The Japanese maple tree is otherwise known as Acer palmatum or Red Emperor Maple. It is native to Japan and other Asian countries, as well as southeast Russia. Japanese maple is a small tree with a height range of approximately 20-30 feet, so it is perfect for smaller spaces where a larger tree wouldn’t do well. This maple tree variety, like others, is prized for its showy red fall foliage. Japanese maple does well in zones 3 through 9.
Sunlight Needs: Japanese maple prefers the part sun of filtered light, but will do okay in full sun conditions. Be aware that full sun may scorch the leaves. Don’t plant it in an overly shady spot, because it will not grow the same and the foliage will be less compact.
Watering Needs: All maple trees prefer moist, well-drained soil, and that includes the Japanese maple. But it will tolerate a variety of soil conditions if necessary.
Foliage: The foliage of the Japanese maple is really unique! It is lacy and delicate looking. The color of the foliage is a yellow-green, turning to a red, purple or bronze during the fall.
Must-Know Plant Care Tips: Japanese maples prefer filtered light, but in an overly shady spot the plant grows in a looser form with more open branches. You can grow a Japanese maple underneath a pergola and it will be very happy. This plant needs fertilizer once a year and should be sheltered during a hard frost for best results.
Plant Problem-Solver: In a cold climate, Japanese maples are not as hardy. A good problem-solver if you live in zones 3 or 4 is plant this small tree in a container. Just before the first frost, move your containerized Japanese maple to a sheltered spot such as an unheated garage. Allow the plant to go dormant before you move it indoors for the winter.
Pretty Pairings: Japanese maples pair well with other plants that prefer filtered light, such as ferns.