Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum 'Adrian’s Compact'

Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum 'Adrian’s Compact'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple is a charming and beautiful small tree, growing to just 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide after 10 years. Its lobed leaves are perfectly in scale with its small size, and they pass through a succession of beautiful colors as the seasons pass. The new leaves are bright red, turning rich burgundy for the summer. In fall the tree celebrates with bright scarlet and flaming orange colors, before exposing the delicate tracery of its branches for the winter. Its small size makes it ideal for containers and planters, for growing in the foreground of beds, or to plant in small courtyards and Asian-styled gardens.

  • Bright red new leaves
  • Rich burgundy foliage all summer long
  • Wonderful fall tones of brilliant scarlet and vibrant orange
  • Perfect dwarf tree for container growing
  • Ideal choice for small gardens

Grow Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple in full sun in cooler zones, if regularly well-watered, or otherwise with some afternoon shade to protect from scorching. Some sun is needed to keep the leaves completely red all summer. Rich, moist well-drained soil is best, and add coarse sand or fine gravel to potting soils for container growing, to enhance the drainage. Pests and diseases are normally never a problem, and this tree is easy to grow in suitable light conditions and with regular watering.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9
Mature Width 3-5
Mature Height 4-6
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 5-9

Container planting has come a long way from the days of a ‘pot of geraniums’ (or petunias for the more adventurous). Today we use a wide variety of plants in pots and planters, with shrubs and small trees offering the chance to develop permanent and attractive displays that look good all year and are much less work. One very attractive way to get the most from containers is to plant small trees in them, giving height and interest on patios terraces, and balconies. You don’t even need a garden at all to enjoy the natural world, just an outdoor space – even a tiny one – and you can have a piece of nature right there to enjoy. For a small tree with continuous interest in all seasons, Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple is at the top of every list.

Growing Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple Tree

Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple is a small tree that is miniature in every way. From the tiny leaves to the slender branches, and the dense crown structure, it looks exactly like it was plucked from a dwarf’s forest. It grows slowly, making it perfect for container gardening, and in ten years or so it will have grown to about 5 feet tall, and be 3 or 4 feet wide. It is perfect for a container, a tiny urban garden, or a courtyard, or plant it at the front of a larger bed as an attractive feature. With pruning, it can be kept much smaller, and this tree is a popular choice for the art of bonsai – those amazing small trees in shallow containers.

The first thing you notice in spring is the miniature scale of the leaves. Just an inch or so long, with 5 or 7 slender lobes like fingers, they are bright, glowing red, and watching them expand slowly each day gives great pleasure, as life stirs again after the sleep of winter. Once they have fully expanded the color darkens to a rich burgundy red. After that first flush of growth leaves continue to grow for much of the summer, adding 4 to 6 inches of new growth each year. The new leaves continue to be bright red, and the contrast between that bright color and the richer burgundy is very appealing. 

When the cooler days of fall arrive, Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple gives us a wonderful climax, as the leaves turn shades of brilliant scarlet and fiery orange, before dropping like discarded jewels to the ground. These powerful colors summon in miniature the dramatic beauty of the New England forests in fall. Even in winter the delicate tracery of the red branches, and the darker browns of the stems and trunk, remind us of a sleeping forest, as your tree quietly passes the short days, dreaming of the spring to come.

Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple grows best in the morning sun, with a little afternoon shade. Too much shade will turn the summer leaves a little greenish, and too much sun creates the risk of sun-scorch and shriveling. If you are planting it directly in the ground, the soil should be rich in organic material, moist, and well-drained. Adding organic material when preparing the site and mulching each spring with a 2 to 4-inch layer of more will keep the soil cool, moist and full of invaluable nutrients for your tree. This tree is hardy to zone 5, and it rarely if ever suffers from any pests or diseases. One great advantage of container-growing is that you can adjust the light levels easily by moving it around. Trees in containers are also much easier to water regularly, so that your tree doesn’t dry out in summer. For long-term growth in pots, begin with a pot that has at least one large drainage hole. Use a compost that has about 20% coarse sand or fine gravel blended into it. These are sometimes available at garden centers as ‘tree compost’ or blend your own from regular potting soil and a bag of gravel. The gravel creates good drainage, meaning you can keep the soil moist without the risk of rotting the roots. We won’t go into the intricacies of growing bonsai here, just to say that Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple is a popular subject for it, and a great choice if this is your first venture into that great Japanese art, or if you are an experienced grower.

History and Origins of Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maples

Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple is a selected form of the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum. This is a wild forest tree in Japan, China and Korea, where trees are often 25 feet tall or more. For centuries special forms have been collected and preserved, either from outstanding seedlings or unique branches found on other plants.  In this case the tree we call ‘Adrian’s Compact’ was found as a seedling among many by Adrian Ellerbrook, who was the chief propagator at West Oregon Nursery, a wholesale nursery in Beaverton, Oregon. This was perhaps towards the end of the last century, but we don’t have a clear record of when Adrian found his wonderful seedling. This tree is very highly regarded by Japanese maple aficionados, and we know our regular maple lovers will soon buy out our stock. Order now, while we still have some plants of this great tree available to send you – don’t wait.


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Adrian’s Compact Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum 'Adrian’s Compact'