Guide to Dwarf Bloodgood Japanese Maple ‘Rhode Island Red’

The ‘Rhode Island Red’ variety of the dwarf Bloodgood Japanese maple is a charming and alluring choice for any garden. Its small stature and striking leaves make it a delightful addition that will add visual appeal throughout the year.

Perfect for small gardens or landscapes with limited space, the ‘Rhode Island Red’ brings the majesty of the Bloodgood Japanese Maple to a smaller, more manageable scale.

Is there a Dwarf Bloodgood Japanese maple? Yes, there is a dwarf variety of the Bloodgood Japanese Maple known as ‘Rhode Island Red’. It maintains the stunning characteristics of the traditional Bloodgood, including its vibrant red foliage and attractive form but in a smaller size that’s perfect for limited spaces.

If you want all the beauty of a red Japanese maple but don’t have the space for a large tree, this dwarf variety might be the perfect solution.

Let’s take a look at all this tree has to offer, learn about its ideal planting site and care needs, investigate potential issues to be aware of, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • The dwarf Bloodgood Japanese maple ‘Rhode Island Red’ is a compact, vibrant tree that’s perfect for smaller gardens or landscapes with limited space.
  • It’s known for its bright red foliage that darkens to burgundy in summer and turns fiery red in fall.
  • This tree thrives in full sun to partial shade, prefers well-draining, slightly acidic soil, and benefits from protection from harsh winds and extreme cold.
  • While generally resistant to pests and diseases, it’s important to monitor the tree regularly and treat any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

This is just one of the many incredible varieties of Dwarf Japanese maples. Be sure to also check out: Dwarf Japanese Maple Varieties: 25 Compact & Elegant Trees

Dwarf Bloodgood Japanese Maple

The dwarf Bloodgood Japanese maple ‘Rhode Island Red’ is a special variety that brings the beauty of the Bloodgood to smaller spaces.

This tree is an upright, dwarf type, typically reaching a mature height and width of about 6feet. It has a moderate growth rate and is adaptable to a range of conditions.

Botanical NameAcer palmatum ‘Rhode Island Red’
TypeUpright, dwarf
Mature Height5-6 feet
Mature Width6-8 feet
Growth RateModerate
AdaptabilityHardy in USDA zones 5-8
Light PreferencesFull sun to partial shade
Ideal SoilWell-draining, slightly acidic
Watering NeedsRegular watering, especially in dry conditions
Spring and Summer FoliageBright red darkening to burgundy
Fall FoliageFiery red

General Appearance

The ‘Rhode Island Red’ is an upright, dwarf tree with a rounded canopy. Its deeply lobed leaves are a rich red color, providing a striking visual element in any landscape.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

This dwarf variety grows at a moderate rate, reaching a mature height of 5-6 feet and a slightly larger width of about 6-8 feet. This compact size makes it an excellent choice for smaller gardens or landscapes with limited space.

Foliage Color Through the Seasons

The ‘Rhode Island Red’ is known for its vibrant foliage. The leaves emerge bright red in spring, darken to a rich burgundy in summer, and turn a fiery red in the fall, offering year-round visual interest.


The ‘Rhode Island Red’ is hardy in USDA Zones 5-8, demonstrating its adaptability to a range of climates and conditions.

Dwarf Bloodgood Growing Conditions

You only get one chance when it comes to planting, so be sure that your tree is set in an ideal location and given what it needs to thrive.

Sun Requirements

The ‘Rhode Island Red’ thrives in full sun to partial shade. In regions with intense summer heat, providing some afternoon shade can help protect the tree from leaf scorch.

Note that without sufficient sunlight, the pretty red leaves will become green, so a location with strong morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal.

Soil Preferences

This variety prefers well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils, as long as they drain well.

Protection From the Elements

While the ‘Rhode Island Red’ is a hardy tree, it can benefit from some protection from harsh elements.

A location sheltered from strong winds can help prevent damage to the tree’s delicate foliage. In colder climates, consider a location that offers some protection from harsh winter winds and extreme cold.

Dwarf Bloodgood Maintenance and Care

‘Rhode Island Red’ Japanese maple doesn’t require very much care once established, but there are a few key elements to be mindful of.


The ‘Rhode Island Red’ needs regular watering, especially during dry periods. However, it’s important to avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot. The soil should be moist but not waterlogged.


A slow-release, balanced fertilizer, ideally one formulated specifically for Japanese maple trees, applied in early spring can support the tree’s growth and health.

It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and frequency.


Pruning is generally minimal for the ‘Rhode Island Red’. It’s best to prune in late winter or early spring, removing any dead or damaged wood and shaping the tree as desired. Avoid heavy pruning as this can stress the tree.

Winter Care

In winter, applying a layer of mulch around the base of the tree can help protect the roots from freezing temperatures. The mulch should be a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot and pest issues.

Pests & Diseases

Japanese maples, including the ‘Rhode Island Red’, are generally resistant to many pests and diseases. However, they can occasionally be affected by certain issues.

Aphids, scale insects, and mites can sometimes be a problem, but these pests can often be managed with regular monitoring and appropriate treatments if necessary.

Diseases such as verticillium wilt, leaf spot, and root rot can also affect Japanese maples.

  • Verticillium wilt is a soil-borne disease that can cause wilting and death of branches.
  • Leaf spot diseases can cause browning and premature leaf drop.
  • Root rot can occur in overly wet soils and can be prevented by ensuring the tree is planted in well-draining soil.

Landscape Uses

The ‘Rhode Island Red’ is perfect for small gardens, rock gardens, or as a focal point in a mixed border. Its vibrant foliage and compact form make it a standout feature in any landscape.

Companion Plants

Consider pairing the ‘Rhode Island Red’ with plants that have contrasting foliage colors or textures for a dynamic landscape.

For example, ornamental grasses, perennials with blue or silver foliage, or flowering shrubs can complement the tree’s vibrant red leaves.

Where To Buy

Dwarf Bloodgood Japanese maples can be purchased from reputable nurseries or online plant retailers such as these:

Closing Thoughts

The dwarf Japanese maple ‘Rhode Island Red’ is a stunning tree that brings year-round interest and beauty to any landscape.

With its vibrant foliage, compact size, and relatively easy care, it’s a fantastic choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of drama to their gardens.

With proper care and attention, this tree can be a standout feature in your garden for years to come.

Check out these other popular Dwarf Japanese Maple trees: