Japanese maple is a cold-loving tree that generally doesn’t perform well in dry, warm climates, so hot weather Japanese maples are uncommon. This means that many are suitable only for USDA plant hardiness zones 7 or below. Take heart, however, if you’re a zone 8 gardener. There are a quite a few beautiful Japanese maple trees for zone 8 and even 9. Many have deep green leaves, which tend to be more heat tolerant. Read on to learn about a few of the best heat-tolerant Japanese maple varieties.
Japanese Maple Varieties for Warmer Climates
If your heart is set on growing Japanese maples in zone 8, then the following varieties deserve a second glance:
Purple Ghost (Acer palmatum ‘Purple Ghost’) produces ruffly, reddish-purple leaves that turn green and purple as summer progresses, then back to ruby red in autumn. Zones 5-9
Hogyoku (Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’) is a sturdy, mid-size tree that tolerates heat better than most Japanese maple varieties. Attractive green leaves turn bright orange when temperatures drop in autumn. Zones 6-9
Ever Red (Acer palmatum ‘Ever red’) is a weeping, dwarf tree that retains a beautiful reddish color throughout the summer months.
Beni Kawa (Acer palmatum ‘Beni Kawa’) is a small, heat-tolerant maple tree with red stems and green leaves that turn bright golden-yellow in autumn. Zones 6-9
Glowing Embers (Acer palmatum ‘Glowing Embers’) is a hardy tree that tolerates heat and drought like a champ. Bright green leaves turn purple, orange and yellow in autumn. Zones 5-9
Beni Schichihenge (Acer palmatum ‘Beni Schichihenge’) is another small tree that tolerates heat better than most Japanese maple varieties. This is an unusual maple with variegated, bluish-green leaves that turn gold and orange in autumn. Zones 6-9
Ruby Stars (Acer palmatum ‘Ruby Stars’) produces bright red leaves in spring, turning to green in summer and back to red in autumn. Zones 5-9
Vitifolium (Acer palmatum ‘Vitifolium’) is a large, sturdy tree with big, showy leaves that turn shades of orange, yellow and gold in autumn. Zones 5-9
Twombly’s Red Sentinel (Acer palmatum ‘Twombly’s Red Sentinel’) is an attractive maple with wine-red leaves that turn bright scarlet in autumn. Zones 5-9
Tamukayama (Acer palmatum var dissectum ‘Tamukayama’) is a dwarf maple with purple-red leaves that turn bright red in autumn. Zones 5-9
To prevent scorch, zones 8 Japanese maples should be planted where they are protected from intense afternoon sunlight. Spread 3 to 4 inches (7.6-10 cm.) of mulch around hot weather Japanese maples to keep the roots cool and moist. Water hot weather Japanese maples regularly.