Purple Ghost Japanese Maple: A Guide to Cultivation and Care

With its ethereal beauty and captivating colors, the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple stands out as a captivating specimen in any landscape.

This enchanting tree casts a spell with its deep purple/red leaves in spring, transforming into a mesmerizing display of green foliage with dark purple undertones in summer.

As fall descends, the leaves blaze with fiery shades of red, leaving a lingering impression of brilliance.

Delighting in full to partial sun, this small to mid-sized tree flourishes in courtyards or large containers.

Join us on a journey through the mystical realms of the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple, and discover why it is a must-have for any garden enthusiast.

Purple Ghost Japanese Maple

The Purple Ghost Japanese Maple is a captivating, mid-sized tree famous for its dark purple-red leaves in spring.

Come summer, these leaves take on green hues but keep their moody purple undertones.

By fall, the tree turns into a stunning spectacle of red foliage.

Thriving in full to partial sun, this tree maxes out at a manageable 15 feet high and 12 feet wide—ideal for planting under power lines or as a front yard focal point.

Perfect for hardiness zones 6-9, a sprinkle of slow-release fertilizer and compost in spring keeps it thriving.

Whether in a courtyard or a large pot, it’s a year-round showstopper.

Key Points:

  • Purple Ghost Japanese Maple has deep purple/red leaves in early spring which turn green in the summer.
  • In the fall, it has red foliage.
  • It grows best in full to partial sun and can reach heights of up to 15 feet and a width of 12 feet.
  • It is suitable for growing under power lines and in front of houses due to its size.
  • It is commonly found in courtyards or grown in large containers.
  • Purple Ghost Japanese Maple is best suited for hardiness zones 6 to 9 and benefits from slow-release fertilizer and compost in the spring.


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💡 Did You Know

1. The Purple Ghost Japanese Maple, scientifically known as Acer palmatum, is a rare and sought-after variety of the Japanese maple tree, prized for its striking purple and ghostly white foliage.

2. While the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple is often described as having purple foliage, its leaves actually emerge as a vibrant shade of red or burgundy in the spring, gradually turning purple as they mature.

3. The unique coloring of the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple is attributed to a natural genetic mutation called “anthocyanin,” which causes the purple pigment to dominate in the leaves, resulting in its distinctive appearance.

4. Despite its reputation as a ‘ghostly’ tree, the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple tree is not associated with any folklore or supernatural tales in its native Japan. Its name may simply be derived from its pale yet striking foliage.

5. Due to its exclusive nature and limited availability, the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple is highly valued among tree enthusiasts and collectors. It is considered a collector’s item and can command a high price in the horticulture market.

Distinctive Color Of Purple Ghost Japanese Maple

Nestled among a variety of Japanese Maples, the Purple Ghost stands out with its remarkable coloration. This small to mid-sized upright tree is truly a sight to behold. As the name suggests, its leaves are adorned with a deep purple hue that borders on the edge of red in the early spring.

However, an enchanting transformation takes place throughout the seasons. As the summer sun warms the foliage, the leaves transition into a vibrant shade of green while maintaining their dark purple undertones. This delicate balance between green and purple creates a stunning contrast in any landscape. But the pièce de résistance occurs in the autumn when the entire tree becomes a glorious showpiece of red leaves, painting the surroundings with a striking visual display.

Transformation Of Leaves Throughout The Seasons

The Purple Ghost Japanese Maple is a stunning tree that undergoes a remarkable transformation throughout the seasons. Its ability to change colors is truly mesmerizing, captivating anyone who witnesses it.

During spring, the tree emerges from its winter slumber adorned with deep purple leaves, creating a striking and attention-grabbing display. This early burst of color breathes life into the surrounding landscape, adding a touch of vibrancy and beauty.

As summer comes, the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple undergoes a subtle but noticeable change. The once deep purple leaves transition into a vibrant green, while still retaining their underlying purple undertones. This unique combination of colors creates a visually appealing tapestry, showcasing the intricacy and allure of this Japanese Maple variety.

However, it is during fall that the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple truly steals the show. The entire tree transforms into a magnificent shade of fiery red, creating a captivating spectacle that is hard to ignore. The intense red foliage seems to set the landscape ablaze, leaving onlookers in awe of its vibrant and enchanting hues.

  • The Purple Ghost Japanese Maple gracefully unfolds its seasonal wardrobe, mesmerizing onlookers as it changes its hues.
  • In spring, the tree emerges with an explosion of deep purple leaves, commanding attention and breathing life into the landscape.
  • During summer, the leaves shift towards a vibrant green while maintaining their underlying purple undertones, creating a rich tapestry of colors.
  • The magnificent transformation happens in fall when the entire tree becomes engulfed in a fiery shade of red, captivating all who see it.

“The deep red foliage creates a mesmerizing spectacle, as if the tree is setting the landscape ablaze with its vibrant hues.”

Ideal Growing Conditions for Vibrant Colors

To fully harness the aesthetic splendor of the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple, a thoughtful approach to its planting and care is essential. Here are key factors to consider:

FactorOptimal ConditionsNotes
SunlightFull Sun to Partial SunExposure to sunlight enriches the leaf color but be cautious to avoid excessive shade, which can dull the vibrancy.
Hardiness ZonesZones 6 to 9Generally unsuitable for the upper Midwest and northern regions of the east coast due to climatic extremes.
MoistureAdequateWhile the tree can tolerate high heat, inadequate moisture can inhibit growth and compromise leaf coloration.

Additional Considerations

  • Location: When choosing a spot for planting, not only should the hardiness zone be taken into account, but also consider the specific microclimate of the area. Make sure there’s a balance between sun and shade.
  • Watering: It’s essential to provide regular watering especially during dry spells to maintain soil moisture.
  • Mulching: Mulch helps in retaining soil moisture and therefore is highly recommended for maintaining the tree’s optimal health and coloration.

By giving due attention to these aspects, you can create an environment where your Purple Ghost Japanese Maple will not only grow but thrive, revealing its magnificent color palette for all to admire.

Size And Suitability For Different Landscapes

The Purple Ghost Japanese Maple is known for its elegant stature, reaching heights of up to 15 feet and growing up to 12 feet wide. Its medium size makes it a versatile choice for various landscapes, as it can fit in smaller spaces without overwhelming the surroundings. This attribute is particularly advantageous for those looking to grow the tree under power lines or in front of houses, where a larger tree might obscure architectural features.

The tree’s suitability for confined spaces extends beyond residential gardens. Many landscapers and designers have incorporated the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple in courtyards or grown it in large containers on patios and decks. This allows individuals living in urban areas to bring a touch of nature’s splendor into their outdoor spaces.

  • Versatile choice for various landscapes
  • Perfect for smaller spaces
  • Ideal for growing under power lines or in front of houses
  • Suited for courtyards or containers on patios and decks

“The Purple Ghost Japanese Maple brings a touch of nature’s splendor to urban outdoor spaces.”

Versatile Placement And Under-Planting Options

The open branching structure of the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple presents exciting opportunities for creative plantings beneath its canopy. The filtered shade it provides creates a perfect environment to showcase a variety of shrubs or perennials. Utilizing different heights, textures, and colors, your under-planting can transform the base of this extraordinary tree into a symphony of foliage.

This unique feature also lends itself to creating shaded retreats, where one can escape the heat of the day and bask in the tranquil atmosphere created by the Purple Ghost. Whether it’s a cozy reading nook or a secluded seating area, the shade-loving plants beneath the tree can enhance the overall experience and create an oasis of serenity.

Tips For Nurturing The Growth Of Purple Ghost Japanese Maple

Like any living entity, the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple requires care and attention to reach its full potential. Here are some essential tips to help you nurture and cultivate this magnificent tree:

  • When planting, select a location with well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. This will provide the tree with the necessary nutrients and support its growth.
  • Regular watering is crucial, especially during dry periods. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot.
  • Apply a slow-release fertilizer in the spring to promote healthy growth and vibrant foliage. Additionally, using good quality compost as a mulch will help retain moisture and enrich the soil.
  • Prune the tree during its dormant period to remove dead or crossing branches, enhancing its shape and overall aesthetic appeal. It is important to prune with care, as excessive pruning can hinder the tree’s ability to produce new growth.

By following these basic care guidelines and providing the Purple Ghost Japanese Maple with the optimal growing conditions, you can ensure that this remarkable tree thrives and remains a breathtaking focal point in your outdoor living space. The Purple Ghost Japanese Maple is a botanical gem that captivates with its distinctive colors throughout the seasons. This versatile tree lends itself to a variety of landscapes and planting schemes, showcasing its true beauty. By nurturing and caring for this Japanese Maple variety, you can unveil the intricate allure of the Purple Ghost and create an enchanting outdoor sanctuary.


Is purple Ghost Maple real?

Yes, the Purple Ghost Maple is indeed a real tree. It is a medium-sized tree with stunning deep purple-red leaves in spring, showcasing striking black veins. As the seasons progress, the leaves transition to a beautiful burgundy red color and ultimately transform into a fiery-red to orange hue during autumn. It is a highly regarded selection and thrives best in well-drained soil while preferring sun or partial shade.

Can purple Ghost take full sun?

Yes, the ‘Purple Ghost’ plant can thrive in full sun, although it does require some afternoon shade in hotter climates to avoid excessive heat stress. This captivating plant displays a range of fall colors, from deep red to reddish orange, adding a touch of vibrancy to any garden or landscape. Its ability to tolerate full sun in certain regions makes it a versatile and stunning addition to outdoor spaces.

What are the purple ghost Japanese maple leaves?

The purple ghost Japanese maple leaves are a stunning sight to behold. With a deep purple-red color in the spring, adorned with striking black veins, they create a mesmerizing contrast. As the seasons change, their iridescent summer foliage turns green while retaining hints of purple, creating a unique visual spectacle. Finally, in the fall, these leaves transform into a vibrant garnet-red, adding warmth and vibrancy to any landscape. When grown in full sun, they develop their most intense and captivating hues, making them a true delight for the eyes.

How fast does Purple Ghost Japanese maple grow?

Purple Ghost Japanese maple is known for its stunning appearance and relatively small size. It is a slow-growing variety, typically reaching a height of eight to ten feet within a decade. With its spreading shape, this tree can expand to a width of around five to six feet. While its growth rate may not be rapid, the Purple Ghost Japanese maple is worth the wait for its eye-catching beauty and compact stature.