Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acer (AY-ser) (Info)
Species: palmatum (pahl-MAY-tum) (Info)

Synonym:Acer palmatum subsp. palmatum
Synonym:Acer palmatum var. palmatum

» View all varieties of Japanese Maples

40 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Palmatum (deeply divided leaves)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
By grafting
By budding

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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4 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive rickc304 On May 13, 2012, rickc304 from Niles, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is an interesting large shrub or more often small tree. It does well in both sun and is also quite shade tolerant and care free here in NE Ohio with beautiful reddish foliage thrugh summer turning especially brialliant in autumn.

Neutral spiny1000 On Sep 15, 2008, spiny1000 from Lillestrm
Norway (Zone 5a) wrote:

This tree is one of the most beautiful trees in my garden, but winterhardiness is a problem in my area. Only trees in the most favorable situations will not be set back by frosts in my area. Especially the combination of late spring frosts and burning early sun may result in heavy stem damage. Light shade, and possibly some protections from conifers will protect the trees.
The pure species is more hardy than the cultivars, but may be too large a tree for smaller gardens. Of the japanese maples, Acer japonicum is a bit more hardy than the palmatum cultivars, especially A. japonicum aconitifolium has shown good hardiness.

Positive doss On May 7, 2005, doss from Stanford, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

A. Palmatum - or seedling Japanese Maple is probably the hardiest form of Japanese Maple. If your tree has a name, it's not a seedling Maple and has been grafted which means that it will be true-to-type. Seedlings are, as my Japanese Maple man says "Like Snowflakes". They can grow anywhere from 12 to 40 feet tall and be wider than tall, as wide as tall, dense or open and are most likely to take more sun and wind than the cultivars. Mine are self-sowing and seedlings emerge by themselves. I have three and they are all different but all are in full sun in zone 9. If you have not had success with Japanese Maples, and can find seedlings which are well identified and come from parents that meet your needs, this (these are) is the tree to try.

The flowers and the red seed pods in the spring are very attractive and this tree is less likely to experience leaf burn than most of the cultivars.

Positive pleb On Sep 1, 2003, pleb from Plymouth,
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Can be easily grown from seed. The seed needs to be pre-chilled by putting it in the fridge, in moist compost, for a couple of months before sowing. Check regularly because the seed will often germinate whilst in the fridge!!

Positive PurplePansies On Jul 19, 2003, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I garden in the Mid-Atlantic and Japanese Maples are very easy to grow here, as are all maples. Pretty, little trees with a graceful shape, deeply cut, burgundy leaves and stems and red leaves in fall. They like very cold to cool winters, and are tolerant of varying summer temperatures. They like moderate to heavy rainfall and are not what I'd call "xeriscape" plants. They like a normal to rich or hummusy soil. They don't mind neutral soils but seem to love acidic and also thrive in very acidic soils, (NOT a plant for alkaline soils). They require minimal to no, pruning, although you can prune in late winter/early spring to guide its shape. They like sun to shade, but hate scorching sun. They even do well in almost full shade. They set seed if two trees are present, but I have no experience in growing from seeds. A beautiful plant for the east.

Negative lupinelover On Jul 3, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

In our neighborhood, these are lightning rods and are often struck, killing them. Tend to be short-lived.

Neutral Baa On Jul 3, 2002, Baa wrote:

Deciduous tree from China, Korea and Japan.

Has 5-9 lobed, mid green leaves. Young leaves can bear some reddish colours and in Autumn the leaves turn all colours between yellow and red. Bears very small, red/purple flowers and winged seed.

Likes a moist but well-drained, fertile soil in sun or light shade.

Must have shelter from cold and/or strong wind which will burn and kill young leaves.

In areas where the temperate drops below 15F mulch the roots in Autumn.

Makes wonderful bonsai subjects and good spot trees for sheltered garden.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Mobile, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Cazadero, California
Chico, California
Concow, California
Fountain Valley, California
Fremont, California
Garberville, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Paradise, California
San Francisco, California
Stockton, California
Whittier, California
Chiefland, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Cordele, Georgia
Cumming, Georgia
Warner Robins, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Union, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
Arnold, Maryland
Crofton, Maryland
Laurel, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Halifax, Massachusetts
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Adrian, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Piscataway, New Jersey
Rocky Hill, New Jersey
Buffalo, New York
Mc Graw, New York
Bucyrus, Ohio
Euclid, Ohio
Niles, Ohio
Jenks, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Fair Play, South Carolina
Cleveland, Tennessee
Iron City, Tennessee
Belton, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Frisco, Texas
Plains, Texas
Mc Lean, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Brady, Washington
Kelso, Washington
Lakewood, Washington
North Bend, Washington
Puyallup, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Washougal, Washington
Kenosha, Wisconsin

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