"Crimson Queen" can be grown in sun or shade.

Full Sun or Shade for a Crimson Queen Maple

by Sarah Moore

Native to Japan and now extensively grown in the United States and temperate regions around the world, Japanese maples are cherished for their bright, decorative leaves and range of seasonal color. “Crimson Queen” (Acer palmatum var. dissectum “Crimson Queen”) is no exception. In addition to being beautiful, it is also tolerant of a range of light conditions and will grow in both sun and shade.

1. Identification

“Crimson Queen” is widely grown for its range of color, leaves emerging bright red in spring before changing to a deeper red in summer and a fiery crimson in fall. It is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, though may grow as far south as zone 9 with proper attention to its planting location. Flowering in spring, it produces a profuse bloom of small, white ornamental blossoms. It usually grows to a height and width of about 10 feet, though it may grow a little shorter and spread a little wider.

2. Growing in Sun

“Crimson Queen” maples generally grow well in full sun. However, at the southern end of their hardiness range their leaves may scorch in the heat of a hot summer. In these areas, protect it from afternoon sun by planting it in a location that receives full shade during the hottest part of the day. You can also prevent leaf scorch by removing damaged or diseased parts of the tree and giving it enough water.

3. Growing in Shade

Although it does well in sun, “Crimson Queen” is also amenable to shade. Its best performance is often in light or dappled shade, though it can tolerate deeper shade as well. Do not plant in deep shade; partial shade means the plant should still be getting between 2 and 4 hours of sunlight per day. Because partial shade means it will still be getting some sunlight, plant it where it will not be in direct sun during the hottest part of the day.

4. Planting Considerations

“Crimson Queen” does better with full sun grown toward the northern end of its hardiness range, and also tolerates more sun in cooler coastal climates than in hotter inland ones. When you plant, you must also protect the plant from other strong environmental factors, such as wind. Although the tree will tolerate a range of soils, it does not like poorly draining clay. If you have clay, amend it with pine bark, plant a little above ground level and mulch to protect the roots.

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