum ‘Rikuzen Shidare’ is a stunning Japanese maple selection, prized for its large, green leaves and unique weeping habit. Unlike other Japanese maples with large leaves, ‘Rikuzen Shidare’ features an extremely weeping habit that sets it apart from the rest.
The original tree from which this selection was made stood at a temple in the Rikuzen province of Japan. Sadly, it was destroyed in 2011 by a devastating tsunami. Fortunately, nurserymen had grafted this remarkable tree, ensuring that it would not be lost forever.
Unlike ‘Ryusen’, another weeping Japanese maple variety, ‘Rikuzen Shidare’ has leaves similar in size to ‘Osakazuki’. However, instead of turning red in the fall, ‘Rikuzen Shidare’ transforms into a bright and beautiful shade of yellow, creating a spectacular display in any garden.
Interestingly, Japanese maples with yellow fall color are highly prized for making fried maple leaves, known as momiji tempura. According to expert Setsuko Hisakuni, the large-leaved Japanese maples with yellow fall color are the best for this purpose, as the red fall color can create a bitter taste. While growing a large green Japanese maple with yellow fall color may be challenging for some, the smaller weeping habit of ‘Rikuzen Shidare’ allows anyone to enjoy the same stunning beauty in a smaller container.
Inaba Shidare Japanese Maple
Inaba Shidare stands out among Japanese maples as one of the most distinctive cultivars. Its leaves are divided into 5-7 lobes with intricate incisions, creating a highly patterned appearance.
The young leaves of this maple are a vivid red color that fades to burgundy by midsummer. As fall approaches, the leaves transition to a greenish-red hue before ultimately turning bright red.
This dwarf maple typically reaches a maximum height and spread of less than 5 feet and 6 feet, respectively. As it grows, it develops a mushroom-shaped crown, and its branches eventually droop under the weight of its leaves.
Inaba Shidare is a hardy maple that thrives in garden zones 5 to 9 and can tolerate full sun exposure. It also grows well in containers.
Green Spider Japanese Maple
The ‘Green Spider’ Japanese maple is an exceptional choice for any garden, with its captivating weeping habit and stunning chartreuse green dissected leaves. As the seasons change, ‘Green Spider’ continues to impress with its vibrant oranges and reds in the fall. This smaller cultivar is ideal for those looking to add a pop of color to smaller spaces, as it typically reaches a maximum height and width of 4-5 ft over a period of 15 years. Its unique, spider-like appearance adds an intriguing focal point to any garden, making it a must-have for any maple enthusiast.
Orangeola Japanese Maple
Orangeola is one of the smallest Japanese maples, reaching a height of up to 5 feet and a width of 4 feet. Its pyramidal growth habit distinguishes it from most other varieties, as it is not umbrella-shaped. As the tree grows, its branches curve down toward the ground, producing a weeping effect.
The leaves of Orangeola are thin and delicate, with a lacy appearance. They start out bright red but gradually shift to orange as they mature. The fully developed leaves are greenish-orange in color. The tree continues to produce new foliage throughout the season, resulting in a striking combination of three different leaf colors.
Orangeola is well-suited for growth in most parts of the United States, thriving in zones 5 to 9. Although it can tolerate full sun exposure, some shade may be necessary in zone 9.
Lemon Chiffon Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum ‘Lemon Chiffon’ is a standout lace leaf variety of Japanese maple, with stunning bright yellow spring leaves that are unmatched by any other variety. As the season progress, the leaves gradually darken to a distinct chartreuse green, creating a striking contrast against the muted greens commonly seen in summer.
In autumn, ‘Lemon Chiffon’ puts on another show with its bright yellow to orange foliage. This cultivar boasts a low, spreading habit, making it perfect for ground cover or as an understory planting. With a mature height of 3-5 feet and width of 4-6 feet after 10 years, ‘Lemon Chiffon’ is a fantastic choice for those looking to add a splash of vibrant color to their garden.
Red Dragon Japanese Maple
Red Dragon is a captivating Japanese maple with intricately shaped lace leaves that form a silhouette resembling a dragon. The leaves are burgundy in color, with the lower part being a striking bright red or red-orange, and sway gracefully to produce a bicolor effect even with the slightest breeze.
This maple is classified as dwarf, reaching a height and width of only 5 feet. The abundance of leaves and delicate young branches gives the tree a weeping effect, eliminating the need for frequent pruning.
Red Dragon can thrive in zones 5-9 when grown in full sun. However, in zone 9, it requires some shade as excessive sunlight can cause the leaves to lose their vibrant color.
Octopus Japanese Maple
Octopus is a fast-growing Japanese maple with a unique and fascinating appearance. Its long, sinewy shoots arch and twist like tentacles, which gives the tree its name. In spring, Octopus flushes out with stunning pink-red foliage that transforms into a deep purple-red as the season progresses.
Octopus is hardy to Zone 5 and can reach a height of about 8 feet in ten years. Its lace-like leaves drape elegantly from the branches, creating a cascading effect that adds a touch of drama and grace to any landscape. Come fall, the leaves turn a fiery shade of red, adding to the tree’s already impressive visual impact.
Red Filigree Japanese Maple
Red Filigree is an Italian-bred Japanese maple with unique, small, and delicate leaves. This variety stands out for its burgundy color that remains consistent throughout the season, and it can grow in deep shade without affecting the leaves’ color or shape.
Being one of the most miniature Japanese maples, Red Filigree usually grows up to 3-4 feet in height and width after 10 years of cultivation. It thrives in zones 5-9 and does best in shade or partial sun. Due to its ability to grow in deep shade, it is considered the best dwarf weeping Japanese maple for shade.
Ornatum Japanese Maple
Ornatum is a unique and stunning lace-leaf Japanese maple variety that is sure to impress. Its bronze-red spring foliage is unlike any other dissectum, providing a beautiful contrast against the lime-green bark. This coloration persists throughout the summer, adding interest to your garden.
Ornatum grows into a mounded shape and typically reaches a mature height of around 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide. In the fall, the foliage takes on a brilliant crimson-red hue, making it a true standout. Ornatum prefers a sunny to a partly shaded location in your garden.
Red Select Japanese Maple
Red Select, a Japanese weeping maple, is an exceptional cultivar often mistaken for Inaba Shidare despite being a distinct variety. This maple is a seedling of Inaba Shidare and features smaller leaves than its parent plant. The leaves of Red Select are a bright red color and acquire a subtle cherry hue at maturity. During fall, the leaves transform into a fiery red shade.
With its size, Red Select can be categorized as a dwarf maple, as it does not exceed 4-5 feet in height and 6-7 feet in width after 10-15 years of growth. As time passes, the branches start to sprawl sideways and droop under the weight of its many leaves.
Red Select is highly adaptable to the climate of zones 5-9 and can thrive in both full sun and semi-shade. It is easy to cultivate in a garden or a pot and doesn’t require excessive watering. However, it cannot be considered drought tolerant.
Sekimori Japanese Maple
‘Sekimori’ is a stunning and eye-catching green Japanese maple with a weeping, cascading growth habit that highlights the trunk and adds visual appeal to any landscape. Its early spring foliage is a vibrant shade of green that stands out against other trees, while the summer foliage remains lush and showy. At dusk, the tree seems to glow with neon green hues, making it a beautiful addition to any garden.
In the fall, ‘Sekimori’ puts on a breathtaking display of bright golden-yellows that are unmatched by any other green dissectum variety. The tree’s growth habit is slightly wider than it is tall, reaching a height of 8-10 feet over time. It thrives in both sun and shade and can even be grown in containers, making it a versatile choice for any gardener.
Due to its rarity and beauty, ‘Sekimori’ is highly sought after by maple collectors and is sure to be a prized addition to any landscape.
Ryusen Japanese Maple
Ryusen is a truly distinctive variety of dwarf weeping Japanese maple. Its branches have a tendency to cascade down in a graceful manner, creating a unique and eye-catching appearance.
With a bit of creativity, you can easily shape Ryusen to your desired design by pointing the branches upwards or parallel to the ground. The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing this exceptional maple.
The leaves of Ryusen are a striking shade of bright green that transforms into a lovely orange hue at the end of the year. Remarkably, the leaves maintain their color even if planted in full sun, making this maple a great addition to any sunny garden.
Ryusen is also highly drought-tolerant, making it a perfect choice for those who live in areas with limited rainfall. Typically, it reaches a height of 12 feet after 10 years, but with regular pruning, you can easily control its size to suit your needs.
Spring Delight Japanese Maple
With its striking appearance, this laceleaf Japanese maple is sure to add a touch of drama to any landscape. In the spring, the leaves emerge as a vivid yellow-green, accented by striking cranberry-red tips on the leaf lobes. As the season progresses, the color deepens to a lush green, maintaining its bold and vigorous appearance. Its pendulous habit is similar to that of Viridis, creating a graceful and flowing silhouette that sways gently in the breeze.
Come fall, this laceleaf Japanese maple puts on a final show, as its leaves turn a vibrant orange, bringing a pop of color to the autumn landscape. With its vigorous growth and stunning appearance, this variety is a great addition to any garden or landscape.
Shojo Shidare Japanese Maple
Originating from Japan, Shojo Shidare is a stunning weeping maple that is known for its strikingly bright red leaves. This unique feature makes it stand out among other maples, as the color remains vibrant throughout the year, with mature leaves slightly darker but still very vivid.
Shojo Shidare is a compact variety, with a wider spread than height, allowing its cascading and weeping branches to express themselves beautifully. Additionally, if you’re looking to manage its size, Shojo Shidare is easily pruned to your desired shape and size.
This variety thrives in both full sun and partial shade, making it suitable for cultivation in zones 5-9. While it tolerates most soils, it’s important to note that heavy clay soil requires good drainage to prevent water stagnation.
Overall, Shojo Shidare is a gorgeous and versatile weeping maple that is sure to enhance the aesthetic appeal of any garden or landscape.
Stella Rossa Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum ‘Stella Rossa’ is a stunning weeping Japanese maple that features delicate and graceful foliage. Its habit is pendulous, and it thrives in partial shade in hotter climates.
In early spring, the leaves of ‘Stella Rossa’ emerge in a bright red color, which it holds well into the summer months before gradually turning into darker shades of red and burgundy. In warmer regions, it may turn bronze by September but never entirely green like other red maples.
Compared to other cultivars, ‘Stella Rossa’ maintains its bright red color better in the Southeast. Its fall color is a spectacular bright red with orange undertones.
This cultivar is relatively slower-growing than other dissectums and can reach a height of 3-5 feet and a width of 5-7 feet in ten years. It prefers well-drained, elevated soil and partial sun exposure. Overall, ‘Stella Rossa’ is an excellent addition to any landscape, and its striking red foliage makes it a standout choice.
Tamukeyama Japanese Maple
Tamukeyama is a charming and compact Japanese maple variety, with delicate and intricate lacy leaves. One of its most notable characteristics is the long lobes of each leaf, which contribute to the weeping effect of the tree as they droop gracefully downwards.
After 10 years, Tamukeyama reaches a height of over 5 feet, with a width of 7 feet. Its umbrella-shaped crown and cascading branches make it a dense and full tree, with an abundance of leaves that almost hide the thick branches during spring, summer, and fall.
The leaves of Tamukeyama are a striking dark red color, a unique feature that distinguishes it from other Japanese maples. While the color does not change to bright red in either spring or fall, it does transition from dark red to dark maroon throughout the season.
This variety of Japanese maple has remarkable cold and heat tolerance and is suitable for cultivation in zones 5-9. In fact, it is particularly well-suited for full sun exposure, making it an excellent choice for gardens or landscapes that receive ample sunlight.
Washi-no-o Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum ‘Washi-no-o’ is a unique and distinctive green laceleaf Japanese maple. Its leaves have a slightly coarser texture than other dissectums, and the lobes are cut more regularly and less deeply, creating an interesting and unusual look.
This shrub-like tree can tolerate more sun than most green laceleaf varieties, although some shade is still recommended. In the fall, the tree puts on a spectacular show of bright yellow foliage, although in sunnier locations, the yellow may be mixed with orange.
‘Washi-no-o’ is a relatively small maple, with a 10-year size of about 3-4 feet in height and 5-7 feet in width. It is best planted in elevated, well-drained soil.
Viridis Japanese Maple
Viridis is a stunning cut-leaf variety of Japanese maple with delicate and finely divided light green leaves. As summer approaches, the color of the leaves intensifies, creating a beautiful contrast against the other greens in the garden. In autumn, the leaves first turn yellow before transitioning to a vibrant orange before falling.
Planting Viridis alongside a red Japanese maple is an excellent way to create a dynamic display of colors throughout the season, as the contrasting colors complement each other beautifully.
This maple is considered a dwarf variety, as it typically does not exceed a height of 5 feet and a width of 7 feet. It has a broad shape and begins branching out at an early age. For optimal effect, it is recommended to graft Viridis onto a high rootstock, as this accentuates the weeping nature of the tree.
Viridis is remarkably tolerant of various climates across the United States and does not require any special care beyond that of typical Japanese maples. Its delicate leaves and beautiful colors make it a highly sought-after addition to any garden or landscape.
Waterfall Japanese Maple
Waterfall is a unique dwarf weeping green Japanese maple that boasts beautiful leaves throughout the year. When the leaves first emerge in spring, they are a light green color, but as they mature, the color deepens into a richer shade of green.
One of the most striking features of Waterfall is its spectacular autumn display. As the season progresses, the leaves turn a bright yellow before transitioning to a brilliant shade of orange.
Despite being one of the smallest weeping Japanese maples, Waterfall can grow up to 6 feet in width and 4 feet in height after several years. Its crown is umbrella-shaped and its branches will elongate and droop over time, creating a stunning cascading effect.
Waterfall is a hardy maple that can tolerate full sun or partial shade, and is suitable for growing in zones 5 to 8. However, it may not thrive in zone 9 due to excessive sunlight in that climate.