Red Dragon Dwarf Japanese Maple: Complete Guide To Growing

The trees act as peaceful protectors of our world, providing refuge, beauty, and homes for a variety of creatures. While each tree is distinct, some possess exceptional charm when compared to others.

The Red Dragon Dwarf Japanese maple stands out with its petite size, unique charm, and vibrant colors.

How big do Red Dragon Japanese maples get? The Red Dragon Japanese maple is a dwarf variety, which means it’s smaller than most other types of maples. On average, a mature Red Dragon can reach a height of 6 to 8 feet and a similar spread in width. This compact size makes it an excellent choice for smaller yards where space is limited.

In the following sections, we’ll go into the specifics of the Red Dragon Japanese maple, including its general appearance, growth rate, and changes in foliage color through the seasons.

We’ll also discuss its ideal growing conditions, maintenance and care requirements, potential pests and diseases, and its uses in landscape design.

Key Takeaways

  • The Red Dragon Japanese maple is a dwarf, laceleaf variety that grows to a mature height and width of 6-8 feet. It’s known for its weeping form and burgundy-red foliage that transitions to a fiery crimson in the fall.
  • This tree is adaptable to various soil types but prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It can tolerate full sun but does well in partial shade too. It’s hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 8.
  • Regular watering, annual fertilization, and occasional pruning are key to maintaining the tree’s health and appearance.
  • The Red Dragon Japanese maple pairs well with shade-loving perennials and contrasts beautifully with evergreens.

Make sure you also read this article Dwarf Japanese Maple Varieties: 25 Compact & Elegant Trees. In it, I showcase even more common and not-so-common Dwarf Japanese maples.

Red Dragon Japanese Maple

The Red Dragon Japanese maple is a captivating tree that brings a unique aesthetic to any landscape. Its compact size and vibrant foliage make it a favorite among maple enthusiasts.

Botanical NameAcer palmatum ‘Red Dragon’
TypeDwarf, laceleaf
Mature Height6-8 feet
Mature Width6-8 feet
Growth RateSlow to moderate
AdaptabilityAdaptable to various conditions, does well in full sun
Light PreferencesFull sun to partial shade
Ideal SoilMoist, well-drained, slightly acidic
Watering NeedsRegular watering, more frequent in extreme heat
Spring and Summer FoliageRed deepening to light burgundy
Fall FoliageFiery crimson

General Appearance

The Red Dragon Japanese maple is a dwarf, laceleaf variety known for its weeping form and stunning red foliage.

Its leaves are finely dissected, giving the tree a delicate, lacy appearance that contrasts beautifully with its bold color.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

With a slow to moderate growth rate, the Red Dragon Japanese maple reaches a mature height and width of 6 to 8 feet. Its compact size makes it an excellent choice for small gardens or landscapes with limited space.

Foliage Color Through the Seasons

One of the most striking features of the Red Dragon Japanese maple is its vibrant foliage.

In spring, the leaves emerge a purplish-red, and in summer, the leaves deepen to a light burgundy that adds a splash of color to any landscape.

As autumn arrives, the leaves transition to a fiery crimson, creating a stunning display that lasts until the leaves drop in winter.


The Red Dragon Japanese maple is a hardy tree that can withstand a variety of conditions. However, it thrives best in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8, where winter temperatures don’t drop below -20°F.

Red Dragon Growing Conditions

The Red Dragon Japanese maple is a versatile tree that can adapt to a variety of growing conditions.

  • Sun Requirements: While it can tolerate full sun, the Red Dragon prefers a location with partial shade to protect its delicate leaves from scorching in the intense summer heat.
  • Soil Preferences: The tree thrives in moist, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. However, it can adapt to various soil types as long as they drain quickly.
  • Protection From the Elements: Although hardy, the Red Dragon benefits from some protection against harsh winds and extreme cold, which can damage its branches and foliage.

Red Dragon Maintenance and Care

Despite its exotic appearance, the Red Dragon Japanese maple is relatively easy to care for.

  • Watering: Regular watering is essential, especially during dry periods. The soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Fertilization: A slow-release, balanced fertilizer applied in early spring can help promote vibrant foliage and healthy growth. I highly recommend this one.
  • Pruning: Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring to maintain the tree’s shape and remove any dead or damaged branches.
  • Winter Care: Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the tree can help protect its roots from freezing temperatures. In extreme winter weather, consider wrapping the tree in burlap or similar material.

Pests & Diseases

The Red Dragon is generally disease resistant but can occasionally be affected by common pests like aphids and scale. Regular monitoring and early treatment can help keep these pests at bay.

Landscape Uses

With its vibrant color and unique form, the Red Dragon Japanese maple makes a stunning focal point in any landscape. It’s perfect for small gardens, in rock gardens, or as a specimen tree in larger landscapes.

Companion Plants

The Red Dragon pairs well with shade-loving perennials like hostas and ferns. Its bright red foliage also contrasts beautifully with evergreens.

Where To Buy

Red Dragon Japanese maples are available at many local nurseries and garden centers. They can also be purchased online from reputable tree and plant retailers like these:

Closing Thoughts

The Red Dragon dwarf Japanese maple is a stunning tree that brings year-round interest to any landscape.

With its vibrant red foliage, unique form, and relatively easy care requirements, it’s a perfect choice for gardeners looking to add a splash of color to their gardens.

Check out these other popular Dwarf Japanese Maple trees: