Maples For Texas:   Updated 12-3-08

SHIN DESHOJO is the most brilliant red Japanese Maple in the spring. The small leaves are as bright as blooms. This maple is a semi-dwarf reaching a mature height of 12 feet. It makes an excellent bonsai or patio plant. In late spring the leaves turn to a bluish-green. Many times a second flush of growth appears which will be bright red creating a two-tone effect. On mature plants a pink and green mottling can appear in summer. Fall colors are yellow and red. This maple buds well with pruning enabling shaping and forcing of new growth all growing seasons. One of the best maples and easy to grow. Very similar varieties are Deshojo, Bonfire, and Beni Komachi.
BENI KAWA is a newer coral bark Japanese maple with redder bark that stays more red on older wood. It is a four-season plant which means it is attractive and interesting in all four seasons. Beni Kawa is vigorous and often grows again in the fall. Fall colors are pumpkin orange or gold with red veins that are long-lasting. To get the most colorful bark it needs lots of winter sun and cold. It is a multi-stem tree to twenty feet and should be pruned on the top of the most vigorous shoots to encourage more branches giving you more color.  SANGO KAKU, the original coral bark maple, is just as good and has fall colors of yellow or with some sun it will have apricot reds mixed in and is also long-lasting.
VIRIDIS/WATERFALL (shown early spring) is a green laceleaf, or dissectum, Japanese maple which has a very finely cut, or dissected, leaf. The leaves alone are a beautiful sight. Viridis is bright green and holds its color in our heat very well. The green is very bright and will add a green glow to your shady garden. It grows slowly and in a mounding, cascading manner to about 8 feet or more. With age the branches take on a twisting habit creating beauty even after the leaves fall. Fall colors are the brightest yellow gold and peach orange-red you can imagine. Viridis grows a little faster and stronger than its red counterpart, Crimson Queen. Watnong is similar but is more upright and turns a brilliant pinkish-red in the fall. Palmatifidium is a dark green that turns brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red.  Tamukeyama is a very nice red dissectum that can also take some hot Texas sun.
SHANTUNG MAPLE is a fast growing shade tree newly introduced from the land of Crape Myrtles, China. It has appealing sweet-gum like leaves with colors from rust to purple in the spring. Clusters of small lemon yellow flowers first appear before the leaves. With time the bark becomes heavily fissured and very attractive. This tree is tested in alkaline soils, takes drought, and has strong wood and branch angles to resist the Texas winds. Fall colors are absolutley beautifully golden yellow with some red mixed in, to orange, to solid red some years. These are seedling grown so there will be some variability. THE TREE OF THE MILLENIUM. Metro Maples thinks this is the best shade tree the DFW metroplex has ever had.
This Shantung maple is patented, PP #17367 and was discovered at Metro Maples as a chance seedling.  Acer truncatum 'FIRE DRAGON' Maple is the only one that I have found to have red fall colors every year and usually as bright as the Japanese maples. Currently no one has been licensed to grow this tree so it is only available at Metro Maples and some of the local nurseries.   (If you are a large and honest grower that produces quality trees and can propagate your own trees, call to talk about licensing.)  This super-hardy moderately fast growing shade tree is everything one could want in a quality shade tree that turns a brillant red, even in hot climates, and thrives in difficult soils and climates.  

Look for more Shantung maple cultivars from Metro Maples in the future with different leaf shapes and growth habits with yellow/orange fall colors.

CRIMSON QUEEN is a red leaf dissectum Japanese Maple and is probably the most common but most beautiful of them all. Its finely cut leaves and cascading branches give it a delicate and graceful character. It grows slowly to six feet and ten feet wide in a mushroom shape. Old Crimson Queens develop a beautiful branching pattern but can be made more beauitfiul by pruning so that you can see these branches even when the leaves are out. Brilliant red fall color that never misses. Absolutely one of the finest Japanese Maples.
SHAINA is a red leaf dwarf that grows fast when young, then grows slow and wide to only six by four feet. It is a sport of the well known Atropurpureum. It starts spring with very red leaves that after a month turn maroon while new leaves are growing of bright red giving it a two-toned effect of red and maroon. Good red fall color and interesting dense and upright habit with superior tuffness makes this a great red leaf dwarf.  Aratama is very similiar and has a slightly larger leaf.
Inaba Shidare is another great cascading dissectum. Here is a photo of fall color in a 45 gal container. This maple is a very good purple-red that also can have a very glossy leaf in May. It is a little tougher than the other red dissectums and has been looking better in comparison to them during our recent years of hotter weather.
MURASAKI KIYOHIME is a small, low and wide growing Japanese maple with excellent spring colors. It leafs-out earlier than most. The leaves in this photo are very small, only 1 inch across. Tama hime is smaller growing, but similar.  Both are attractive in winter when the hundreds of small purplish or green twigs are beautiful.

Other dwarf varieties recommended are Sharp's Pygmy, slower and more bonsai-tree like, Mikawa yatsubusa, even more slower and more upright with great fall colors, and Coonora Pygmy (below), very fast growth, great fall colors, but getting quite large and wide for a dwarf.  

Coonora Pygmy (shown fall) is a vigorous very small leaf dwarf to 4 foot tall and wide, or more.  Summer growth is a nice orange color and it has exceptionally good and rare fall colors for a dwarf.
BLOODGOOD, (shown in spring) is a popular, upright red-leaf Japanese Maple. It has a leaf shaped like your hand and starts red then becomes dark purplish-red in late spring, as shown.   It grows about 15 inches a year and can reach a height and width of twenty feet in twenty years. It tolerates sun probably as good as any. Summer color is a bronze green. Fall is always brilliant red.  

Red Emperor is similar but stays more compact, grows faster, and retains red color better in the heat.  Metro Maples believes Red Emperor is the superior large red upright Japanese maple.  Other great ones that grow over 14 feet are Suminagashi, Trompenburg, Nuresagi, O'kagami, and Fireglow for a smaller 12 foot one.

Red Emperor, or Emperor I, (shown in fall color) is a new Bloodgood-type Japanese maple with superior growth habits and colors.  The size is smaller at 15 feet and the shape is more compact and not as open or spreading like Bloodgood.  It retains red color in the heat much better and has a narrower leaf lobe, greater hardiness, and faster growing
FIREGLOW (shown in spring) is a red-leaf Japanese Maple known for holding its red color better than any in our heat. The leaf is like Bloodgood only a little more slender.   It grows only about one foot per year and matures at a much smaller size of twelve feet. Summer color is an orangish-red, and never bronzes unless you let it get too dry. Fall is a brilliant red.
GREEN FILIGREE (spring) is a most beautiful dissectum Japanese Maple. From a distance it appears yellow, but up close you can see the very fine variegation. It is a slow grower to four feet. It really needs a shady spot, or a little morning sun, with good soil preparation to be at its best. This was Vertrees favorite dissectum. Fall color is good in the orange to reds but not as bright as Crimson Queen. Green Filigree is a little harder to grow in hot climates and needs a cool spot in your yard.

Some maples that do not seem to do well here are: Aureum, Hogyoku (no orange fall color), Ukigumo (very little variegation), and all the strap-leaf varieties except Koto no Ito and Beni Otake are very good.

Here is a picture of some of my backyard which has 130 different Japanese Maples. This is in spring around the first of April. There are reds, yellows, greens, maroons, and oranges available. If you think this is good, wait until fall.

 I've also tested over 300 varieties of azaleas and 120 different Rhododendrons.

 A noted gardener from Arkansas that has been gardening for 52 years was recently quoted as saying, "My next garden will be a maple garden."

OSAKASUKI in brilliant fall color. It colors-up earlier than many and produces a very eye-catching orangish-red fall color. It also has bright green bark during the growing season, and a olive green bark in winter.
OSAKAZUKI (shown spring) has larger leaves with reddish tints over gray-green in spring, then is a rich, very bright green all summer. When some sun pokes through the shade trees and hits an Osakasuki leaf it shines. One of the favorite maples in Japan and Metro Maples, it also has bright green bark in the growing seasons, and olive-green bark in the winter.

Osakazuki is a vigorous grower with a sturdy and compact habit to fifteen feet. It produces many seeds which are a noticeably bright red all summer. If you don't want another red leaf for your yard but want more fall color, this is it.

BOSKOOP GLORY (shown spring) is a Japanese Maple that does better in Texas than in Oregon! It starts the year with a wine red color for several months then is the most brilliant of all in fall. This tree goes electric flourescent orange-red much like Osakasuki.

A strong spreading plant to 14 feet. One of the first to color-up in fall. Metro Maples gives an annual fall color award to a maple in my garden and this is the only three time winner!

RED DRAGON is a new selection with superior characteristics. A great pure-red leaf, strong and arching branching structure, and an early return to a nice red color again with the first cool breeze in fall. However, Red Dragon is slow growing and sometimes prone to branch or twig dieback from the heat, but still a very desirable cultivar.
ORANGEOLA (shown spring) has a very dense habit and is the most vigorous of all dissectums. It has a great leaf which is orange-red in early spring. It changes to greens and reds (usually green in the inner sections or in too much shade) in late spring. It usually will grow again in late spring which produces the orange leaves if in about 50 percent shade. Encourage this growth by lightly fertilizing and by removing a few or many of the terminal leaves. This maple is very cascading. It is fun to grow because it will grow, sometimes all year. Loves pruning and shaping. Fall color is brilliant ruby-red that can last a long time depending on the weather.
A. s. AUREUM or GOLDEN FULLMOON MAPLE is magnificent in cool climates. It has a greenish yellow, or chartruse, color that lights up a shady area, and this one does need shade and more water. It is a very slow grower. The leaves have eleven short lobes and can be red in the fall while the middle of the leaf is yellow in a round shape looking like a golden moon. Beautiful, but hard to grow and fall color hard to get in hot climates.

Metro Maples no longer offers the Golden Fullmoon Maple but is proud to have a vigorous, more colorful, and heat tolerant improved selection called MoonriseTM.

BENI SCHICHIHENDGE (spring) is a variegated semi-dwarf maple that is edged in orangish-pink in early spring which is very bright. The pink fades to cream which remains through fall.

 BUTTERFLY is a similar cultivar where the color is a nice soft pink, turning more quickly but to better shades of green and white in summer. Some years there is a lot of white, which is a very bright addition to a shady spot in your garden.

 BENI SCHICHIHENGE will grow faster and taller, to 9 feet, than BUTTERFLY's usual 8 foot height. Both are very good small trees.

Butterfly (spring) can be nearly all pink in spring and turns a whiter color in late spring which really lightens-up a shady spot.  It is very easy to grow and becomes very twiggy with green bark to 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide.  Fall colors are a mix of purple and magenta.
Orange Dream (shown fall) is a new cultivar with very good fall colors and also is one of the most spectacular in spring with bright yellow and orange. It keeps a very bright yellow-green color until late July when it takes on more green tones. It is a small tree, upright to 10 feet.
Acer palmatum in fall 2005. This is the toughest Japanese maple for hot weather climates and is very beautiful throughout the year. This is the tree I use for understock for the grafted cultivars. It grows vigorously to 15 to 20 feet.

You can see many 50 year old ones at the Fort Worth Japanese Garden.

Here is the difference in fall colors of Orangeola, left, and Crimson Queen, right. Both are highly desirable trees. A few minutes after taking this picture the setting sun hit Orangeola and just lit it up, creating the picture on my homepage.
Acer gresium, paperbark maple, is a rare and choice small tree. It grows slowly to 30 feet with beautiful exfoliating bark and bright fall colors of red to orange/yellows. It is easy to grow and does best with afternoon protection from the hot sun, although, most years it does fine in the heat. Can grow in alkaline soils and does not require a lot of water.
Seiryu is a easy and fast growing upright green lace leaf with very attractive green bark. Despite the small delicate leaves this is one of the most sun and drought tolerant Japanese maples. Fall colors are reds and sometimes mixed with gold.
This is Ginkgo biloba 'Autumn Gold' which is a great tree. So good that I call it an honorary maple. Also called Maidenhair Tree, this living fossil is hundreds of millions of years old and once thought extinct. Autumn Gold has a great fan-shaped leaf and the deepest yellow fall color. It is a male tree that does not produce seed and reaches 40 feet tall. This is the only tree in the world that has no known pests or disease. The only drawback is its slow growth, but worth it.
The beautiful bark of Acer gresium, Paperbark maple. Slow growing but very desirable this maple can add some texture to your garden. The 'leaves of three' defies the wisdow of 'leave it be'. The wood is extremely hard. Curls of bark when backlite from the sun is a very bright copper color.
Japanese maples, such as Nishiki gawa and Ara kawa, also have interesting bark. Some people really like a tree's bark and these are two of their favorites for Japanese maples. Both are easy to grow in hot climates and have bright fall colors of orange-red.
Fireglow in the fall can be spectacular. Sometimes it colors up a little bit late and gets frozen, but then it also has been in full glorious color on Christmas day too.
Bloodgood in the fall. Metro Maples display garden, Tsuki Gardens, relies heavily on maples but when they are all colored-up in the fall it is best described as a Fantasyland.

If you could travel to see all the trees in the billion of stars in our Milky Way galaxy, then visit the billions of other galaxies in the universe you'd find out that,  "It doesn't get any better than this!"

VIRIDIS in fall 2006. This dissectum colored-up a most brilliant orange color right after Steve Huddleston and the TV cameras left. Viridis is often a brilliant yellow with this orange mixed-in.

Fall colors in North Texas start in mid-November and peak around the end of November when we have cool nights in the fourties.  When fall temperatures stay warm the leaves have been changing colors late November into early December.

Here I am inside a 125 year old Japanese maple 'dissectum' that I found at the Scott Arboretum, west of Philadelphia during a Maple Society meeting.

Don't expect your dissectum to get that big in Texas, or in your lifetime!

Metro Maples has a Display Garden with over 50 varieties of Japanese maples and the areas largest Shantung maples. There is also a Satsuki azalea collection which contains varieties that you will not see elsewhere in the Metroplex.

There are also some Rhododendrons that you were told would not survive in Texas when in fact they are easy to grow. The Display Garden has R. makinoi, R. yakushimanum, and the following hybrids: Grace Seabrook, City Park, Very Berry, Graf Zeppelin, Nova Zembla, and Peppermint Twist, etc.  Other rare trees to see besides those that I sell, include: Japanese Stewartia, Pteracarya, Perrotia, Golden Chain Tree, Katsura, Chinese elm 'Frosty' and 'Blizzard', Mexican Live Oak, and Acer triflorum, Acer miyabei, Acer Saccharum ssp. Leucoderme, Acer Saccharum ssp. floridanum, Acer Saccharum ssp. ozarkense, Acer capillipes, Acer davidii, Acer tegmentosum 'White Tigress', Acer sieboldianum and pseudosieboldianmum, Acer ginnala, and Acer truncatums 'Baby Dragon', 'Skinny Dragon' and 'Golden Dragon', and 'Dwarf Golden Dragon', etc.  See you soon!

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