Acer palmatum ‘Emperor 1’ – Emperor 1 Japanese Maple

Botanical Name: Acer palmatum ‘Emperor 1’

Alternate Name: Emperor Maple

The Emperor 1 Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Emperor 1’) is a desirable small shade tree. It leaves out two weeks later than most maples, thereby avoiding any frost damage to new growth.

This particular Japanese Maple keeps its leaf color best in partial shade. The foliage has an enticing glow for most of the year. The leaves emerge bright red in spring, and then mature into a beautiful, deep red-purple color. They are delicate and palmate-shaped, with 5 deeply divided lobes.

Emperor 1 Japanese Maple holds its delightful color through the summer, glowing in the sunlight, and then puts on a spectacular bright scarlet fall display that will not disappoint. The flowers are inconspicuous and not noticeable compared to the leaves.

The Emperor Maple grows fairly fast, reaching 8-10 feet tall in 10 years. It is therefore a good tree to plant where a fast-growing landscape is needed. Also, be sure to plant where it will be protected from harsh winds and hot afternoon sun.

It has a graceful, upright, open crown but compact form. This makes it a good accent tree for small landscapes.

The Emperor 1 Japanese Maple doesn’t need much pruning. Make sure to prune in late winter or early spring before the sap starts running. Mulch around the base of the tree to keep soil moist and the roots cool.


Height: 10-15 ft.
Width: 10-15 ft.
Shape: Open crown, fountain shaped
Flower Color: Red
Flowering Time: March-April
Fall Color: Bright Scarlet-Red
Features: Eye-catching foliage color in Spring and Summer, Fall display
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Watering: Moderate & Regular, keep soil consistently moist
Soil: Moist and well-drained, slightly acidic
Growth Rate: Fast
USDA Zones: 5-8
Uses: Small shade tree, small city yards, courtyards, container, specimen, woodland gardens, accent tree, Japanese gardens
Similar Trees: Crimson Queen Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’), Orangeola Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum Dissectum ‘Orangeola’), Laceleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’), Bloodgood Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’), Tamukeyama Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Tamukeyama’)

Additional information



Flower Color


Flowering Time

April, March

Fall Color

Bright Scarlet, Red

Growth Rate



Accent Tree, Container, Courtyards, Japanese Gardens, Raised Bed, Shade Tree, Small Gardens, Specimen Tree, Woodland Gardens

USDA Zones

5, 6, 7, 8

Mature Height


Mature Width



Full Sun, Partial Sun

Summer Foliage Color

Dark Purple

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