Chinese Maple Tree – Botanical Information, Care, and Propagation

Tatarian Maple, is a well-traveled tree native to eastern Europe and the temperate regions of Asia. It carries its roots across continents, showcasing its unique features. Its leaves are the picture of simplicity, unlobed or just slightly 3-lobed, with edges that are doubly serrated, adding a touch of elegance. Look closely, and you might spot a hint of pink on their petioles as if blushing in the sun. As spring arrives, this tree bursts into action with clusters of greenish-white flowers, like a graceful bouquet. But in late summer, the season changes, and its fruits transform into a fiery red, a vibrant display of nature’s artistry. 

Chinese Maple Tree leaf, Image Source: IstockPhoto

Generic Information about Chinese Maple Tree

The Chinese maple, a deciduous shrub or small tree, may not reach towering heights, standing at 4-12 meters, but it’s packed with unique features, making it a delightful addition to gardens and landscapes.

For more details, go through the below-listed pointers:

  • Bark–When young, its bark is light brown and tender, but as it matures, it gains character by developing superficial cracks.
  • Leaves–The leaves are opposite and simple, shaped like ovals, and come in varying sizes, measuring 4.5-10 cm in length and 3-7 cm in width. They come in various shades of green, and some have three or five small lobes. Moreover, the edges of the leaves have an irregular, serrated pattern, and the leaf stems can be tinged with pink, ranging from 2 to 5 cm in length.
  • Flowers–In spring, the Chinese maple is covered with small greenish-white flowers, which are 5-8 mm in diameter. These blooms form clusters that expand just as the leaves begin to unfurl.
  • Fruit–By late summer to early autumn, you’ll find paired reddish samaras, measuring 10-12 mm in length, with wings spanning 2-3 cm.
Chinese Maple Tree, Image Source: Pixabay

Chinese Maple Plant–Flowers and Fruit

When spring arrives, this tree dons clusters of whitish-green flowers, each measuring about 5-8 mm in diameter. These blooms burst into action as the leaves start unfurling. Come late summer to early autumn, it produces small reddish paired samaras, about 10-12 mm long, sporting wings that stretch 2-3 cm[1]Chinese Maple Tree Flowering. Read.  

Read: Catalpa Species, Propagation, Benefits, Diseases, and Care

Botanical Characteristics of Chinese Maple Tree

Scientific Name: Acer tataricum

Common Names:

  • Chinese Maple
  • Tartarian Maple

Botanical Classification:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Species: tataricum
  • Genus: Acer 
  • Family: Sapindaceae

Growth Habit:

  • Chinese maples have a rounded to oval crown and a generally open and spreading growth habit.

Environmental Requirements:

  • Sunlight: Chinese maples prefer full to partial sun but can tolerate some shade.
  • Hardiness: Chinese maples are generally hardy and can withstand a range of temperatures, but specific tolerances may vary by cultivar.


Chinese Maple Tree, Image Source: Pixabay

Japanese Maple Vs. Chinese Maple Tree

Chinese Maple (Acer tataricum) and Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) are both ornamental trees, but they have distinct differences. However, Chinese Maple is a hardy, deciduous tree known for its capability of adapting to various environmental conditions. It typically has simple, unlobed, or shallowly lobed leaves, and it’s valued for its colorful fall foliage. Chinese Maples are often used in landscaping for their adaptability and ease of care.

On the other hand, Japanese Maple is renowned for its stunning, finely dissected leaves, which come in a wide range of colors and shapes. Japanese Maples are typically smaller and more delicate than Chinese Maples, making them ideal for small gardens or potted specimens[2]More Details About Japanese Maple. Read. They are known for their beautiful appearance, offering year-round visual interest.

In short, Chinese Maples are known for their hardiness and adaptability, while Japanese Maples are known for their intricate leaf shapes and vibrant colors. The choice between the two often depends on the specific aesthetic and space requirements of a landscaping project.

Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum)

Propagation and Soil Type

You can easily grow this tree from its seeds, and whether it’s a bit acidic or alkaline. The optimal growth requires bright sunlight or a few hours in shade to grow them fast. In the fall, it cultivates reddish fruits and vibrant autumn colors. 

Chinese Maple trees (Acer tataricum) propagate through various methods, including seeds, cuttings, and root division. Here’s a brief overview of each propagation method:

Read: Deciduous Trees – Types, Cultivation, Care, and, Uses

Propagation from Seeds:

  • Collect mature seeds in the fall when they ripen and the samaras (winged seeds) turn brown.
  • Remove the seeds from their wings and let them air dry for a few days.
  • Store the seeds in a cool, dry place until the following spring.
  • In late winter or early spring, stratify the seeds by placing them in a moist, cool environment for 60-90 days to simulate winter conditions.
  • Sow the stratified seeds in a seed tray or pots filled with well-draining potting mix in early spring.
  • Cover the seeds lightly with soil, water them, and place the container in a sunny location.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Once the seedlings have grown large enough and developed several sets of leaves, transplant them into well-drained pots or directly plant them into the soil.

Successful propagation of Chinese Maple trees may require some patience and experimentation, as not all methods will work equally well in all conditions. It requires care and monitoring of the progress of the propagated plants to ensure their optimal development.

Impact of Pests on Chinese Maple Tree–How to Handle Them?

Tiny mites, lepidopterans, and coccoids might give the Chinese maple tree a hard time. And when it comes to diseases, fungal infections are common in them. However, Here are some common pests that can affect Chinese Maple trees and how to handle them:

PestDescriptionManagement Strategies
AphidsSmall sap-feeding insectsRemove them with a strong stream of water.
– In case of severe infestations, spray neem oil or soap with insecticidal properties.
Scale InsectsSmall immobile pests – appear as brown bumps– Prune and discard heavily infested branches.
– Apply horticultural oil during the severe winter season.
Spider MitesTiny pests causing – Keep the tree well-watered to increase humidity.
webbing on leaves– Apply insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Diseases (e.g., Powdery Mildew, Anthracnose)Fungal diseases– Ensure good air circulation through pruning.
– Avoid overhead watering.
– Apply fungicides preventively in early spring or as needed.

This blog is about the botanical characteristics of Chinese Maple trees, their value in landscaping, and a practical set of instructions for propagating and pest control. 


This article demonstrated the Chinese Maple tree’s botanical characteristics, including its appearance, habitat, and potential uses in landscaping. It also discusses the seed collection propagation method. In addition, the article covers the potential pests and diseases that the Chinese Maple tree may encounter, including aphids and scale insects. It also outlines the tree’s soil and light preferences, as well as its ability to tolerate environmental factors such as wind and pollution.


1Chinese Maple Tree Flowering. Read
2More Details About Japanese Maple. Read