Japanese maples are showy varieties of maple trees that originated in Japan. These popular ornamental trees can grow well in many parts of the United States. Some varieties have the unusual property of being more showy in colder climates. Japanese maples do best in partial or full shade and with moist soils that drain well.
The Bloodgood Japanese maple is a cultivar that has a rounded shape and can grow to about 20 feet tall and wide. The leaves of this tree are red in the spring and summer, but can be a greenish red in warmer climates. The leaves turn a reddish purple in the fall and are considered less striking than on other Japanese maples. The Bloodgood Japanese maple is suitable for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Zone 5b through 8.
The coral bark maple, also known as Sango-kaku, has leaves that turn from a greenish red to a yellowish gold color in fall. The bark of this tree is green in summer, but turns a reddish coral in winter. As the temperature drops, the color becomes more intense, making this tree a striking winter point of visual interest. The Sango-kaku grows to a height between 20 and 25 feet and to a spread between 15 and 20 feet. This slow growing tree is suitable to USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 8.
The Tamukeyama variety of Japanese maple is a red leafed cutleaf maple variety that grows in a weeping style. The lacy leaves of this tree come in red in spring, but turn to a bronze burgundy in the fall and an orangish red in the fall. This tree will grow to around 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Tamukeyama Japanese maples are cold hardy down to USDA Hardiness Zone 5. Because of their rounded shape, these weeping trees are sometimes classified as large shrubs, instead of as small trees.
The Chiba Japanese maple is a small, globe shaped variety that grows very well in containers or as a small accent tree. The Chiba has very small leaves and only grows 4 to 6 inches per year. Many Chiba are kept as bonsai. Chibas are a green leafed Japanese maple and are one of the few that do well in full sun. Chiba are cold hardy down to USDA Hardiness Zone 5.