How to Grow and Care for Crimson Queen Japanese Maples

Crimson queen Japanese maple tree pink-red leaves

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree, a variation of standard Japanese maples, is one of the prettiest of the dwarf trees. It can be a good fall foliage tree, as the maple keeps its bright-red leaves, and the cascading habit offers some winter interest.

Crimson Queen Japanese maple trees are commonly used for landscaping purposes, not only because of the beautiful leaves but also because it's smaller than most maples. The typical tree is about 10 feet tall, compared to other types of maples that can be up to 100 feet. Therefore, the Crimson Queen will fit into tighter spaces than other types of maple trees can. Additionally, Crimson Queen is one of those sought-after plants that will grow under black walnuts.

Common Name Crimson Queen Japanese Maple Tree
Botanical Name Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen'
Family Aceraceae
Plant Type Tree
Mature Size 8-10 ft. tall, 10-12 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Sandy, loamy, moist but well-drained
Soil pH Acidic
Bloom Time April
Flower Color Red
Hardiness Zones 5-9 (USDA)
Native Area Asia, Europe

Watch Now: How to Grow a Crimson Queen Japanese Maple Tree

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple Tree Care

Crimson Queen Japanese maple trees are easily grown in warm or even slightly cool climates. The tree will showcase its bright red foliage throughout the growing season. It's smaller than other types of Japanese maple trees, growing just to around 10 feet tall with a wide spread of foliage.

Crimson queen Japanese maple tree with maroon leaves on cascading branches

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Crimson queen Japanese maple tree with spiky red leaves on branches

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Crimson queen Japanese maple tree with cascading red branches

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Crimson queen Japanese maple tree with thin red leaves closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova


The Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree is fairly forgiving when it comes to the amount of light it gets. In the northern regions, these maple trees can be grown in full sun; and in southern areas, these trees prefer part afternoon shade. If you live in a hot region, be aware that new foliage may scorch in full sun, so partial shade is a better choice for planting this type of tree.


As with light, Crimson Queen Japanese maple trees are malleable with soil. The tree grows easily in organically rich, slightly acidic soil that's kept moist but well-drained. Sandy loam soils work just fine, and Japanese maples can tolerate heavy clays. What they can't tolerate, however, are salty soils or highly alkaline soils. Add 3 to 4 inches of shredded bark around the root of the tree as mulch.


Japanese maples are drought-tolerant once they have matured. However, in the beginning, they need heavy watering twice a week. If it's dry, go up to water three to four times a week until it is well-established.

Temperature and Humidity

Japanese maple trees thrive in warm climates, as long as the foliage doesn't risk sun scorch. For gardeners in climates at the northern end of its range of zones 5 to 9, perhaps the biggest problem faced in growing Japanese maple trees is potential damage from a frost or a freeze. However, the roots can withstand temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.


Give a Japanese maple plenty of compost around the tree, as it feeds quite a bit. Keep adding the compost throughout spring and early summer to provide nutrients and moisture to the roots. If you don't have compost, use an all-purpose fertilizer, per the manufacturer's directions, around the base of the trunk in the springtime.

Types of Japanese Maples

There are several varieties of Japanese Maple trees:

  • 'Bloodgood' (Acer palmatum atropurpureum 'Bloodgood') grows up to 20 feet tall with reddish-purple leaves.
  • 'Red Dragon' (Acer palmatum dissectum 'Red Dragon') can grow as tall as 8 feet in height and has reddish-purple foliage that changes into a crimson red. It is a good container or patio tree.
  • 'Autumn Moon' (Acer shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon') grows up to 10 feet tall and has yellow-orange leaves in the springtime which transform into a bright reddish-orange in the fall.
  • 'Butterfly' (Acer palmatum 'Butterfly') grows between 7 to 12 feet in height and sports unique foliage that are green with areas of white that change to red or magenta during the fall.


Avoid pruning a Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree when possible. If you must prune, do it in the late fall or mid-winter to avoid the bleeding that can happen in the spring and summer months.

Propagating Crimson Queen Japanese Maple Trees

You can propagate Japanese maple trees in the late spring by taking softwood stem cuttings or with semi-hardwood stem cuttings in the midsummer. Here's how:

  1. Cut a 6- to 8-inch new growth section.
  2. Plant the cutting in a rooting soil made up of equal parts peat moss, coarse sand, and perlite.
  3. Moisten with water, but don't oversaturate the soil.
  4. Place the cutting in a location that gets bright, indirect light.

Potting and Repotting

Dwarf varieties of Japanese maple trees, such as the Crimson Queen, which are less than 10 feet tall when mature can be grown in containers. If the tree grows to more than 10 feet, prune it regularly.

To grow the tree in a container: Pick a container that's no more than twice the volume of the roots and has a drainage hole. Fill it with high-quality potting soil that's free from slow-release fertilizer. Only fertilize the container-grown tree with a water-based fertilizer that's been devoted to half-strength when growth begins.

Crimson Queen Japanese maple trees grown in containers require repotting regularly. Repot the tree when the roots hit the sides and bottom of the pot—typically occurs every two years or so. When repotting, prune the large woody roots to encourage small, fibrous roots in their place.


To prepare your Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree for colder weather plan ahead. Do not fertilize the tree after mid-summer, and plan to water heavily in the fall to help the root system of the tree before the cold weather comes along. After soaking, spread a thick four-inch layer of mulch around the tree trunk and root area. If the trees are in their younger years, you should protect them by wrapping them in burlap.

Any trees planted in containers, bring them indoors into a garage, for example, if in areas that will get heavy frost or freezes.

Common Pests and Diseases

The Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree does have some common pests and diseases that it is susceptible to. The most common disease is a type of fungus. Canker, anthracnose, and verticillium wilt are all fungus infections that are common for this tree. Keep it pruned, the area around the tree cleaned up of dead branches and leaves, and treat the tree with a fungicide. Pests that may attack this maple tree are Japanese beetles, aphids, scale, and mites. Treat with a chemical or natural insecticide, such as Neem oil to eliminate these pests.

  • How long does the Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree live?

    The Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree has a lifespan of 80 years or longer if it's cared for and maintained properly.

  • How much does a Japanese maple grow each year?

    The Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree grows at a moderate pace, so expect a growth rate of about 12 to 24 inches per year.

  • What companion plants can you plant underneath a Japanese maple?

    Add a splash of color around the base of your Crimson Queen Japanese maple tree with some perennials such as azaleas, dianthus, or sedum.

Article Sources
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  1. Acer palamatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen'. Missouri Botanical Garden.