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
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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


Provides Winter Interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:




Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


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

Cornelia, 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

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Fair Play, South Carolina

Cleveland, Tennessee

Iron City, Tennessee

Smyrna, Tennessee

Belton, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Frisco, Texas

Plains, Texas

South Jordan, Utah

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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Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 11, 2016, NancyBeck from Cornelia, GA wrote:

This is a wonderful tree to turn into an ornamental bonsi at any size (we accidently had a cement truck run over ours during renovation construction on our house, which broke 1/2 and left us with an extremely attractive bonsi in 2004).. we have had it since @ 2001 .. now it's quite tall.. do not have plants/grass around it, as in the middle of summer it will swallow them up with shade.. The birds love it.. grows rather thick.. small little 'hand' leaves.. really neat.. for two years now, we have had praying manthis hatch from it .. awesome.. beautiful year round.. it is now about 8-10' tall, full sun in Georgia


On Jul 15, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

The mother species here has green foliage during the spring and summer that turns bright red in autumn. Many of the photos here show the common red-foliaged variety that has red foliage in spring and reddish-green during the hot summer, then back to bright red in the fall. The regular green mother species is a slow growing tree about 1 foot/year and expensive to buy. It is only occasionally planted, as its red-leaved varieties and cultivars are what is commonly planted, and they are slower growing and more expensive.


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.


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.


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 po... read more


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!!


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 exp... read more


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.


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.