Bloodgood Japanese Maple is a tried and true Acer palmatum, and remains a landscape favorite. Bloodgood is a problem-free specimen and a hardy, vigorous grower capable of providing up to 20 of symmetrical, rounded branching. It is a multi-stemmed small tree that shows off enchanting silvery bark, attention-grabbing crimson stems and deep burgundy star shaped leaves, all of which perfectly enhance the notable natural grace of this popular specimen. Non-dissected leaves hold their rich color all summer long, making it perfect for a patio or as a small shade tree and the show continues through autumn and winter, when the deep red foliage turns flaming scarlet before dropping to expose the shimmering gray bark that sparkles against snow. Bloodgood grows well in sun or shade, but for best performance provide afternoon shade and keep its roots cool.

Zone: 5 – 8

Mature Size: 15 – 20 ft. Tall x 15 – 20 ft. Wide

Growing Tips

Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Bloodgood Japanese Maple is a non-dissected type that grows into a small, rounded, deciduous tree which typically grows to 15-20′ tall and features purplish-red flowers in spring, deep reddish-purple summer foliage, red samaras in late summer to early fall and good crimson-red fall color. As with many maples, the flowers are rather attractive close up, but are not particularly showy from a distance. Palmate leaves (5-7 lobes) are 2-5″ long. May also be grown as a multi-stemmed shrub.

‘Bloodgood’ is one of the most popular large-leaved, upright-growing tree forms of red palmatum in the United States and Europe, and has become a standard by which all newer red palmatum cultivars are judged. It is a very good deep red or black red and holds its color into late summer better than most red-leaved forms. It does not bronze out as many other forms do. In extreme hot sun it sunburns slightly, as do most plamatums. Some afternoon protection is beneficial.

The leaf shape is typically palmatum with lobes divided up to three-quarters of the way to the leaf base. The leaves are up to 10 cm long and up to 12 cm wide, but more usually about 7 cm long and 7.5 cm wide. The underside is usually a shiny, dark green. Light transmitted through the leaves on a bright day gives a beautiful red effect. Fall colors are usually bright crimson. The dark red petioles are up to 5 cm long. The prominent fruits are a bright red and add to the overall beauty of the plant.

This strong-growing cultivar makes an upright tree maturing at up to 10 m or so. Strong branches form a broad-topped tree with a spread about equal to the height. ‘Bloodgood’ was about the only cultivar being grown from cuttings on a large scale in Dutch nurseries. It is also grafted there. In the United States, thousands of grafts are made onto strong understock, and these make vigorous trees in a short time.

It is hoped that this cultivar is kept pure as it has very good qualities not found in some other red-leaved cultivars. Carville (1975) suggested it was a selection from Acer palmatum f. atropurpureum seedlings by the Bloodgood Nursery, Long Island, New York. Vrugtman (1970) suggested the possibility that this cultivar had its origin in Boskoop, Netherlands, and was propagated by the now discontinued nursery Ebbinge and Groos. It was subsequently exported to the United States where it was named and the propagation expanded. Whatever its origins, it appears to have been cultivated in the United States since well before World War II.

Bloodgood Japanese Maple is best grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in sandy loams. May be grown in full sun in the northern parts of its growing range, but prefers some part afternoon shade in the southern parts of its growing range. New foliage may scorch in full sun locations in hot summers areas, particularly if soils are not kept consistently moist. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and keep roots cool. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Avoid hot and dry sites. Fertilize in spring before leaves emerge. Pruning is best kept to a minimum, but if needed should be done in late fall to mid winter. Spring or summer pruning often results in significant bleeding.

See all our Japanese Maples. For more information on Japanese Maples, we recommend Japanese Maples: The Complete Guide to Selection and Cultivation.

Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall


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