The Japanese red dragon maple grows faster than other Japanese maples. The red dragon can grow as much as a foot a year. A red-leafed weeping maple, this tree is showy and similar in some ways to a crimson queen, garnet or Tamukeyama. This tree has lacy, deeply lobed leaves that grow dense enough during the growing season to obscure the trunk and supporting leaves.
How Big Will It Get?
The Japanese red dragon maple will grow up to 12 feet tall and can sometimes reach 12 to 16 feet in diameter. You can limit this tree's growth by growing it in a container and pruning its roots and branches every two years. Red dragon maple will grow well as a bonsai. By planting outdoors in a pot and bringing the tree inside for the winter to prevent root freeze, you can limit your Japanese red dragon's growth and keep it as small as you like. The weeping nature of the tree will help to obscure the pot.
What About Leaf Colors?
New growth on the Japanese red dragon maple is usually cherry red. As the leaves age into summer, they will turn a bright burgundy. By fall, they will turn a showy bright red before the tree loses its leaves.
Where Will It Grow?
Japanese maples will grow outdoors in United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 6 through 8. The tree will grow in parts of most states in the U.S. Places where it will not grow are Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Vermont. It will grow in coastal Maine and in parts of all other states. It is not particular about soil types, as long as the soil drains well.
How Much Sun and Water Does It Need?
Japanese red dragon maples grow in a wide range of light conditions but can be susceptible to leaf burn in direct sun in warmer zones. In warmer areas, try to plant this tree so that it is shaded from the hot afternoon sun. This tree can be moderately drought-tolerant but does better with adequate water. Feel the soil. If it feels dry below about one-fourth to one-half inch, give your tree an inch or two of water.