The Best Japanese Maples for Shade

Best Japanese Maples for Shade

Japanese Maples are one of the most loved trees for all the Japanese inhabitants living in Japan. Japanese grow all kinds of maples to beautify their gardens with colorful leaves and flowers. They also must have maple trees in or around their households as they enjoy growing these trees as a refreshing and peaceful sight.

Japanese maple trees grow 22 to 35 feet tall under the shade of other larger trees in forests. That is why it requires extra care, attention, and the right sense of planting to plant these trees in your gardens. People usually believe that these trees do not grow in home gardens, but the Japanese have proved them wrong by planting various maple trees in their home gardens.

Structure and Appearance of Maple Trees

Japanese maple trees grow under shade mostly and can grow up to 20 to 35 feet tall in general. They usually grow upright but, there are other varieties of round shape and color as well. These trees can have more than one trunk and colorful leaves. The trunk bark has a colorful variety as well. They grow into small flowers as the spring season begins. They usually grow under the larger plants’ shade, so they are shade-loving plants in general.

The Best Japanese Maples for Shade

Many Japanese Maples help makes your garden look beautiful and create a soothing and comforting space around your home and yourself. But, here are the best Japanese Maples for Shade discussed below:

Green Cascade

Aser Japonicum, also known as Green Cascade, is one of the Japanese maples that grow under shade. As the name says, it’s green in color, but its leaves turn red or orange in the spring season. It can grow 20 to 25 feet tall partially in Sun and shade alternatively.

Autumn Moon

Acer shirasawanum, also known as Autumn Moon, is another interesting choice while looking among the best Japanese Maples for shade. It is called Autumn Moon because it blooms in bright yellow color with pink-toned leaves. These leaves turn into red, orange, or yellow leaves in the autumn season. It goes 25 feet tall when keeping in the shade and well-drained moist soil.

Mikawa Yatsubusa

This maple belongs to a small family as it can only grow up to 5 feet in rich green to light green color, which turns into yellow-orange in the autumn season. This maple has round and shingled leaves, mostly at the top. This Japanese maple is also called a container plant because it has small height, and it is the best to keep in home gardens.

WaterFall Maple

This Japanese maple is purely clear and the most authentic representation of its name. It is called a waterfall as its leaves grow from upward to downward, just like a real waterfall. This maple plant also belongs to a short-height family as it can only grow up to 10 feet maximum. Its leaves turn from bright green to yellow to orange for the fall season, generously covering the tree.

Beni Kawa

Acer Palmatum or Beni Kawa is a four-season plant as it is available round the year with its sparkling fresh green leaves. The leaves turn from green to golden yellow in the fall season, but the winter-like snowy backdrop produces an eye-pleasing effect. Beni kawa makes up to 15 feet tall plant with partially dark and well-moist skin. Moreover, it is wide in the structure that complements it entirely.

Acer Palmatum Shindeshojo

This Japanese maple can grow with bright crimson pinkish leaves that can grow up to 8 to 10 feet generally. Its leaves turn into green color as it grows, and they make a tall and wide structure to please everyone’s eyes and mind. This plant is thick, shrubby, and dense with purplish cum reddish-brown trunks at its young age.

Murasaki Kiyohime

This Japanese maple belongs to short-heightened plants as it is less tall than wide. At the initial stages, its leaves are green, but then, over time, they turn into a deep purple. Its dwarf maple plant creates an eye-catching and beautiful juxtaposition in the garden. It grows wide with lesser height but still, it can beautify your gardens.


It is another great pick among all the best Japanese maples for shade as it belongs to taller plants. It can grow up to 15 to 20 feet with pink buds that turn into cream, fuchsia, and green color leaves. Its leaves turn into glowing golden colors in the winter season. These Japanese maples are worth buying to give your home garden into a stunningly spectacular space.

Sangu-Kaku, Coral Bark Maple

It is a four-seasoned plant that can grow up to 20 to 25 feet tall. Like other maples, its leaves turn from purple to rich green over time. The bark is made up of bright red color and becomes the center-of-attraction as fall season takes all the leaves from it. This maple is a great choice to put into your home garden to make it as fancy as any colorful garden can be.\


This Japanese maple can grow up to 20 to 25 feet with colorful leaves. It keeps changing its color from bright red to mahogany to crimson red again. It can easily tolerate Sun and heat. It grows itself whenever it wants to and beautifies your gardens. It grows taller with extremely thin yet rolled leaves from the top that gives them a finger-like structure. They are dense and create dramatic effects.


It is another type of Japanese maple plant that grows slowly, and it can be 15 to 18 feet tall. It leaves grows in layers with pointed edges in density and gives quite an awkward impression at a young age, and becomes weirder when they get matured. They get mature sooner than other maples. The leaves turn from green to dark green and then finally orange-red to yellow in the autumn season. This transformation of colors gives an eye-pleasing effect to all the people around them.


It is one of the best Japanese maple plants that give an enchanting and mesmerizing effect to your garden. It grows slowly and can be 9 feet tall only with a green trunk and dense leaves. This plant has white leaves that can get damaged on Sun easily. That is why it is best to keep this plant in the shade.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is the right shade for Japanese maples to keep in?

A. Japanese maples like to grow in dappled shade.  Not all the varieties can tolerate full sunny weather. It varies from type to type but, they cannot grow in windy areas undoubtedly.

Q. When a Japanese maple should be planted?

A. The time and day of planting Japanese maple depend upon the weather conditions. A few Japanese maples are prone to get damaged in Sun at the early stages of their planting. So, winter could be the right time to plant any Japanese maple to avoid risk and damage.

Q. Are these plants expensive and rare to get?

A. Japanese maples most probably range up to 50 to 60 dollars. They are not as pricey or highly expensive and easily approachable as well. These plants need extra weather care, attention, and the right place to plant.

Q. Do they require more watering than usual plants?

A. For all the Japanese maples, less is more as they do not require maximum or repeated watering sessions unless they are in a drought situation. So, keep water minimal but regular to avoid inconvenience or drying of plants. Moreover, watering the plants unnecessarily can over hydrate them, and the right minerals from the root-soil get rinsed off with the excessive amount of water that is quite dangerous for a plant’s growth.  

Final Verdict

Japanese maples are the most beautiful plants as they are unique in color, shape, and appearance. Many Japanese maples for shade keep them safe and secure under lesser heat and protect them from direct sun heat. There are many options available in terms of varieties. You can pick and choose the best or your favorite from any of them. But, keep in mind to plant them in winter to avoid damaging them with extra sun heat or warm summer temperature.