Acer palmatum artopurpureum ‘Red Dragon’

Acer palmatum artopurpureum 'Red Dragon'

Cutleaf Japanese Maple, Threadleaf Japanese Maple

planted in the Spring of 2008, on hill by Barn

Family: Aceraceae (ay-ser-AY-see-ee)
Genus: Acer (AY-ser)
Species: palmatum var. dissectum
Cultivar: Red Dragon


Dissectum (very deeply divided and dissected)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Propagation Methods:
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Although greatly reliant on its training when still young, ‘Red Dragon’ in general remains at maturity loosely structured showing its appealing form. ‘Red Dragon’ will not grow true from its seeds & is propagated from cuttings & grafts. It needs rich soil, neutral to acidic, moist & well draining. Growth rate is slow, though young specimens develop more rapidly at six or eight inches per year & will at first require attentive training to develop the most artful form. After the tree is well trained & shaped during its youth, the slow rate of growth into maturity means it will retain its shape without constant attention. Over time the tree can become wider than tall, though it is trainable to retain a narrower form. As a semi-dwarf it is usually encountered in the three to five foot range (at the ten-year age), but seven or eight foot specimens are encountered & over a great length of time it will become even larger. Its finely dissected leaves are said to resemble dragon claws. These leaves are a gorgeous purple-red at emergence in April, darkening to a purple burgundy which it holds strongly throughout the Summer. The leaves turn bright-bright red in the Autumn. The bark of young limbs is purple to nearly black, quite striking in winter when leaves are gone. Wow!!

About the Author


Maria is currently growing everything from seed that she can lay her hands on. Also playing with colours and textures to fulfill her garden desires...