Crimson Prince Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Prince'

Crimson Prince Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Prince'

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


The ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple is an outstanding variety, with bright red spring leaves that stay red all summer in all but the hottest zones. The fall colors are early, and a brilliant scarlet that sets your garden on fire. The large leaves are divided into slender lobes, but scorching and drying are minimal with some attention. This tree is fast-growing with an upright habit and it can reach 15 feet tall within 10 years under good conditions. Grow it as a fabulous lawn specimen or in a row for an amazing screen. Plant it in a garden of any style, around your house, in beds or out in a wooded area.

  • Outstanding vigorous red-leaf variety
  • Bold red leaves stay red all summer
  • Brilliant scarlet fall shades
  • Perfect lawn specimen or screening tree
  • Reaches 15 feet within 10 years or so

The ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple should be grown with some sun for part of the day, and in cold zones with good watering it will grow in full sun. Afternoon shade, or dappled overhead shade is ideal. The soil should be enriched with organic material, and moist but well-drained. Established trees can handle ordinary summer dryness, but this tree is not drought resistant and benefits from periodic watering. It is usually untroubled by pests or diseases and needs little attention to do well, once established. Prune as needed for the exact form you want.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 15-20
Mature Height 15-20
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 4-8

Around the world, the most popular of all small trees are the red-leaf Japanese maples. These great trees are relatively easy to grow, across large parts of the country, and make wonderful specimens for all kinds of gardens. The most famous of the reds is ‘Bloodgood’, but that variety has been overtaken by improved versions. For our money you can’t beat the ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple for that – the colors are brighter and the plant is bushier and densely branched. This is a moderate-sized tree that will reach 20 feet in not too long – imagine that glowing on your lawn in all its glory – since it is among the fastest-growing of all the Japanese maples. The slender hand-like leaves are beautiful – just pluck one and study it. They glow crimson in spring and scarlet in fall, and in all but the hottest places they stay red through summer too. If you want the best all-round Japanese maple – here it is.

Growing the ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple

Size and Appearance

The ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple is a medium-sized deciduous tree with an upright trunk, radiating branches, and a dense, upright crown that is round to oval, staying branched close to the ground if you don’t prune it up. It is relatively fast-growing, among the fastest of all the Japanese maples, reaching 15 feet within 10 years, under good growing conditions. The young stems are smooth, glossy and dark red – so dark they are almost black. Older stems become rugged and rougher, turning dark purplish-brown. The dark color gives a striking winter effect.

The leaves are up to 5 inches long and wide, divided into 5 or 7 long, narrow lobes which reach right to the base of the leaf. Each lobe is edged in many tiny serrations, with a pronounced vein down the center. Spring color is deep red, more red and not as dark as ‘Bloodgood’, making a spectacular feature in any garden. It also stays red through summer, except in the hottest regions. Even there it keeps its color much longer, and you can expect it to be mid-August before it becomes more bronzy and then a dark reddish-green if you have hot summers. Then, in early fall, as soon as the nights begin to cool, they turn a wonderful, striking scarlet, a fabulous effect you are going to love. Older trees develop clusters of small maple keys, which are deep red, appearing as if by magic as soon as the leaves fall, and brightening the tree through much of the winter.

Using the ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple in Your Garden

As a specimen tree – on a lawn or in beds – for a smaller garden, the ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple can’t be beaten. It can be grown beside your house or out on the lawn, along a drive or as a focal-point across the garden. With its dense growth, it would make a spectacular screen along a boundary or fence. It can be grown in planter boxes and tubs as well, in zones 6 onwards.


This tree is fully cold-resistant in zone 5, and will also grow in most of zone 4 with minimal or no winter damage. It grows all through warmer zones, preferring damper summers, and being more difficult to grow in areas with very hot, dry summers. It would probably grow even in zone 9, but there can be some issues with lack of winter cold when growing most Japanese maples in that zone. We recommend varieties like the coral-bark Japanese maple, ‘Sango-kaku’, for zone 9.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

In cooler zones you can definitely grow the ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple in full sun, as long as the ground isn’t too dry. In most areas, some light shade, preferably in the afternoon, is best. The light dappled shade beneath larger deciduous trees is also very suitable. The best fall colors develop if there is at least a few hours of direct sunlight on the tree in that season. The ideal soil is deep, rich loam that is moist but well-drained. However, most reasonable garden soils will support this tree if they are enriched with generous amounts of organic materials like composts of all kinds or well-rotted manures.

Maintenance and Pruning

Water regularly during the first couple of years, and mulch in spring with some rich organic materials. Water established trees during dry spells as needed, soaking deeply, as this tree has only limited drought resistance. If it should scorch in summer from drought this rarely has long-term consequences unless it happens for several years in a row, when trees will be weakened. Pests and diseases are rarely an issue, and in the right conditions this is an easy tree to grow. You can prune it as you like, in early summer preferably, for a taller trunk or a bushy form, but prune as it grows, not once it is mature, to keep the trunks free of scars.

History and Origin of the ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple

The Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, grows naturally in Japan, Korea and parts of China. The first trees to arrive in America and Europe in the second-half of the 19th century caused a sensation, as the Japanese had been collecting special forms of them for centuries. Varieties with colored leaves in spring and summer have always been incredibly popular and a very early introduction was ‘Tanabata’. This was superseded in 1857 by a variety called ‘Atropurpureum’, introduced in Europe by the Belgian nursery of Louis Benoît van Houtte. America’s oldest nursery was Bloodgood Nurseries, in Flushing, New York, and at some point they released an improved seedling grown from ‘Atropurpureum’ that became the well-known variety ‘Bloodgood’. Since then there have been several varieties discovered as seedlings of ‘Bloodgood’. That is how Princeton Nurseries, in Princeton, New Jersey, gave us ‘Crimson Prince’, released in 1988. They were granted a patent (PP# 7,217) in 1990, now expired, based on the faster growth and better summer color of their plant.

Buying the ‘Crimson Prince’ Japanese Maple at the Tree Center

If you covet a red-leaf Japanese maple, you can do no better than to choose ‘Crimson Prince’. Fast-growing, with durable and bright summer color and spectacular fall colors, this vigorous and reliable tree is a winner. Let it win for you, but order quickly – we can’t keep great trees like this in stock for long.

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Crimson Prince Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Prince'