Velvet Viking Japanese Maple: Perfect Tree for Small Spaces

The Velvet Viking Japanese maple is a notable variety of Japanese maples.

With its compact size and vibrant foliage, it’s particularly suited for smaller spaces.

Despite its smaller stature, this hardy tree doesn’t compromise on the aesthetic appeal that Japanese maples are known for. 

Whether you’re looking to enhance a small garden, a patio, or even a container, the Velvet Viking offers a versatile and attractive solution.

How tall do Velvet Vikings get? The Velvet Viking Japanese maple is a dwarf variety, typically reaching a height of just 2 to 3 feet and a width of 4-5 feet when fully mature. This compact size makes it an ideal choice for those with limited space but who still desire the beauty and tranquility that a Japanese maple offers.

In the following sections, we’ll explore the unique characteristics of the Velvet Viking Japanese maple from its stunning seasonal foliage to its care requirements.

Read on to discover why the Velvet Viking is the perfect tree for your small space.

Key Takeaways

  • This dwarf, weeping variety is perfect for small spaces due to its compact size (2-3 feet at maturity) and vibrant foliage.
  • The Velvet Viking thrives in partial shade to full sun, prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil, and requires protection from extreme elements.
  • Regular watering, minimal fertilization, occasional pruning, and winter protection are key to maintaining a healthy Velvet Viking.
  • Versatile in landscaping, the Velvet Viking pairs well with shade-loving perennials and plants that prefer slightly acidic soil.

There are even more incredible varieties of Japanese maples to check out and I’ve featured them in my article 30 Gorgeous Japanese Maple Varieties.

Velvet Viking Japanese Maple

The Velvet Viking Japanese maple is a unique variety that brings the beauty and elegance of larger Japanese maples to smaller landscapes.

Its compact size, hardiness, and stunning foliage make it a standout choice for a variety of settings.

Botanical nameAcer palmatum ‘Velvet Viking’
TypeDwarf, weeping
Mature height2-3 feet
Mature width4-5 feet
Growth rateSlow
AdaptabilityHardy and adaptable to a variety of conditions
Light preferencesPartial shade to full sun
Ideal soilWell-drained, slightly acidic
Watering needsRegular watering, more in extreme heat
Spring and summer foliageDeep purple-red
Fall foliageBright red

General Appearance

The Velvet Viking is a weeping, dwarf variety of Japanese maple. Its leaves are deeply lobed, giving the tree a delicate, lace-like appearance.

The small stature of the Velvet Viking doesn’t detract from its visual impact. In fact, its size combined with its weeping form and vibrant foliage make it a focal point in any landscape.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

The Velvet Viking is a slow-growing tree, typically reaching a mature height of 2 to 3 feet with a slightly larger width of 4-5 feet. This compact size makes it an ideal choice for small gardens, patios, and containers.

Foliage Color Through the Seasons

One of the standout features of the Velvet Viking is its vibrant foliage. In spring and summer, the leaves are a deep purple-red color. Come fall, the leaves transform into a bright, fiery red, adding a splash of color to the landscape.


Despite its delicate appearance, the Velvet Viking is a hardy tree. It’s adaptable to a variety of conditions and can tolerate cold winters, making it a resilient choice for many climates.

Velvet Viking Growing Conditions

Understanding the ideal growing conditions for the Velvet Viking Japanese maple is key to ensuring its health and vitality. This tree is adaptable and hardy, but there are certain conditions it prefers.

Sun Requirements

The Velvet Viking thrives in partial shade to full sun. While it can tolerate a fair amount of sunlight, it’s important to protect it from harsh afternoon sun, especially in hotter climates, to prevent leaf scorch.

Soil Preferences

When it comes to soil, the Velvet Viking prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Good drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

While the tree can adapt to various soil types, it tends to perform best in rich, loamy soil.

Protection From the Elements

Despite its hardiness, the Velvet Viking can benefit from some protection from the elements.

In winter, consider mulching around the base of the tree to protect the roots from freezing temperatures. In summer, ensure the tree gets enough water, especially during dry spells or heatwaves.

Velvet Viking Maintenance and Care

While the Velvet Viking Japanese maple is a relatively low-maintenance tree, there are a few care practices that can help it thrive.


Regular watering is crucial, especially during the tree’s first few years. The soil should be kept consistently moist but not overly saturated. During hot, dry periods, the tree may require additional watering.


The Velvet Viking typically doesn’t require heavy fertilization. If your soil is poor, an annual application of a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in early spring can help promote healthy growth.

I personally use and recommend this one by FoxFarm. It is designed specifically for Japanese maples and always produces great results.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying fertilizer, and avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers for Japanese maples.


Pruning is not usually necessary for the Velvet Viking as it naturally maintains a compact, weeping shape.

However, you can prune to remove dead or damaged wood or to maintain a desired size or shape. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring when the tree is dormant.

Winter Care

In colder climates, it’s a good idea to apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree in late fall. This helps protect the roots from freezing temperatures.

Be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot.

Pests & Diseases

Common pests include aphids and scale insects, which can be controlled with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. 

Diseases to watch out for include Verticillium wilt and root rot, both of which can be prevented by ensuring the tree is planted in well-drained soil and not overwatered.

Landscape Uses

The Velvet Viking Japanese maple is incredibly versatile in the landscape. Its compact size makes it an excellent choice for small gardens, rock gardens, and container planting.

It can be used as a focal point in a small yard or planted in a series for a dramatic effect in larger landscapes.

Its weeping form and vibrant foliage also make it a great addition to a Zen garden or a Japanese-themed landscape.

Companion Plants

When choosing companion plants for the Velvet Viking, consider plants that enjoy similar growing conditions.

Shade-loving perennials like hostas or ferns can complement the tree’s vibrant foliage. Rhododendrons and azaleas, which also prefer slightly acidic soil, can make great companions as well.

For a striking contrast, consider pairing the Velvet Viking with plants that have golden or variegated foliage.

Where To Buy

The Velvet Viking Japanese maple is available at many nurseries and garden centers, though it isn’t quite as common as other varieties. If you can’t find it locally, try these online retailers:

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