What is a Bloodgood Japanese Maple?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A Bloodgood Japanese maple is a Japanese maple cultivar which has deep red, almost purple leaves which turn bright red in the fall. This maple cultivar can electrify the fall landscape with its almost neon red foliage before the leaves die off and drop from the tree. A number of Japanese maples produce red leaves, but the Bloodgood is one of the most striking red Japanese maple cultivars, and as a result, one of the most popular. Some other red maple cultivars include the Crimson Queen, Ever Red, Atropurpureum, Nomura Nishiki, Tamukeyama, and Red Filigree Lace.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Formally, the Bloodgood Japanese maple is known as Acer palmatum “Bloodgood”. The tree grows in USDA zones five through eight, with some zone nine gardeners having success with it, and it likes relatively neutral soil. Bloodgood Japanese maples do not grow well in clay soils or heavily alkaline soils, and they prefer sun to partial shade.

These trees put out shallow roots which deepen with time. When a Bloodgood Japanese maple is planted, gardeners should remember that the tree will grow up to 20 feet (six meters) in height, and that these trees can be slow growers. The soil should be prepared with mulch and fertilizer before planting and the tree should be regularly fertilized in the spring, before leaves appear. After around three years of growth, gardeners can start to prune a Bloodgood Japanese maple to shape it, or they can allow the tree to have a natural growth habit.

Japanese maples are prone to burning during the summer. By watering in the morning or evening, gardeners can reduce the risk of leaf damage due to burns, and they will also increase water efficiency in the garden, as less water will be lost to evaporation. The Bloodgood Japanese maple usually has an upright growth habit, and it will tend to branch out over time to create a rounded appearance.

The striking foliage of these stunning trees can make them excellent highlights or focal points in a landscape. A single Bloodgood Japanese maple can look quite distinctive against a background of neutral green tones, or the tree can be paired with other colorful foliage and flowers, depending on the aesthetics of the individual gardener. These trees are relatively easy keepers once they are established in an area of the garden they like, and they can be grown from seed and cuttings, for gardeners who are interested in propagating Bloodgood Japanese maples.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - If you are going to match up a bloodgood maple with other kinds of Japanese maple you need to be careful about where you put them. For one thing, they can grow to be very big trees over time.

For another, the fallen leaves might be an irritation in the winter.

But most importantly, they often have different needs, so they might not all thrive in the same place. The Japanese bloodgood maple tree prefers more sunlight than some other kinds of Japanese maple, for example, so you should research what they all want, and look around for successful pairings before planting what may as well be a permanent part of your garden.


I think a bloodgood Japanese maple tree looks particularly nice among green Japanese maple trees as the bright green compliments the darkish red. In fact, I feel like the darker red color that they have during the spring and summer is almost too common otherwise and people won't really notice the tree much unless you pair it with something else to make it pop out. They are simply a beautiful tree though and if you plant a few around a water feature they will still look good.

That is, until fall when they will look amazing. The red leaves are extremely bright and definitely something to look forward to.

Post your comments
Forgot password?