Japanese Maple Hardiness?

Minocqua, WI(Zone 4a)

Hello! I am an experienced gardener, but I've never had the courage to try a Japanese Maple, since I'm somewhere between 4a/4b (I can grow most 4b reliably, and a few of the hardier "zone 5" plants, as long as I know what I'm doing and I'm careful to protect them). I would love to experiment with a Japanese Maple, especially since I learned that there is one growing in a garden a few miles away from my home (this pant is a deep red color, and seems a bit stunted, so perhaps it's had some die back-of course, it is growing in a very shady location where it probably gets snow dumped on it from the roof in winter).

Does anyone have any suggestions of varieties that might be hardy enough for me to try? Or varieties to make sure to stay away from?

Thanks so much!!!

(Zone 7a)

Some Japanese Maples are naturally shorter and smaller. Two smaller red ones I can think of are Crimson Queen and Garnet. Crimson Queen is said to be hardy to -20.


I've had mine for almost 10 years in it's pot and it's never failed to perform.

Thumbnail by kwanjin
Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I would suggest before you buy one of those beauties, you try read a book at the library on all the different types of Japanese Maples there are.
I grow them here in Scotland, some winters the tips of the stems / branches get burnt with the salty winds, but they recover well come spring.
I've got some deap burnt orange, some cream coloured some blood red, all grow in pots and are either weeping in appearance while others are about 3 feet tall after 10 years, others are full grown at 4-5 feet tall, do remember these plants are grown for a statement in the borders or colour among other small trees / shrubs, but maybe there are some new ones out now that CAN grow taller.
They are expensive plants here in UK and like a slightly acidic soil as for Rhododendrons etc, but they are quite lovely and will repay their cost if you find the right spot for them, they dont like full sun all day but good light is better.
Library / book shop will have loads of books and pictures of mature types of those plants / trees.
Good luck, WeeNel.

St. Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Do you guys bring your trees indoors for winter? I have always loved these!! We are currently renting our home, and I am only focusing on container planting so I can take things with me when we move on. Although, this spring I have gone a little nuts with all the containers, I'm not sure where everyone is going to go once it's time to go indoors. My living room could look like a greenhouse before it's all over. ;)

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I believe Japanese maples need some winter chill, so they'd probably be best off in an unheated garage rather than inside the house.

St. Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

We only have a carport, so I was planning on putting my rose trees in our unfinished basement. It gets pretty cold down there! Do you think this might work as well? I could put it in a space near a basement window, or not if it needs to go dormant. (Not sure I'm using that term correctly here.)

(Zone 7a)

I leave mine outside all year. It has no problem with snow, ice, and temps as low as 10.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

These should do fine in large enough pots / containers so long as you give them a top dressing each year with fresh new compost / soil come spring. In really cold winters here in UK, IF I get enough warning about frost / freeze I can protect the plants by wrapping bubble wrap around the pots to prevent freeze at the roots, and the top /foliage can have lightweight horticultural fleece loosly wraped and tied over the foliage, for the fleece, I remove this after sun up or thaw each day and throw the fleece back over at early evening IF required.
I have to do this with lots of my plants and it is not as fussy as it sounds, I could not take all my plants inside as there are too many, some winters there is no need to molly coddle the plants at all but they do loose there foliage even in mild winters, all I need is to remove them to a sheltered area and under a car porch would be ideal as far as I'm concerned.
Good luck, have agood gardening year.WeeNel.

Kalispell, MT

If you are careful with your Japanese Maple and you have the right area you can grow them. I am in zone 4 b and careful gardeners have them here. It needs a location that is protected from harsh winter wind. I've seen people wrap their trees with burlap and even pink insulation before winter hits.

I would contact a local greenhouse/nursery to find the best cultivars for your location. The greenhouse that carries them here also tells people what to do to be successful with the plants. Good Luck!

Canton, IL(Zone 5a)

Jamielemon, I know of a few growers who have JM south of you. I will see what varieties they suggest and if pots or in the ground is best. I may even have someone who will ship you the suggested plant with confidence! Let me check on this for you- should know something in a day or two :)

St. Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Thanks Susan!

Canton, IL(Zone 5a)

I am told by members of the growing community that any variety of Japanese maple will do just find in your area. I have a grower who is able and willing to ship to you for a very reasonable price if you are interested?

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