Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum Var. Dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’)

As a plant scientist, I am excited to delve into the world of Japanese maples, particularly the exquisite variety known as Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’. This unique plant has captivated the hearts of enthusiasts and horticulturists alike with its stunning foliage, graceful form, and versatile nature. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key aspects of this beautiful tree, including its culture, uses, care requirements, propagation, common diseases and pests, and much more.

What is a Japanese Maple?

Japanese maple, scientifically known as Acer palmatum, is a deciduous tree native to Japan, Korea, and China. It belongs to the Sapindaceae family and is renowned for its elegant and intricate leaves, vibrant autumn colors, and overall ornamental appeal. The ‘Crimson Queen’ variety is a particularly popular cultivar, valued for its delicate, lacy foliage and its stunning crimson coloration during the fall season. This cultivar is a standout feature in gardens, landscapes, and even container plantings due to its compact size, unique texture, and exceptional visual interest.

Key Takeaways

Before delving into the specific aspects of Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’, let’s highlight some key takeaways about this captivating Japanese maple variety.

  • Botanical Name: Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’
  • Common Names: Japanese Maple, Crimson Queen Maple, Japanese Red Maple
  • Growth: Compact, slow-growing, mounding habit
  • Foliage: Finely dissected, deeply lobed, palmate leaves
  • Autumn Color: Striking crimson to deep red hues
  • Uses: Ornamental tree, landscape accent, container plant
  • Care Requirements: Partial shade, well-draining soil, regular watering

Now, let’s explore the various aspects of cultivating and caring for this extraordinary plant.


Understanding the cultural requirements of Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ is essential for ensuring its optimal growth and health. Here are the key cultural considerations for this Japanese maple variety.


The ‘Crimson Queen’ maple is predominantly cherished for its ornamental value. With its gracefully arching branches and distinctive foliage, it serves as a captivating focal point in gardens and landscapes. Its compact size makes it a perfect choice for smaller gardens, courtyards, and even container plantings. Additionally, the seasonal transformation of its leaves from vibrant green to rich crimson makes it a stunning addition to any autumn landscape.


While Japanese maples are relatively drought-resistant once established, adequate moisture is crucial during their initial establishment and during hot, dry periods. Proper watering, especially in the early years, helps in promoting healthy root development and overall vigor. When watering, it’s important to ensure that the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other water-related issues.


Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ thrives in partial shade to full sun conditions. In climates with hot summers, providing some protection from the intense midday sun is beneficial, as it prevents leaf scorch and maintains the plant’s overall health. Partial shade is particularly advantageous in regions with hot summers or in areas where the tree is exposed to strong sunlight for extended periods.


Proper fertilization is essential for promoting healthy growth and vibrant foliage in ‘Crimson Queen’ maples. A balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants is ideal. Applying the fertilizer in early spring before new growth appears provides essential nutrients for the upcoming growing season. It’s important to follow the recommended application rates to avoid over-fertilizing, which can be detrimental to the tree’s health.


Well-draining, slightly acidic soil is fundamental for the optimal growth of Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’. Loose, fertile soils that retain moisture without becoming waterlogged are ideal. Incorporating organic matter such as compost or peat moss into the soil during planting helps improve its structure and moisture retention while providing essential nutrients for the tree.


Pruning Japanese maples, including the ‘Crimson Queen’ variety, is an essential aspect of their care. Regular pruning helps maintain the tree’s shape, eliminates dead or diseased branches, and enhances air circulation within the canopy. Pruning is best carried out during the dormant season to minimize stress on the tree and to allow proper wound healing. It’s important to use sharp, clean pruning tools and to avoid over-pruning, as Japanese maples are sensitive to excessive cutting.


Propagation of Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ can be achieved through several methods, including seed propagation, grafting, and softwood cutting. While growing the tree from seeds is possible, it often results in variations from the parent plant. Grafting onto suitable rootstock is a common method for ensuring that the new plants retain the characteristics of the desired cultivar. Softwood cuttings, taken in late spring or early summer, can also be utilized for propagation, although they require proper care and attention to successfully root and establish.

Container Popularity

The ‘Crimson Queen’ variety’s compact size and exquisite foliage make it highly popular for container gardening. Its elegant form and vibrant coloration make it a striking choice for patios, decks, or any outdoor space where a touch of beauty is desired. When cultivating ‘Crimson Queen’ in containers, it’s crucial to select a well-draining potting mix and to provide adequate moisture and nutrients. Additionally, overwintering potted Japanese maples may require suitable protection during colder months, especially in regions with harsh winters.

Common Diseases

Although Japanese maples are relatively resilient, they can be susceptible to certain diseases. Understanding and identifying common diseases is vital for implementing timely and effective management practices. Some common diseases that can affect Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ include:

  • Anthracnose: This fungal disease can cause leaf spotting, wilting, and dieback. Proper sanitation and the removal of diseased plant material can help manage and prevent the spread of anthracnose.
  • Verticillium Wilt: This soil-borne disease can lead to wilting, leaf scorch, and eventual decline. Planting the tree in well-draining, healthy soil and avoiding stress through proper care can help reduce the risk of Verticillium wilt.
  • Powdery Mildew: A common fungal disease, powdery mildew can result in a white powdery coating on the leaves. Improving air circulation, avoiding overhead watering, and utilizing fungicidal treatments can aid in managing powdery mildew.

Disease Diagnosis

Diagnosing diseases in Japanese maples, including ‘Crimson Queen’, involves careful observation of the plant’s foliage, branches, and overall vigor. Any unusual discoloration, spots, wilting, or abnormal growth patterns should be thoroughly examined to identify potential diseases. Seeking assistance from a knowledgeable horticulturist or plant pathologist can be beneficial in accurately diagnosing and devising an appropriate disease management strategy.

Common Pests

While Japanese maples are relatively pest-resistant, they can occasionally face issues with certain insects and mites. Some common pests that may affect Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ include:

  • Aphids: These tiny, sap-sucking insects can cause distorted growth and honeydew production. Natural predators, such as ladybugs and lacewings, as well as horticultural oils, can help manage aphid populations.
  • Scale Insects: Scale insects can appear as small, waxy bumps on the stems and foliage. They feed by puncturing the plant and sucking out sap, potentially causing plant stress and decline. Treatment with horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps can be effective in managing scale infestations.

Botanist’s Tips

To ensure the successful cultivation of Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ and to appreciate its full beauty, consider the following botanist’s tips:

  • Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree helps conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and insulate the roots during temperature fluctuations.
  • Winter Care: Providing adequate winter protection, especially in regions with harsh winters, is crucial. Mulching around the base of the tree and wrapping the branches with burlap can help shield the tree from cold and wind damage.

Fun Facts

To further appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’, here are some fun facts about this distinguished Japanese maple variety:

  • The delicate, lacy foliage of ‘Crimson Queen’ undergoes a remarkable transformation each autumn, turning from vibrant green to intense crimson and red hues, creating a breathtaking display of color.
  • The distinct, cascading form of ‘Crimson Queen’ makes it a standout choice for adding elegance and visual interest to various landscapes and garden settings.
  • The ornamental value and compact nature of ‘Crimson Queen’ make it an excellent candidate for bonsai enthusiasts, as its natural form and intricate foliage lend themselves beautifully to the art of bonsai cultivation.

Links to External Resources

To further your understanding of Japanese maples, particularly Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’, and to explore additional insights from renowned experts and horticultural resources, consider the following external links:

  • The American Conifer Society – An organization dedicated to the appreciation and conservation of conifers, including Japanese maples and other ornamental trees.
  • Royal Horticultural Society – A leading source of trusted information on horticultural practices, plant care, and cultivar selection, offering invaluable insights into Japanese maples and their cultivation.
  • The Morton Arboretum – A respected botanical garden and arboretum that provides comprehensive resources and educational materials on the cultivation, care, and identification of various tree species, including Japanese maples.

In this extensive guide, we’ve delved into the captivating world of Japanese maples, with a specific focus on the exquisite Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’. From its ornamental uses and cultural requirements to its unique characteristics and potential disease and pest concerns, understanding the intricacies of this remarkable tree is essential for enthusiasts, horticulturists, and nature lovers alike. Whether adorning a garden, landscape, or container, the ‘Crimson Queen’ maple exemplifies the extraordinary beauty and horticultural significance of Japanese maples.

If you have further questions or seek additional information regarding Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ and its cultivation, feel free to reach out for expert guidance and assistance. Happy gardening and may the beauty of Japanese maples continue to enrich our natural surroundings and inspire our horticultural pursuits.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.