Korean Maple

Acer pseudosieboldianum

Description & Overview

Korean Maple is a compact and delicate tree known for its small, ornamental shrub-like stature and fall color. Korean Maples are great substitutes for Japanese Maples because they’re more cold hardy. It may also be known as Purplebloom Maple as a reference to its unique minute red-purple flowers when new foliage emerges in spring.

Core Characteristics

Wisconsin Native: No – Introduced
Mature Height: 20′
Mature Spread: 15′
Growth Rate: Very Slow
Growth Form: Palmately, Rounded
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Site Requirements: Moist, well-drained. Performs well in heavy alkaline clay soil
Flower: Minute red flowers, occasionally purple
Bloom Period: April
Foliage: Dark Green
Fall Color: Yellow, orange, and red
Fruit Notes: Red tipped winged samara

Suggested Uses:

This small specialty maple is an ideal substitute for the coveted Japanese Maple. Korean Maples set themselves apart with their cold tolerance.

Korean Maples are generally grown for their attractive palmately foliage, shape, and stunning fall color. With an intense barrage of orange, yellow, and red it’s sure to be an outstanding addition to many landscapes. It’s low canopy at maturity makes this tree suitable for planting under power lines or other overhead restrictions. It preforms best in full sun to partial shade, with moist, well-drained soils. It’s not picky about soil type or pH and thrives well in heavy alkaline clay soils.

You may find them in multi-stem or single-stem tree forms, depending on the design or look you are aiming for in your landscape.

Salable #10 container Korean Maple. Pictures taken mid-June.

Wildlife Value:

Korean Maple produces tiny red flowers. As small as the blossoms may be, they still draw in beneficial pollinators. While the foliage offers little food, the canopy is a lovely perch or nesting site for birds.

Maintenance Tips:

Although Korean Maple is known for withstanding surprisingly low temperatures, it doesn’t like overly hot or dry sites. They like plenty of moisture. Regular watering, especially through drier months is vital. Korean Maples will thrive in organically rich soils with good drainage. Avoid waterlogged sites.

Korean Maples don’t require much pruning. Remove any damaged, dead, or diseased branches during the dormant season. It’s thin bark can be easily damaged if you treat it roughly or plant in an overly windy spot.


Korean Maples have no serious insect or disease problems. It’s susceptible to stem canker, leaf spots, and anthracnose, but these common ornamental diseases rarely cause mortality. Since it has relatively thin bark, if it tears, this may expose the tree to a greater risk of fungal problems or insect infestations.

A great way to help combat these issues is to keep your tree happy and stress free. Siting is important; plant in a suitable location with the ideal sun and moisture conditions.

Leaf Lore:

Acer pseudosieboldianum is part of the Soapberry (Sapindaceae) family. The specific epithet Pseudo means “false” referring to its similarities to Japanese Maples (Acer sieboldianum). Korean Maples are native to Korea and China, typically growing in forested areas.

Companion Plants:

Siting a single Korean Maple in a prominent location will attract attention from every part of the landscape. While extraordinarily good-looking on their own, Korean Maples look more charming when planted with a few companion plants. Well-behaved, they partner well with other plants to create beautiful combinations in the garden. Potential companion plants could be Silver grass, Rhododendron, Hostas, Wisteria, and dwarf Conifers.

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