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A picture of a Purple Japanese Maple

Purple Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum (Amoenum Group) 'Atropurpureum'

Acer palmatum Atropurpureum JPG1fuA by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT (CC BY 3.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Purple Japanese Maple

A Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' tree with red leaves
A photo of Purple Japanese Maple
A photo of Purple Japanese Maple
A photo of Purple Japanese Maple
A photo of Purple Japanese Maple

Purple Japanese Maple Overview

Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' - or Purple Japanese Maple - is a small tree of bushy habit that is a popular plant with gardeners in temperate regions across the world. Suitable for many different garden styles, it is regularly seen in urban/courtyard gardens and can be grown in large patio pots. Acers are also a popular choice for Bonsai enthusiasts and Japanese themed gardens. (The species name Acer palmatum comes from the hand-like shape of its leaves.) This deciduous, purple-red leaved shrub cultivar has an attractive spreading form and stunning red leaf colour in Autumn. Winged, purple winged fruits may follow its inconspicuous red-purple flowers in spring. Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' is hardy across most of Europe and the UK - it can cope with a minimum temperature of around minus 20C. Grow in a sheltered position in full sun to partial shade and in moist, well-draining soil that is on the acidic side. Leaf colour is better if grown in partial shade but full sun can be tolerated if the soil moisture is maintained. It can also tolerate windy/exposed sites, providing it has access to moisture; however it can suffer wind & sun scorch of the leaves in drier conditions. So keep well watered during dry spells (and regularly water newly planted trees). Additional plant feed may be required for potted/container grown specimens. Acers can also benefit from spring and/or winter mulching with a helping of ericaceous material such as pine needles or chopped bracken. Little to no pruning is recommended; however, removing dead or unwanted branches can be done in late autumn to midwinter.

Common problems with Purple Japanese Maple

How to propagate Purple Japanese Maple



Softwood cuttings

Special features of Purple Japanese Maple

Pot plant

Can be trained as Bonsai trees

Attractive leaves

Autumn colour

Leaves turn bright red in autumn.

Other uses of Purple Japanese Maple

This low maintenance tree suits urban/courtyard gardens as well as cottage/informal settings. It provides mid-level structure and can be grown in a container. Acer palmatums have been given an OPALS rating of 5: use with moderation in a low allergen planting scheme.


The leaves are used in Chinese medicine.