Dwarf & Small Japanese Maples
This section includes upright Japanese maples which are both true dwarfs as well as Japanese maples that are typically below 13' at maturity. Lace-leaf, cascading Japanese males are also small but are listed in a separate section.
Dwarfs are typically between 3-6' tall and are bushy shrubs with small leaves and are often slow growing. Dwarfs are often used in bonsai and are excellent container plants.
Small maples are upright and tree-like but smaller in height at maturity than many other Japanese maples. Most of these are also listed in our upright Japanese maple section. Heights given are usually considered generous; your plant may be less.
Our list includes trees that we commonly stock in the springtime. However, selection varies year by year and since many of these are unusual please call if you require a particular tree or size of tree.
Adrian Compact Dwarf tree to roughly 5' tall and wide. Red leaves hold their color well, even in some shade but we suggest some nice morning sun to enhance and extend that red color, with some afternoon shade in our hot climate. Scarlet in the fall. This plant appears to be a natural dwarf rather than a witches broon.
Aka Kawa Hime Small tree to 10'. Grows to 10' tall or and often referred to as a 'Dwarf Coral Bark'. Shrub-like appearance. Green leaves turn gold in fall. Bright red bark. Morning sun and afternoon shade. Good for bonsai.
Alpenweiss Small tree to 10' with outstanding variegated leaves. Often has dense twiggy growth as is typical of some variegated maples. Light shade.
Aobajo Dwarf to 3' in a mounded shape. Green leaves in spring and summer. Yellow with red in fall. Protect from hot, afternoon sun. Good for bonsai.
Aratama Dwarf to 5', rounded shape. Deep red leaves bronze a little in our summers. Takes some sun, but we'd suggest a placement with some protection from hot afternoon sun. Nice in a pot. Good for bonsai. One of Laurie's favorites.
Baby Lace Dwarf lace leaf to 3' in a rounded shape. Red-orange in the spring. Bronzy-green in the summer. Orange or pink-red in fall. Dissected-lacy leaves. Laurie suggests growing this tree in a container to enjoy the attractive foliage.
Beni Hoshi Small tree to 6'. Ruby pink in spring turning to green in summer overlaid with rosy red new leaves. Name means "red star". Really nice small tree.
Beni Shigatatsu Sawa Small tree to 13' but usually less. Usually wide and spreading. Gorgeous pink and bright green leaves with some creamy yellow as well. Great in a container where the leaves can be enjoyed up close. Best in light shade.
Berry's Dwarf Dwarf. Wide and low to 3' tall and up to 10' wide. Relatively large leaves for a dwarf. Green leaves in spring and summer.
Brandt's Dwarf Dwarf maple with nice red leaves, nice shape. About 3' tall. A long time classic. Good for bonsai. One of Laurie's favorites. Takes morning sun but protect from hot afternoon sun.
Briella's Broom Dwarf similar to Shaina, but with slightly darker red leaves. About 3'. Good for bonsai. Needs some morning sun to enhance the red tones in the leaves, but protect it from afternoon sun.
Calico Small tree or semi-dwarf. Considered to be a "Dwarf Katsura" with spring leaves of cheery yellow with orange margins. Leaves turn green in summer and then orange in fall. Expect 8-9' or slightly taller with an upright shrubby appearance. Prefers filtered light or a partly shady location. Good in a container or in the garden. Laurie likes this tree.
Carlis Corner Dwarf with tiny red leaves on a dense round shrub to 5' or so. Excellent for containers. Good for bonsai.
Coonara Pygmy Dwarf to 5' or less. Green leaves turn striking pastel shades of orange, red, and yellow in the fall before doing a rosy-red-grand-finale leaf drop. Great dwarf with a shrubby dense form. Good for bonsai. Either morning sun and afternoon shade or light shade is good.
Corallinum Small tree to 6-9' with a somewhat upright form. Bright pink in the spring. Green in the summer. Scarlet in fall. Takes morning sun well, but protect from afternoon sun.
Dr. Seuss Small tree to 6-8' tall, 3-5' wide (possibly more with time) with an upright shape. Green leaves turn yellow and orange in fall. Leaves are small and some are unusually shaped with a subtle variegation. The occasional odd leaves are reminiscent of something in a Dr. Seuss story. Looks best with some sun but protect from hot afternoon sun. The shape is more like a smallish tree than a dense bushy shrub. Very delicate branching and form. With just a little thinning and training, it makes an attractive specimen for a small garden!
Elegans Small tree to 10'. Green leaves.
Elizabeth Dwarf to 6'. Lovely red leaves in spring and summer turn brilliant crimson in fall. To 6' tall.red color but protect from afternoon sun. One of Laurie's favorites.
Fairy Lights Dwarf Acer japonicum with lacy green leaves that turn yellow, gold, orange and red in fall. Nice small tree to 3'. Best in filtered light. Nice in the garden or great as a small lacy specimen in a container.
Fireball Dwarf to 4' tall. Red leaves turn scarlet in fall. Good for bonsai. One of Laurie's favorite dwarfs. Needs some sun for good red color, but protect from afternoon sun.
Garyu -Dwarf tree with subtle twisted leaves. Green leaves emerge green with rosy tips in spring, turning to green in summer, then deep red in fall. More prostrate than many trees, typical size is about 3' tall by 4' wide. Very limited quantities. Best with afternoon shade.
Hime Shojo Small red dwarf tree to 3' or slightly more. Turns crimson in fall. Takes sun but probably best with afternoon shade.
Kandy Kitchen Dwarf to about 6' or less. Great pink-red color like candy in spring and early summer. Takes some sun to keep its bright color, but best protected from extremely hot afternoon sun. Nursery favorite.
Koto Buki Dwarf variegated tree to 6' or so. New leaves have green, white, and pink variegation. Best in shade or light shade.
Koto No Ito Small tree to 10' with open delicate form. Narrow willowy green leaves. Looks delicate but takes morning sun. Protect from strong afternoon sun. Excellent small tree for a garden. A good tree to place near a window as the delicate leaves will give a measure of privacy without obstructing the view or being excessively claustrophobic. Also nice as part of a small water feature to give the illusion of an upright willow without the willow's invasive root structure.
Geisha Dwarf to 3' with pastel colored leaves in spring turning to green in summer and bright colors in fall. Light shade. Good container plant.
Goshiki Kotohime Dwarf tree to 3' with variegated green, cream, and pink leaves in spring turning to mostly green in summer. Rare.
Hanami Nishiki Dwarf to 3'. Tiny green leaves turn orange-red in fall. Good for bonsai. Light shade.
Hoshi Kuzu Dwarf to 3' in a slightly upright form. Green, variegated leaves in spring and summer. Protect from afternoon sun. Good in containers. Dwarf branches and slightly clustered green leaves. Very short;to 1.5' and similar to the more popular Mikawa Yatsubusa.
Kamagata Dwarf 3-6'. More open and delicate than most dwarfs. Can be used as a small tree. A small Kamagata is growing in our display garden. Morning sun is okay but protect from afternoon sun.
Kashima Dwarf to 6'. Dense and shrubby. Good for bonsai. Morning sun or light shade.
Kandy Kitchen Dwarf to 6' with bright, candy-red leaves in spring and early summer turning more green by the end of the summer, which contrasts nicely with the new red growth. It does look like candy. Dense shrubby plant. Scarlet in fall. Morning sun is good for best color but hot afternoon sun is too much. Everybody loves this tree!
Katsura Hime Dwarf with small green leaves. We have a mature specimen in our display garden that has grown into a low, wide and spreading plant after a large tree limb fell on it when it was young. Gorgeous maple; this tree gets lots of compliments. Shrub-like, it can grow to 6' but is usually lower. Gold with red tints in fall. Light shade or morning sun with afternoon shade.
Kiyo hime Dwarf to 6' in a mounded or shrubby round shape. Green leaves in spring and summer. Gold-orange in fall. Protect from afternoon sun. A beautiful mature specimen is growing in our display garden. A nursery favorite.
Koto Maru Dwarf to 3-6' in a compact shape. Green leaves in spring and summer. One of the first trees to leaf out in the spring. Good for bonsai. Protect from afternoon sun.
Kuro HIme Dwarf with leaves on a dense compact shrub. Good for bonsai. Morning sun only.
Kurui Jishi Dwarf form of 'Okushimo'. The large version draws lots of attention with it's classic shape and distinctive leaves. This smaller form has the same small leaves with leaf margins that tuck under. To 6' tall. Takes morning sun but protect it from afternoon sun.
Livy Semi-dwarf 'Bloodood' type maple. New tree; it is estimated to mature at about 9'. Mature form is more like a small tree rather than a dense shrub. Red leaves in summer turn deep red in summer, then crimson in fall. New tree but it should be relatively sun tolerant in most locations with sufficient water.
Matsugae Small tree to 13'. Variegated leaves with cream margins on a green leaf. Orange-red in fall in our nursery. Vertrees says "it is a hardy plant and can take full sun". We think it grows well in sun but as with many small maples, it would grow best with some afternoon shade.
Matthew Dwarf. Growth to 6' tall and wide. Green leaves turning to gold and red in the fall. Full, but not as compact as Kiyohime with slightly more reaching branches. Good for bonsai. Protect from afternoon sun. Very popular with customers; it always looks great!
Mikawa Yatsubusa Dwarf to 3' or less. Rich, green leaves in spring and summer. Good fall color. Protect from afternoon sun. Has lovely pink seeds in the spring that look like blossoms. Very attractive landscape tree!
Murasaki kiyohime Dwarf 3-6', low growing, similar to Kiyohime. Good for bonsai. Green leaves tipped with red in spring. Green in summer. Gold and orange in fall. Protect from afternoon sun. Good in containers and bonsai. This is a nursery favorite with staff and customers alike.
Orange Dream Small tree to 13'. Striking spring leaves in orange and yellow. Best growth when shaded from afternoon sun.
Orion Dwarf with small feathery-edged leaves. One of the newer varieties that we stock with a great shape and leaf pattern. A new nursery favorite. Nice little maple.
Peaches and Cream Small tree with outstanding variegated leaves in lots of pink and cream. To 10' tall or less. Good upright form. Great small garden tree. Likes light shade. Will take some morning sun but this tree will burn in hot afternoon sun.
Pixie Dwarf to 3-6', slightly rounded and upright. Red leaves in spring and early summer. Fiery scarlet in fall. Takes sun, but protect from hot afternoon sun. Looks more "tree like" than many dwarfs (which often are more dense and shrub-like)
Purple Ghost Small tree to 13'. Striking purple-red leaves! Best in light shade or some morning sun and afternoon shade.
Red Pygmy Small tree with red linear leaves to about the 6-9' range. Not a dwarf but a small tree. Delicate appearance is nice used near a window to provide privacy without obstructing a view or being claustrophobic. Great tree for a small garden! Best grown with some morning sun but with some protection against strong afternoon sun.
Royal Dwarf to 5' with rounded shape. Red in spring and early summer. Brilliant red in fall. Needs some sun to enhance the red color but protect from hot afternoon sun.
Ryuzu Dwarf to 6'. Rounded dense bush. Rich, green leaves turning to orange-yellow in fall. Very nice form, shrub-like, with slightly-larger leaves than dwarf trees with tiny leaves. Protect from afternoon sun.
Saoshika Small tree to 13'. Lovely star shaped leaves on bright green twigs. Outstanding fall color in shades of gold and bright orange. Morning sun is okay but best with afternoon shade in this area.
Sekka Yatsubusa Small tree. Not a dwarf, although the name "yatsubusa" means dwarf or compact. This small tree reaches about 10' or so with a nice open tree-like form. Green leaves turn yellow or gold in fall. Occasionally exhibits interesting flattened stems! Takes sun.
Seuss' Sister Small tree to 6'. Green leaves turning to gold with a little red in the fall. Interesting sickle shaped leaves. Nice form that works well in a small garden. Takes morning sun but protect from afternoon sun.
Shaina Dwarf to 4-6'. Bushy and dense. Red leaves in spring and early summer. Crimson in fall. Takes sun, but protect from really intense afternoon sun. A mature specimen is growing in our garden. A nursery favorite.
Sharp's Pygmy Dwarf to 3'. Bushy. Good for bonsai. Green leaves turning to orange and scarlet in fall. Protect from afternoon sun. Good in pots or bonsai. A classic dwarf Japanese maple.
Shidava Gold Dwarf to 4' in an upright pattern. Dwarf with slightly more tree-like form. Green leaves turning to gold in the fall. Protect from afternoon sun. Nice in a pot.
Shigarami Small tree to 13'. Green leaves in spring and summer turn deep rich gold in fall. Grows in sun but appreciates afternoon shade.
Shigure Bato Small tree to 10'. Green feathery leaves turn bright yellow to gold in fall. Nice small tree for the landscape. Grows in sun but appreciates afternoon shade.
Shin DeShojo Small tree. Often trained as a small multi-branching shrub. Also can be lightly pruned and thinned to give the appearance of a small tree. To 9' or 10' or so, depending on training. Neon pink leaves in spring change to soft green in summer, then red in fall. Does best in sun but some protection from strong afternoon sun is appreciated.
Shishi Yatsubusa Dwarf to 3'. Dwarf. Good for bonsai. Green leaves with red tips in spring. Green in summer. Yellow in fall.
Skeeter's Broom Dwarf to 3-6' in a shrubby upright dwarf form. Rosy-red in spring darkening to a deeper bronzy red by early summer. Bright crimson in fall. Protect from afternoon sun. One of Laurie's favorites.
Tama hime Dwarf to 3'. Good for bonsai. Green leaves turning to crimson and yellow in fall. Protect from afternoon sun.
Tattoo Dwarf to 3' with very small, tufted leaves. Good for bonsai. Selected by Theodore Klein, and named after the character on Fantasy Island. Its short, compact growth make it a fine bonsai selection and good as a container specimen. A good way to get a tattoo without the discomfort. Best in afternoon shade in the Sacramento Valley. This one is available in limited quantities or special order only.
Tiger Rose Small tree to 10'. Great variegated leaves, cream with green veining overlaid with pink in spring. Good shape and form. Great small tree for a sheltered place in a garden. Best in light shade. Will take some morning sun but may burn in afternoon sun in this area.
Tiny Tim Dwarf with small dense green leaves. Similar to Coonara Pygmy. Good for bonsai. About 3' by 3'.
Tsuma Beni Small tree to 10'. Spring leaves are green tipped with red like red finger nails. Summer color is a pleasant green. Fall color is a deep gold. Good form. Great small tree for the garden. Grows in sun but appreciates afternoon shade.
Ukiguma Small tree to 10' or sometimes slightly more. Unique variegated leaves consist of tiny spots like snowflakes, giving the tree a nearly white look upon a green background. More upright than many other Japanese maples. A good small tree for a location that not only needs a small tree but one without much spread or width. Yellow to gold in fall. Best in light shade. May burn in afternoon sun in this area.
Villa Taranto Small tree to 10' with delicate linear leaves that have a bronzy appearance. Vase shaped. Nice tree for a patio or against a window to create privacy without being claustrophobic. Great color. Great landscape tree.
Wakehurst Pink Small tree to 13'. Leaves are flushed pink in spring. Summer color is green, sometimes with pink variegation. Fall color is a knockout red! Grows well in sun or light shade but may appreciate some afternoon shade.
Werner's Dwarf Dwarf. Good for bonsai.
Wilson' Pink Dwarf Small tree with colorful neon-pink leaves in spring turn green in summer than bright red in fall. Height is usually about 6' and although somewhat dense, it's a tree. One of the few small trees that likes sun but best growth is with some afternoon shade.
Winter's Red A semi-dwarf tree. New tree; it's estimated to mature somewhere between 9'-12' or so. It's a "witches broom" and some of the leaves have the characteristic "missing point". Red leaves in spring turn deep red in summer and crimson in fall. This tree is NOT a coral bark maple and does NOT have red bark in the winter. We think that the name is derived from the surname "Winter" hence the name "Winter's" with an apostrophe.
Wou Nishiki Small green leafed tree to 13' or so. Fall color is crimson. Two specimens are growing in our display garden.
Yama Hime Dwarf. Good for bonsai.
Yure Hime Sport Dwarf.