How to Grow a Korean Maple Tree

Korean maple branches in fall

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

In This Article

The deciduous Korean maple (Acer pseudosieboldianum) is actually not only from Korea but also parts of China and Russia. It's sometimes referred to as the purplebloom maple. This is because it produces unique little purple flowers when the new foliage begins to appear in spring. This versatile shrub-like tree is known for being more winter hardy than the similar, and more common, Japanese maple tree.

It grows to only 25 feet tall. So its compact size, delicate look, and slow growth rate mean the Korean maple can work as an ornamental tree in a container for several years. In the fall, the foliage will provide a beautiful splash of color in your garden as it turns vivid shades of oranges, reds, and yellows. Plant your Korean maple seedlings or juvenile trees in the fall.

Botanical Name Acer pseudosieboldianum
Common Names Korean maple, purplebloom maple
Plant Type Deciduous tree/shrub
Mature Size Up to 25 ft. tall
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Rich, well-drained
Soil pH Any
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Purple
Hardiness Zones 4–8 (USDA)
Native Area Korea, China
Korean maple red and purple leaves closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Korean maple orange and red leaves closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

One red korean maple leaf in green and purple foliage

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dark red korean maple leaves closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Korean Maple Care

The Korean maple can cope with surprisingly low temperatures, but it doesn't like to be too hot or dry. This tree needs a moist, rich soil. It doesn't cope in waterlogged conditions, though, so it should also be positioned in a well-drained site.


Full sun or dappled light positions are best for the Korean maple. A shady spot won't encourage good growth or healthy foliage.


Korean maples thrive in soils that are organically rich, moist, and well-drained. Other than that, it isn't terribly particular about type or pH levels.


Although these trees are known for being pretty hardy, one thing they do like is plenty of moisture. Regular watering, especially during the drier months, will be vital.

Just make sure that you don't go overboard. This isn't a tree that will manage if it's regularly sitting in a waterlogged position.

Korean maple aren't drought-tolerant and will usually need weekly watering through spring to fall. They may even need more when the weather is particularly hot.

Temperature and Humidity

If you live in an arid, hot region, the Korean maple won't be a good choice. This species doesn't do well in dry and very hot conditions. They also prefer a position sheltered from strong winds too.

Known for doing well in cold temperatures, they have been recorded as surviving even when temperatures drop as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Just make sure you provide a good layer of mulch to protect the roots.


Korean maples are slow-growing and applying too much fertilizer, or one with a high level of nitrogen can disrupt their growing pattern and weaken the tree.

It's best to wait a year or two for the tree to become established and then use fertilizer sparingly. Treatment during the winter or in early spring is recommended in advance of new growth starting.


Korean maples don't need a lot of pruning. It's mainly needed just needed to remove damaged, dead or diseased branches.

It's best to avoid pruning in late summer and fall, unless you plan to move your tree indoors during the winter. Doing this encourages new growth that could struggle to survive if you live in a region that has harsh winters.

Because of their small, ornamental shrub-like stature, however, these trees are popular amongst bonsai enthusiasts. So careful, delicate pruning can help to create an artful, impressive shape.

Propagating Korean Maple

Select a cutting from a healthy, established stem and make sure it has new buds at the base. Doing this in early summer is recommended. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone to encourage it to take root.

Make sure you keep the potted stem moist, but not waterlogged. It should also be positioned in a warm indoor location away from direct sunlight. Covering with a plastic bag can help to reduce moisture loss.

Once the roots are beginning to establish, the bag can be removed, and the pot can be positioned in a more sunny location. After it has had a full season of growth indoors, you can transplant your cutting to an appropriate outdoor site.

Common Pests/Diseases

Although the Korean maple is relatively hardy, it does have thin bark that can be easily damaged if treated roughly or positioned in an overly windy spot. If the bark tears, this can expose the tree to a greater risk of fungal problems or insect infestations.

If Korean maples are stressed, they can be more susceptible to stem canker, anthracnose, and leaf spot. This is why it's important to plant them in a suitable position with the right sun and moisture conditions.