Growing a Japanese maple in your Oregon yard may seem unattainable. With many areas getting below freezing temperatures, people may not realize that there are many Japanese maple varieties that can actually thrive in the colder climates of Oregon.
Japanese maple trees are indigenous to Japan, Eastern Mongolia, southeastern Russia, and Korea. While Japanese maples are found in many places, Japan started to cultivate them in the 1700s. These trees are loved for their twisting branches, uniquely shaped leaves, and the multitude of beautiful colors available throughout the different species. Japanese maples have always been admired for their appearance, but only as recently as the late 20th century have they become popular and available for commercial and residential landscaping.
The hardiness of a plant is the lowest temperature that species of plant has been known to survive at. Many different aspects of the climate are taken into consideration when determining the hardiness zone. Microclimates where cold or warm pockets or where extreme wind occurs can greatly affect cold hardiness. Younger trees and plants are more susceptible to the cold than they are after they mature.
Anytime you add a tree or plant to enhance the landscape of your home, it’s important to choose plants that thrive in the hardiness zone where you live. Hardiness zones—which can also be referred to as planting or gardening zones—are geographical areas that have been sectioned by climate to determine which plants can grow in each area.
There are many maps online for you to find out the hardiness zone you live in, and any tree you purchase should include information about what zones will be best for that tree. Most Japanese maples are Hardiness Zones 5–9. While Oregon has many different hardiness zones within the state, Japanese maples can thrive in most places.
1. Oregon Japanese Sunset Maple
This beautiful maple is a newer variety that can be planted in your yard or planted in a pot. This Japanese maple is a smaller species, only reaching four feet tall and just a little more than four feet wide after a decade of growth.
This Japanese maple boasts light red leaves that turn a beautiful plumb color, and it changes again during the fall to a striking red. The name definitely describes what to expect when you add this tree to your landscape.
This maple only needs minimal care and can be grown in a pot for many years. The sunset Japanese maple likes to be in the sun when it’s in cooler areas and needs shade during the hotter months. The hardiness zone for this variety of maple is Zone 5.
2. Golden Full Moon Japanese Maple
This Japanese maple is larger than the Oregon sunset Japanese maple, reaching a height and approximate width of 15 feet. The broad leaves start green, change to a golden yellow, and then to orange and red during the fall.
This variety grows well in full sun or partial shade and thrives in moist, well-drained soil. Hardiness zones for this maple are Zones 5–7.
3. Bloodgood Japanese Maple
This amazing Japanese maple can tolerate the cold better than any other variety. Even in eastern Canada, the hardy Bloodgood maple can thrive, as it’s hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. This beautiful maple has red leaves that turn burgundy and then crimson shades in autumn.
This tree does not get large, is easy to grow, and does well in the shade. This variety is for Hardiness Zones 4–8
4. Mikawa Yatsubusa Japanese Maple
This miniature variety of Japanese maple grows to just three or four feet tall in a decade, which makes it the perfect addition to your garden or a tree to be planted in a large pot. Even as a young tree, the Mikawa Yatsubusa takes the shape of a more mature tree, which makes it look very elegant. The leaves on this maple start green then turn vibrant shades of yellow and red in the fall.
The Mikawa Yatsubusa Japanese maple does well in partial shade during the heat of the day but should be placed in a spot where it can enjoy the morning sun. This variety does well in Hardiness Zones 5–9.
5. Autumn Moon Japanese Maple
This maple has much fuller and more rounded leaves than most Japanese maples. Its beautiful leaves are green, then turn to pink and orange, making their way to amazing reds and oranges in fall. This variety will bring a beautiful show of colors to your garden throughout the year.
The Autumn Moon Japanese maple will grow to be 15 feet tall in time, and it needs full sun in cooler regions and partial shade in warmer climates. This variety is for Zones 5–9.
6. Coral Bark Japanese Maple
This fast-growing Japanese maple puts on quite the show during each season. During the spring, this beautiful tree spreads its yellow-green leaves edged in red before they change to a vibrant green for the summer. From there, they become golden-yellow in the fall and then surprise you with an amazing coral-pink-colored bark during the winter.
This variety does well in partial shade or morning sun and thrives in Hardiness Zones 5–9.
7. Fireglow Japanese Maple
True to its name, this stunning Japanese maple is among the most colorful red-leaf maples available. The beautiful leaves are a brilliant red in the spring and turn burgundy for the summer months. During the fall, they turn back to brilliant red and can sometimes hold their color into the winter months.
This smaller variety needs full sun in cooler zones or afternoon shade in warmer climates. This Japanese maple does well in Hardiness Zones 5–9.
Any Japanese maple variety that is equipped to thrive in the hardiness zones in Oregon will be a beautiful and rewarding addition to your landscape. Our experienced team at Mr. Tree can help with any questions and meet any of your tree care needs. We love what we do and look forward to answering any questions you have.