Dwarf Japanese Maple Varieties

Dwarf Japanese maples are ideal specimen trees for a small garden or yard. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) are hardy to USDA zones 5 through 8 and prefer to be planted in areas where they will get afternoon shade; the sun at the hottest part of the day can damage them. Whether you are looking to recreate a Japanese-themed garden or find an interesting tree for your yard, dwarf Japanese maples are available in a number of cultivars for a color and size that's right for your particular growing conditions.


"Shaina" is an award-winning variety that reaches to around 5 feet full grown. With two-toned red leaves and a dense, globe shape of foliage, Shaina is an excellent backdrop for an all-season garden. Leaves start out bright red in the spring, turn purple in summer and to a crimson-red in fall. Shaina is suitable for both container-growing and landscaping in zones 6 through 8.


"Viridis" is a weeping, bush-like dwarf Japanese maple that grows up to 10 feet tall. This green lace-leafed sweeper can also span out over 10 feet wide and is often used by landscapers to complement red-leafed Japanese maples. Hardy in zones 5 through 9, Viridis offers golden-yellow autumn foliage with a tint of red.

Ever Red

"Ever Red" is a taller dwarf variety that can top out at 10 feet tall but stays more compact than Viridis. Ever Red is a lace-leaf weeping tree that has a unique silver tint to new leaves. As its name suggests, Ever Red stays red through three seasons. Hardy from zones 5 to 9, it's popular along water features and used as a container plant.

Keywords: container trees, zen gardening, specimen trees

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.