Cold Hardy Japanese Maples: Growing Japanese Maples In Zone 6 Gardens

(Image credit: maskalin)

Japanese maples are outstanding specimen trees. They tend to stay relatively small, and their summer color is something usually only seen in the fall. Then when the fall does come, their leaves become even more vibrant. They’re also relatively cold hardy and most varieties will thrive in cold weather. Keep reading to learn more about cold-hardy Japanese maples and the best Japanese maple varieties for zone 6.

Cold Hardy Japanese Maples

Here are some of the best zone 6 Japanese maples: Waterfall - A short tree at 6 to 8 feet (2 to 2.5 m.), this Japanese maple gets its name from the domed, cascading shape of its branches. Its delicate leaves are green through spring and summer but turn stunning shades of red and yellow in the fall. Mikawa Yatsubusa - A dwarf tree that reaches only 3 to 4 feet (1 m.) in height. Its large, layered leaves stay green through spring and summer then change to purple and red in the fall. Inaba-shidare - Reaching 6 to 8 feet (2 to 2.5 m.) tall and usually a little wider, this tree’s delicate leaves are deep red in the summer and shocking red in the fall. Aka Shigitatsu Sawa - 7 to 9 feet (2 to 2.5 m.) tall, this tree’s leaves are a medley of red and green in the summer and bright red in the fall. Shindeshojo - 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.5 m.), this tree’s small leaves go from pink in the spring to green/pink in the summer to bright red in the fall. Coonara Pygmy - 8 feet (2.5 m.) tall, this tree’s leaves emerge pink in spring, fade to green, then burst into orange in the fall. Hogyoku - 15 feet (4.5 m.) tall, its green leaves turn bright orange in the fall. It tolerates heat very well. Aureum - 20 feet (6 m.) tall, this large tree has yellow leaves all through the summer that become edged with red in the fall. Seiryu - 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.5 m.) high, this tree follows a spreading growth habit closer to an American maple. Its leaves are green in the summer and dazzling red in the fall. Koto-no-ito - 6 to 9 feet (2 to 2.5 m.), its leaves form three long, thin lobes that emerge slightly red in spring, turn green in summer, then turn bright yellow in the fall. As you can see, there is no shortage of suitable Japanese maple varieties for zone 6 regions. When it comes to growing Japanese maples in zone 6 gardens, their care is much the same as other areas, and being deciduous, they go dormant over winter so no extra care is needed.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.