Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Acer palmatum 'Crimson Queen'

Common Name
Crimson Queen Red Japanese Maple
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Shrub
Size
4' -8' x 5' - 10'
Flower Color
Red
Bloom Time
Leaves
Purplish-Red to Crimson Red
Evergreen
Deciduous
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
Growth Rate
Slow
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Fall Color
  • Low Maintenance
  • Specimen
  • Unusual Shape
Water Use
  • Moderate
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Loam
Drainage
Good Drainage
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

This cultivar is one of the best Japanese maples for color and shape. It is a dwarf tree or multi-stemmed shrub with cascading branches and a weeping habit. It has finely cut, palmate (7 -9 lobes) leaves that are a bright red in the spring, maturing to burgandy in summer and turn crimson red in the fall. The flowers are very small and red. This is a beautiful, ornamental specimen tree or shrub. It can be grown in both the ground and in containers.

This Acer prefers light shade and a sheltered location but can tolerate sun in coastal areas. In hotter parts of Marin the afternoon sun will scorch leaves. Plant in amended, slightly acidic to neutral soil with good drainage. If you have poorley drained clay soil consider planting your tree slightly above grade & improve the soil drainage with pine bark mulch. Apply a 3-4 inch layer of mulch arond the tree to protect the tree roots from the drying summer heat. Keep the mulch 1 - 2 inches away from the trunk to keep the trunk free from diseases. Water frequently until established.

Your tree may need staking for the first several years to help it achieve height. It can be pruned anytime however, it is best done in late winter before bud swell. Also remove any suckers that come up near the bottom of the trunk.

This plant is susceptible to Verticillium Wilt and stem canker.

 

Master Gardener Comments

I have several varieties of Acer palmatum. Crimson Queen is my favorite. I love the change in leaf color with the change of seasons. My plants are all located in light shade. They, like roses, can tolerate some drought when established.

Varietals

A. palmatum 'Autumn Fire' - yellow green leaves with pink edges in spring turning to green in summer and bright red in fall

A. palmatum 'Garnet' - burgandy leaves in spring and summer changing to scarlet in fall. More horizontal in form then most others

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