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How to Grow Acer palmatum Atropurpureum Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Purple Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum atropurpureum, or Japanese Maple, is a small deciduous tree of the Aceraceae family.

It has vibrant reddish-purple palmate leaves that turn a striking crimson red in the autumn / fall.

This tree is able to hold onto its red and purple hues quite well throughout the summer.

These brilliant colours are the main reason that many people decide to grow this tree, even though it can be picky about its location in the garden.

Acer palmatum Atropurpureum

Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' with Pittosporum 'Silver Queen' in the background photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking, CC.


It makes a lovely accent piece in a small area, or as a contrast against other tree foliage.

Another ideal location to place this tree is under a canopy of taller trees, as it prefers afternoon shade and filtered light. Or perhaps plant it near Hydrangeas or azaleas because it also prefers slightly acidic soil conditions.

For successful growth, Japanese Maple needs just the right amount of light; too little light in some varieties causes leaves to turn greenish, whereas too much light can damage the leaves through scorching.

Acer palmatum Atropurpureum

Purple Japanese Maple 'Bloodgood' by Dun.can, CC.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Japanese Maple

Tips for a happy Acer palmatum atropurpureum (Japanese Maple).

USDA Zone: 5 — 8

Moderate growth: reaches about 8 to 30 feet (2.5 to 9 m) in height and width.

Requires slightly acidic soil that is well-drained.

Partial to full sun - it prefers full morning sun and shade or filtered sun in the afternoon.

Avoid harsh weather, such as drying winds and afternoon sun (especially in hot areas and summer).

Use mulch to keep the soil moist and the roots cool.

Establish a deep extensive root system by watering deeply and regularly during its first few seasons.

Prune during the winter, and apply a slow-release fertilizer early in the spring.

Acer palmatum Atropurpureum Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Acer palmatum Atropurpureum
  • Common Name: Purple japanese maple
  • Growing Zone: USA: 5 to 8
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Tree

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 180 to 300
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 300 to 360
  • Time of Bloom: Spring
  • Flower Details: Red
  • Leaf Foliage: Purple
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Rounded, Upright or erect

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Grows slowly
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Sandy, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Low
  • Propagation: Grafting or soft-wood cuttings
  • How to Prune: Requires little to no pruning. In some cases hard pruning can be disruptive.
  • Pests: Aphids and horse chestnut scale are sometimes a problem
  • Diseases: Usually disease free but Verticillium wiltcan be problematic

Further Information


I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Acer palmatum atropurpureum . You may also enjoy the following growing guides: Acer negundo and Acer griseum.



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