Red Dragon Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Red Dragon'

25 Reviews

Red Dragon Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Red Dragon'

25 Reviews


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


Everyone loves Japanese maples, but if you have a sunny garden you may have been told that Japanese Maples will not take sun, but the Red Dragon Japanese Maple is the exception to that. Much more sun tolerant that other forms, this beautiful, cascading small tree will thrive in the open and in full sun, as long as some water is available in the hottest months.

• Best choice for sunny locations
• Wonderful seasonal variety of leaf colors
• Perfect size for smaller gardens or spaces
• Gorgeous cascading branches
• Grows in any ordinary soil

Red Dragon Japanese Maple has fingered leaves like the claws of a dragon and in spring they emerge a bright cherry red, turn burgundy over summer, holding their color well and then exploding into crimson tones in fall. Happy in ordinary garden conditions, this is the perfect starter Japanese Maple, and the pick of connoisseurs too.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-8
Mature Width 8-12
Mature Height 8-12
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 5-8

Japanese Maples are the queens of the garden, with an air of delicate beauty that falsely suggests they are incredibly difficult to grow. This is not true; if placed in a suitable location they will spend trouble-free lives in your garden, becoming more and more beautiful and special with each passing year. In small gardens particularly, every plant has to be special to earn a place and the Red Dragon Japanese Maple is so very special it belongs in every garden. Every season will be a joy with your tree. In spring the leaves will emerge a brilliant cherry color, darkening through the summer and then turning scarlet in fall. No other Japanese Maple Tree keeps its red color so well as Red Dragon. In winter the delicate tracery of the twigs will be a charming picture in your sleeping garden

Growing Red Dragon Japanese Maple Trees

Red Dragon Japanese Maple will grow slowly to 8 or 10 feet tall, becoming broader and more dome-shaped as it grows. Because it stays small there is room for this amazing tree in even the smallest garden. Even if you don’t have a garden at all it makes a beautiful tree for a pot and is also a perfect specimen for bonsai. Growing in a gorgeous oriental container this will be a specimen for your terrace or balcony that will bring oriental grace to any setting. It can even be brought inside for short periods but it should live outdoors most of the time.

Hardiness and Sun Exposure

The Red Dragon Japanese Maple is hardy from zones 5 to 8, so it can be grown in gardens across most of America. It does best in partial shade, especially with protection from the hot afternoon sun. Red Dragon is more tolerant of sunlight than most other kinds of dissected Japanese Maples, so it will succeed in pretty sunny locations as long as it gets plenty of water. A location protected from hot drying winds or cold winter winds is best, so in front of large shrubs is an ideal location.

Planting Location

Choose the location for your Red Dragon Japanese Maple carefully. Find a place with the right amount of shade that is also a place where you can see your tree and admire it. Dig a hole three times wider than the pot and add lots of organic material and peat-moss to the soil. Place your plant in the hole, replace most of the soil and firm it well down. Then water thoroughly and replace the rest of the soil, being careful not to cover the roots with any extra soil. Mulch around your tree but keep the mulch away from the trunk.

Soil Conditions and Mulching

The Red Dragon Japanese Maple prefers deep, loamy soil rich in organic material and damp, well-drained and slightly acidic. If you soil is alkaline use a fertilizer called chelated iron each spring to keep your tree healthy. It is a good idea to also mulch around your tree each spring with peat-moss or lime-free compost or manure to conserve moisture.

Pruning and Trimming

Pruning is not normally needed but should be done in winter or late fall if required to shape your tree a little. Your tree will do best left to naturally develop its own unique grace and charm. You should immediately remove any plain-green shoots that might appear.

History and Origins of the Red Dragon Japanese Maple

The Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) is native to Japan, Korea and parts of Russia and Mongolia. It is a small tree that grows 20 to 30 feet tall in the shade beneath other larger forest trees. For centuries unusual specimens have been collected and cultivated in Japan and more recently also in North America and Europe, so that today hundreds of different forms are available. The most popular features are red leaves and finely divided, or dissected, leaves. Most of the red-leaved forms are beautiful in spring but tend to lose their color over summer and become dingy and greenish.

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Red Dragon’ was especially bred in New Zealand and recently introduced into America to have red leaves that stay a brilliant red all season. It also stays as a small tree that will reach just 8 or perhaps 10 feet tall eventually and almost as much across. When mature it is a dome-shaped tree with a twisted trunk and curving branches with a semi-weeping habit. The leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, with seven lobes and they are deeply dissected right to the base, with toothed edges as well, giving the leave a very glamorous appearance.

The leaves emerge in spring a bright cherry-red color, slowly turn crimson red during summer and then bright scarlet in fall. Not only do the leaves hold their red color well, they show a pageant of shades as the seasons follow each other. Flowers that may occur in spring are insignificant. The bark is smooth and grey-green, with delicate light-gray lines flowing across it. The young stems are red and make a beautiful picture in the winter even without the leaves.

Buying Red Dragon Japanese Maples at The Tree Center

Red Dragon Japanese Maple is such a special plant that only the exact plant will have the right color and form. So it must be produced directly from trees absolutely known to exactly the right variety. Our trees are grown the correct way, by grafting small branches of these special trees onto seedlings of ordinary Japanese Maples. That way every tree is identical to the original and you will be delivered a real Red Dragon tree. All this takes time and the trees grow slowly, so cheap trees will not be genuine. There are many inferior red Japanese Maples available that will only be a great disappointment to you.

We sell only trees that are true to the original form and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.

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Red Dragon Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Red Dragon'

25 Reviews