Great Japanese Maples for Containers

Acer palmatum

  • Acer, Acer palmatum, acer palmatum dissectum, Japanese Maple, Trees for containers, Japanese maples for containers

Native to Japan, Korea and China, Acer palmatum is a species to which most Japanese Maples belong. It includes a rich variety of deciduous shrubs or small trees with graceful habits, elegantly cut leaves and extraordinarily colorful foliage, particularly in the fall when the leaves warm up to dazzling shades of golden-yellow, red-purple and bronze, before shedding to the ground.

  • Easy to grow, Japanese Maples are cold-hardy, remarkably adaptable to soil and climatic conditions, require little maintenance and are worthy featured positions such as lawn specimens or near patios where their spectacular leaf color changes throughout the year can be admired.
  • There are countless dwarf Japanese Maple varieties which are perfectly suited to container planting. Since many Japanese Maples are slow growers, medium-sized varieties could also be considered for container planting, provided you are aware that they will outgrow their pots after a few years and will need to move to the garden. 

When it comes to selecting the right Japanese Maple, the task may become daunting as there are many varieties to choose from. Below is a selection of the best or most distinctive Japanese Maples that could become the highlight of your containers. Many have been acknowledged by the Royal Horticultural Society as plants of outstanding excellence for garden decoration through its Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

antoninavincent / 123RF Stock Photo

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 5 – 9  
Heat Zones 2 – 8
Climate Zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant TypeShrubs, Trees
Plant FamilyAcer - Maples
ExposureFull Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Water NeedsAverage
Soil TypeChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PhAcid, Neutral
Soil DrainageMoist but Well-Drained
Landscaping Ideas Patio and Containers

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