Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’

(Butterfly Japanese Maple)


Hardiness Zones:

 5a  5b  6a  6b  7a  7b  8a  8b  9a

Quick Overview:

‘Butterfly’ is an upright, shrubby form with variegated foliage that typically grows to only 7-12’ tall. Palmate, 5-lobed, deeply divided leaves (to 3” long) are gray-green with creamy white margins that are often edged with pink in spring. White portions of the leaves turn scarlet to magenta in fall. Leaves are sometimes twisted. Small reddish-purple flowers in spring are somewhat attractive on close inspection, but are not showy from a distance. Flowers are followed by samaras that ripen in September-October.  (Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder)


Easily 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.  (Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder)

Additional information

Common Name

Butterfly Japanese Maple

Botanical Name

Acer palmatum 'Butterfly'


45 gallon

Evergreen or Deciduous


Hardiness Zone

5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Growth Rate


Light Requirements

Part-shade, Part-sun, Sun





Soil Condition


Water Needs




Foliage Color

Variegated cream, green and pink

Deer Resistant


Fall Color

Red to Maroon

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