17 Exquisite Dwarf Japanese Maple Varieties for Your Garden

Are you searching for a way to add a touch of elegance and beauty to your garden? Look no further than dwarf Japanese maple varieties. These small yet impactful trees are incredibly popular for their stunning foliage and unique growth habits. In this article, we will introduce you to 17 of the best dwarf Japanese maple varieties that will surely captivate your heart and enhance the appeal of your outdoor space.

1. Crimson Queen: The Royalty of Japanese Maples

Let’s start with the beloved ‘Crimson Queen.’ This variety tops everyone’s “best of” list for good reason. With its weeping, compact shape and vibrant red foliage, it’s hard to resist its charm. Plus, it’s a slow grower, so maintaining its petite size is a breeze. You can find ‘Crimson Queen’ at Nature Hills Nursery.

2. Elizabeth: An Ever-Evolving Beauty

Named after breeder Skeeter Rod’s wife, ‘Elizabeth’ is a remarkable A. palmatum cultivar. Its leaves transition from bright red to lime green and red in the spring and fall. This compact, slow-growing option reaches about five feet tall and three feet wide within a decade. You can find ‘Elizabeth’ at Maple Ridge Nursery.

3. Fireball: Defying Zone 4b

‘Fireball’ is a unique variety that thrives even in Zone 4b. Discovered as a witches’-broom in New Jersey, this cultivar boasts bright red leaves with a distinctive growth pattern. Slow-growing and upright, it reaches a height and width of five feet in about 15 years. Don’t miss out on ‘Fireball’ at Maple Ridge Nursery.

4. Germaine’s Gyration: A Twisting Marvel

With its twisting and turning branches, ‘Germaine’s Gyration’ is truly a sight to behold. This seven-foot-tall tree features bright green leaves trimmed in burgundy that transform into a vibrant orange in the fall. Enjoy its grace by getting one from Fast Growing Trees.

5. Inaba Shidare: Delicate and Arresting

If you’re looking for a striking option, ‘Inaba Shidare’ won’t disappoint. Its bright red, heavily serrated leaves resemble strips of red lace. This weeping cultivar grows to about eight feet tall and twice as wide, making it a quick-growing choice. Find ‘Inaba Shidare’ at Maple Ridge Nursery.

17 of the Best Dwarf Japanese Maple Varieties

6. Jeddeloh Orange: Adding Orange Delight

For an orange hue throughout the year, consider ‘Jeddeloh Orange.’ This weeping, cascading cultivar starts with orange leaves in the spring before transitioning to green with orange highlights in the summer. In the fall, it turns brilliant orange-gold. You can find ‘Jeddeloh Orange’ at Nature Hills Nursery.

7. Karasugawa: The Drama in White and Red

‘Karasugawa’ puts on an extremely dramatic show. Its pink spring foliage transitions to white, often with speckles and streaks of green depending on sun exposure. By fall, the entire leaf turns bright red. Note that ‘Karasugawa’ is a bit temperamental, but the stunning display is worth the effort. Get yours at Nature Hills Nursery.

8. Orion: A Constellation of Color

With its weeping constellation of leaves, ‘Orion’ is a star in the dwarf Japanese maple world. It grows to be about four feet tall and seven feet wide, featuring deeply lobed, heavily serrated leaves. In the spring, it’s solid bright red, while in the fall, it transitions to bright orange. Grab ‘Orion’ at Maple Ridge Nursery.

9. Red Filigree Lace: A Fine Display

If you appreciate finely cut, delicate leaves, ‘Red Filigree Lace’ is a must-have. Its heavily serrated, thin leaves resemble red threads dangling from a weeping tree. Within 15 years, it reaches a height of four feet and a width of five feet. This vibrant variety thrives in partial shade and can be found at Maple Ridge Nursery.

10. Rhode Island Red: A Petite Version of ‘Bloodgood’

For fans of the popular ‘Bloodgood,’ ‘Rhode Island Red’ offers a petite alternative. This variety leafs out in crimson red, transitions to burgundy in the summer, and returns to bright red in the fall. Standing at around six feet tall, it features large, simple palmate foliage. You can find ‘Rhode Island Red’ on Amazon.

11. Ryusen: The Graceful Waterfall

‘Ryusen’ is a personal favorite among all Japanese maples. Its distinctive growth habit, with branches gracefully arching down, creates a waterfall effect. This eight-foot-tall tree spreads only a few feet wide. The green palmate leaves turn a soft reddish-orange in the fall. Find ‘Ryusen’ on Amazon.

12. Skeeter’s Broom: From ‘Bloodgood’ to Beauty

‘Skeeter’s Broom’ is bred from a witch’s broom found on the popular ‘Bloodgood’ variety. With its narrow, upright growth habit and bushy purple foliage, it’s a stunning choice. This petite cultivar reaches about six feet tall and three to four feet wide. Get your hands on ‘Skeeter’s Broom’ at Nature Hills Nursery.

13. Spring Delight: A Joyful Burst of Color

As its name suggests, ‘Spring Delight’ brings vibrant joy to your garden. Its neon green foliage tipped in bright crimson is a mesmerizing sight in the warmer spring weather. In the fall, the leaves transition to yellow and orange. This graceful weeping tree is available at Maple Ridge Nursery.

14. Summer Gold: Shining All Season

While most Japanese maples fade in the summer, ‘Summer Gold’ stays vibrant. Its green leaves with a red border transition to a vibrant yellow-gold during the summer. Even in full sun, this golden leaf variety won’t burn or fade. In the fall, the leaves turn bright reddish-orange. Pick up ‘Summer Gold’ at Maple Ridge Nursery.

15. Tamukeyama: A Storied Classic

‘Tamukeyama’ is a trustworthy and hardy choice. With burgundy foliage during the spring and summer, and bright crimson in the fall, it’s a mainstay for a reason. This weeping type stays under eight feet tall. Purchase ‘Tamukeyama’ at Fast Growing Trees.

16. Viridis: Green Watercolor Magic

With its cascading form and bright chartreuse leaves, ‘Viridis’ is a head-turner. As fall approaches, the heavily serrated palmate leaves turn golden-yellow and orange. If you love delicate, lace-like leaves, ‘Viridis’ is the perfect choice. Find ‘Viridis’ at Fast Growing Trees.

17. Waterfall: Beauty in Weeping Form

‘Waterfall’ is a stunning option that lives up to its name. While it can grow up to 12 feet tall, it usually reaches around five feet at ten years. Its pendulous, weeping form and large green leaves that turn orange in the fall are a sight to behold. Keep ‘Waterfall’ in a container for a compact option. Head to Fast Growing Trees to get yours.

Small Doesn’t Mean Low-Impact

Dwarf Japanese maple varieties may be small in stature, but they make a big impact in any garden. Their stunning foliage and unique growth habits will surely draw attention. Whether you’re a fan of laceleaf varieties or prefer red or green foliage, there’s a perfect choice for you. So, which one caught your eye? Share your plans in the comment section below.

Continue Your Japanese Maple Journey
If you’re eager to learn more about Japanese maples, be sure to check out our guides on how to grow them, the best red varieties, and how and when to prune them. Happy gardening!

*Note: This article is based on the original content provided by Ask the Experts, LLC. Image credits go to FastGrowingTrees.com, Japanese Maples and Evergreens, Maple Ridge Nursery, and Nature Hills Nursery.