Acer palmatum Ruby Stars is considered a dwarf Japanese maple and a very slow growing one at that. It may take 10 years to reach 4′. This small variegated red leaf cultivar has the new growth that is truly ruby red and actually looks like a star. As the leaves age in the summer the color fades to a bronze color which provides a great background for late summer flush of new ruby star leaves that catches everyone’s eye. The Japanese named equivalent is Beni hoshi which means red star. Both cultivars are pretty much interchangeable.

Ruby Stars should be pruned for shape and develops into more of a shrub than a tree. She can handle the full hot sun and is perfect for a patio container. Sun is preferred to keep the leaves somewhat red in the summer. Too much shade and the leaves green-out.  The small leaves make Ruby Stars attractive to bonsai enthusiasts. Again this slow growing dwarf only reaches to about 4′ in 10 years and 5′ at maturity. Once established this cultivar is hardy to -10 degrees, USDA Zone 6.

Limited availability. The 1 gallon size are 3-4 years old. The 2 gallon size are 5-8 years old and about 2 1/2′ tall, but very full. I have two 3 gallon size left and they are nearly 4′ tall – that’s pretty old.

The first photo is a one gallon in our inventory. The next is the Ruby Stars in my display garden and the last two are courtesy of Buchholz Nursery.