Dwarf & Semi Dwarf Japanese Maples

Dwarf trees are diminutive and shrub-like. Normally a dwarf Japanese maple grows only about two inches a year. They may reach a height of 3 or 4 feet when they are ten years old. Semi dwarf trees grow a bit taller.
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Note: Height of two year dwarf maples is around 4 to 6 inches depending on the cultivar.

Indicates gold fall color   Indicates orange fall color   Indicates red fall color


Abigail Rose - This is a charming dwarf maple with green leaves. In the spring the new growth is suffused with rose tones.

Aka kawa hime - Small and compact, this new dwarf maple seems to be a sturdy growing tree. Red bark is a highlight.

Akita yatsubusa - Dark brown shoots differentiate this cultivar from Sharp's Pygmy to which it may be compared in many respects. Fall color is a vivid orange red. "Hardy and reliable," comments Vertrees, "ideal for small garden, container culture or bonsai."

Aoba jo - Dwarf with large deep green leaves - seems to take sun as well as part shade. This tree stays dense with very little shaping. It is one of the earliest to leaf out.

Aratama - Here is a much sought after miniature maple with showy tones of red in spring and early summer. By September, leaf is mostly green. Center lobe is shorter (and usually larger) than those on either side.

Ariadne - Marbled variegation goes through several color changes from spring to leaf drop. This is a mid sized tree at maturity with good sized leaves.

Beni komachi - The red leaves on this dwarf would also qualify for a "very unusual" category if we had one. Opening out bright crimson,leaves are distinctively irregular. Each slender lobe curls sideways, down, or both. Fall color is scarlet again. Fine branches arch out as growth progresses.

Beni maiko - Very showy fire-red new growth which is the brightest in color of the small palmate types. One gallon and older trees available.

Beni tsukasa - The spring foliage offers a fantastic progression of colors. New leaves are a bright peach tone. This color evolves to a light pink with green undertones. Green becomes the predominant color in summer, with some leaves showing a faint variegation. Leaves on older wood are small, whereas vigorous new shoots often produce leaves twice as large. Semi-dwarf.

Beni yubi gohon - Semi-dwarf maple. This elegant small cultivar, with dark red linearlobum leaves, ressembles Beni otake. The leaves are smaller as is the overall size.

Berry's Dwarf - Recently introduced, this dwarf tree reaches a height of about 2 feet with spread of 4 feet in ten years.

Caperci Dwarf - Bright pink in spring, the small leaves are green during the summer. Gold fall color. gold fall color

Carlis Corner - Dwarf tree. Leaves open pink red, then darken as season progresses.

Chishio Improved - A sprinkling of bright red spring color. It is a semi-dwarf growing to around 9 feet—less if you keep it in a container and prune regularly. The leaves become mostly green by the end of the summer. In the fall they turn a clear pink/red as shown in this photo taken mid November.

Coonara Pygmy - Excellent dwarf form from Australia. This tree is 3-6 feet at maturity depending on style of pruning. Gold fall color.

Corallinum - Some plants, like some people, are attention getters. Even the smallest Corallinum will draw appreciative looks. Shrimp-pink is the color of spring growth. Leaf is green in summer. This semi-dwarf appreciates protection from wind and hot sun. Many sizes available.

Cynthia’s Crown Jewel - Dwarf mounding maple. Small leaves are green with narrow lobes. Two sizes available. Fall: orange-red

Dr. Seuss – Subtle variegation of green and yellow on small leaves. This maple, recently introduced by Buchholz Nursery, forms a shrub-like small tree about 5 feet tall in 10 years. Fall color is yellow to orange.

Elizabeth - Pink-red leaf in spring and red all summer. Dwarf and somewhat columnar. Fall: vivid crimson

Fairy Hair - Diminutive maple with thread like green leaves.

Fireglow - Great for small gardens! New leaves on this cultivar resemble a small “Bloodgood” leaf; yet they maintain a more intense red as summer progresses. Fireglow matures into a sun tolerant maple around 9 to 12 ft. tall.

Fjellheim - This alluring maple has the same—or maybe brighter—coral shoots as its relative, Sango kaku. However, the structure is much more dense and more compact. Fjellheim provides a cheery splash of color during the winter—even in limited space.

Golden Pond This upright small maple grows wider than tall. The leaf, with rounded contours, opens dark orange and lightens to a gold-green.

Hanami nishiki - The name translates as: Flower viewing tapestry. One of the dwarfest of the dwarfs. 5 gallon size only at present.

Kamagata (shown at right) - Small green foliage is edged with red when new. Fall color is gold overlaid with orange and crimson. Dwarf with compact, balanced habit and upright form. Excellent as a container subject. Many sizes available. 

Koto no ito - Slow growing semi-dwarf form which is excellent for container or bonsai. Thread-like green leaves vary slightly in width. Enjoy rich blend of gold, orange & crimson in the fall.  

Lima Gold - Tiny, golden green leaves adorn slender upright branches. A fully opened leaf measured less than one inch from the base to the tip of the center lobe.

Matthew - Light green leaves are soft on this slow-growing dwarf. Grows about 3" per year! Fall: gold and orange.

Mikawa yatsubasa (shown at right) - Rare and beautiful dwarf. Slender green leaves with elongated lobes display pinkish hues in spring; they become dark green during summer.  New shoots are very dense and create a fascinating overlapping pattern. Slow, 6-7 feet. Several sizes available.

Mizuho beni - A small tree in the Katsura group. It delights the spring garden with orange-yellow new foliage and leafs out at a normal time. Height in 10 years: 8 or 9 feet.

Murasaki kiyohime - Dwarf cultivar with small palmatum type foliage. Horizontal is the word that best describes its appearance. Very suited to bonsai.

Ojishi - Rare dwarf. Leaves are much like Shishigashira, but form is more compact. In fact, this is one of the most miniature cultivars.

Olsen’s Frosted Strawberry - Reticulated leaf opens a brilliant coral color.

Orange Dream (shown at right) - Spring foliage emerges bright golden yellow quickly displaying orange margins. The leaves retain the yellow tones well into summer eventually evolving to light green. Fall: orange and bright gold. Orange Dream is an upright semi dwarf tree reaching 8-12 feet tall in 10 years. Prefers afternoon shade during summer months. Available in 1, 2 and 10 gallon sizes.

Oregon Sunset - Plant forms a semi-dwarf bush. Leaves are dark red; fall color is a true Oregon sunset. 

Otto hime - Very desirable little dwarf. Vertrees' third edition calls it the "Queen of the Dwarf Group."

Otome zakura - Semi-dwarf tree that is much praised. Not readily available. Red and pink spring color. Leaves are different sizes. Green tone predominates in summer.

Pixie - Small red leaves and profuse side branching in a great small shrub-like maple. The bright red tones persist virtually all summer in full sun. Three year and older trees available.

Red pygmy - Semi-dwarf tree with unusual leaf.  The lobes on each leaf are long and narrow as in the "linearilobum" group. Red color holds until early July. Inquire as to availability.

Rhode Island Red - NEW This small tree is one of the most talked about of the new introductions to the world of Japanese maples. We expect it to grow to around six feet in ten years. Medium sized red foliage turns fiery red in the fall. Our two/ three year cultivars measure about 18' from soil level. As young trees, they will grow best in filtered sun. As they mature, they should handle nearly all day temperate sun. fall color red

Royle - Small red leaves on a compact bush-like tree. Growth is strong; but branching remains tight. We find the red tone holds well during the summer; and fall color is certainly intense. fall color red

Ruby Star - Emerging "star" foliage is red. When the tree seems pure green in the summer, a new sprinkling of red stars graces this little tree with late summer growth .

Ryusen - NEW Lush green foliage is displayed on dramatically cascading branches making this maple an ideal container subject. Place it in on a small table or plant stand where you and your garden guests will enjoy this abundant show. Remember, the branches cascade; but the leaves are not lacy or dissected. Distinctive .

Sazanami - Sharply pointed leaves create a very unusual effect, and become rich green during summer. Leaf margins are doubly serrated. Compact yet vigorous growing style. Fall color into gold tones. 3.5-6 foot trees available. 

Seigen - 5 gallon, 3ft. tall.

Sekka yatsubusa - The name translates “dwarf that turns red.” Leaves grow along slender stalks in tight groupings (but not as bunched as in the Lion’s Head Maple). Spring foliage is first red and then is edged with red. Sekka yatusubusa will grow to about 8 feet (About half that size as a container tree) and will take lots of sun.

Shaina (shown at right) - Red leaves in rosette patterns. This tree is considered a dwarf yet can reach 6 feet. Dense branching. Available in several sizes including full grown specimens.

Sharp's Pygmy - A naturally compact green tree forming a pleasing small round head. Rarely reaches three feet in height; excellent for bonsai. Green leaves have coarsely toothed margins; scarlet and orange in fall.

Shidava Gold - This tree was discovered as a witches' broom on Aoyagi by a grower in Australia. This dwarf mimics its parent plant with bright green bark. Foliage is a clear yellow-green. Experts estimate height in the average garden will be about 9 feet. Easily kept smaller in container. Available as 3 year graft and as older trees.

Shigure bato - Deep-cut green foliage comes out bright red in spring. Upright, slow growing to 6 feet. 2 gallon.

Shindeshojo - Please find photo and description in Upright listing (click here). Available in many sizes starting at one gallon.

Shishigashira - The "Lion's mane," with its sculptured habit and curled leaves, is a conversation piece. This maple is slow-growing—6 or 7 feet with age. Tolerates sun.

Skeeter's Broom - Semi-dwarf with bright red leaf. Red color persists during summer months. Growth tends to be somewhat columnar. Several sizes available.

Tama hime - The tiny leaves of this dwarf are a light green which turns darker. This is a compact-growing small form. Popular for bonsai. Crimson fall color. Please specify high or low graft.

Tsuchigumo - In the spring the leaves emerge rust red and they change to bright green. They are small with a bit of a curl. This maple remains smaller than shishigashira (leaves are somewhat the same); on older trees the twigs are closely spaced. Fall: gold with crimson edges.

Tsuma gaki - Slow growing, beautiful dwarf tree. Its red tipped leaves are vivid in spring, subtle in summer.

Utsu semi - Green leaves which have remained free from summer sun damage, etc., redden in the fall. This process will intensify for a very good show before leaves drop. Semi-dwarf stature&ma fine tree to consider for small gardens.

Villa Taranto - A semi dwarf tree with a delicate appearance created by long, narrow, leaves. This tree forms a crown with age and grows very slowly to 9 feet.

Wilson’s Pink Dwarf - Spring foliage emerges in tones of fresh pink and orange. Summer leaves are a light, bright green. Early to leaf out, Wilson’s Pink makes a charming container subject or rock garden focus. It is a slow growing, upright dwarf. Young trees, under a foot tall.