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" 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.
Care For A Dwarf Japanese Maple Tree
Dwarf Japanese maple trees reach mature heights of as little as 6 feet tall. The dwarf varieties are cultivars created from the standard Japanese maple trees. Dwarf Japanese maples are an understory tree that will thrive in the filtered shade of taller, deciduous landscape trees. Plant dwarf Japanese maples in the spring as soon as the ground is thawed enough to dig. Dig out a planting hole twice as large as the root ball of the dwarf Japanese maple. Fill in around the root ball with the compost and soil mix. Water requirements vary depending on rain fall and planting location. If the Japanese maple is planted in windy areas or in full sun, check the moisture levels of the soil twice a week. Spread a layer of mulch 3 inches deep in a circular area between the trunk and the area under the tip of the branches. Use a slow release fertilizer and spread it over the area under the tree, keeping it 2 feet from the base of the trunk.
- East Texas Gardening: Japanese Maples for Glorious Fall Color
- Michigan State University Extension: Acer Palmatum
- Mississippi State University Extension: Japanese Maples Showing Fall Color
- Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories: Japanese Maples
- Gardening Pro: Japanese Maples
- Garden Central: Dwarf Japanese Maples