Emperor Japanese Maple vs Bloodgood: Which One Reigns Supreme?

Emperor Japanese Maple vs Bloodgood – which one graces the garden with its crimson presence?

When you tell which one is Bloodgood Japanese Maple and which one is Emperor 1?
When you tell which one is Bloodgood Japanese Maple and which one is Emperor 1?

It seems impossible to discern with the naked eye, especially without the two varieties side by side for a detailed comparison.

However, there are certainly clues (or else they wouldn’t have distinct names). Keep scrolling to uncover the differences.

Emperor Japanese Maple vs Bloodgood: Comparison Table

While appearing as almost identical twins, Bloodgood Japanese Maple and Emperor 1 exhibit distinct differences in their characteristics and lifestyles.

To facilitate your understanding, I’ve compiled the following tables. Let’s delve into the details:

This is the Bloodgood Japanese Maple, recognized for its deep-red foliage that shines vibrantly red under sunlight
This is the Bloodgood Japanese Maple, recognized for its deep-red foliage that shines vibrantly red under sunlight
CharacteristicBloodgood
SizeUp to 25 feet in height and width
ToleranceLess tolerant of hot climates
Growth RateSlower growth rate
HardinessRecommended for zones up to 8
Leaf ColorBurgundy hues
Leaf AppearanceThicker leaves
Color IntensitySubject to subtle color changes due to sunlight exposure
Overall AppearanceRobust and full
Common TraitsRequires care in high temperatures
Planting TimeIdeal for spring or autumn planting
Preferred SoilSlightly acidic, well-drained soil
SunlightBenefits from at least 6 hours of direct sunlight
MulchingBeneficial for moisture retention
FertilizationRequires slow-release mineral fertilizers once a year
Diseases and PestsGuard against diseases and pests with appropriate measures
Final SizeTypically reaches 20-25 feet
Bloodgood Japanese Maple can a style icon for any garden. Starting with a rich burgundy hue in spring, it flaunts its color through summer and ends the year with a stunning display of bright red in fall. Its bark is distinctive in a way that it has a touch of silver glamour.
The leaves of Emperor 1 are lighter in shade. Of course, without the two besides for comparison, it is hard to tell how lighter it is
The leaves of Emperor 1 are lighter in shade. Of course, without the two besides for comparison, it is hard to tell how lighter it is
CharacteristicEmperor 1
SizeUsually stays within 20 feet
ToleranceMore tolerant of hot climates
Growth RateFaster growth rate, especially early years
HardinessThrives in hardiness zones 5-9
Leaf ColorRuby hues, holds color better in partial shade and hot climates
Leaf AppearanceThinner leaves, enhancing beauty in sunlight
Color IntensityMaintains color intensity better in various conditions
Overall AppearanceGraceful and slightly more delicate
Common TraitsWell-suited for zones with temperature fluctuations
Planting TimeIdeal for spring or autumn planting
Preferred SoilSlightly acidic, well-drained soil
SunlightBenefits from at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, partial shading in hot climates
MulchingBeneficial for moisture retention
FertilizationRequires slow-release mineral fertilizers once a year
Diseases and PestsGuard against diseases and pests with appropriate measures
Final SizeTypically reaches 15-20 feet
Say hello to the Emperor 1 – the small, but mighty tree rocking a wide crown and some seriously stylish leaves. Picture this: in spring, those leaves go for a deep purple-red vibe, keeping it cool through summer, and then bam! Come fall, they’re rocking a vibrant crimson-red look before gracefully hitting the ground. This is when it is easy to tell if it really the Emperor 1, because unlike the silver-ish barks from the Japanese counterpart, its barks are blackish-red!

The Main Difference: Size and Tolerance

As they shed their leaves, you can tell that it is Bloodgood if the barks have a silver-like shine to it, because Emperor 1 does not have that characteristic
As they shed their leaves, you can tell that it is Bloodgood if the barks have a silver-like shine to it, because Emperor 1 does not have that characteristic

Bloodgood can grow up to 25 feet in height and width, while Emperor 1 usually stays within 20 feet.

Additionally, Emperor 1 is more tolerant of hot climates, and its striking red leaves retain their color for a longer period of time.

Acer palmatum var. atropurpureum ‘Bloodgood’ made its entrance over 80 years ago and earned its name from the nursery it originated in Long Island, New York.

Since then, it has established itself as a leader among red Japanese maples, often serving as the benchmark for comparison.

On the other hand, Acer palmatum ‘Wolff,’ also known as Japanese Maple Emperor 1, emerged as a serious competitor to Bloodgood.

Bred in Pennsylvania by Richard Wolff, Emperor 1 flaunts decorative characteristics that even surpass its counterpart in some aspects.

The Emperor One: Slightly Hardier and Faster Growth

Both trees can turn purple when time is right, but the Bloodgood’s color will be more vibrant (like this image)
Both trees can turn purple when time is right, but the Bloodgood’s color will be more vibrant (like this image)

One notable difference between the two is that Emperor 1 is slightly hardier, tolerating both low and high temperatures better than Bloodgood.

It can thrive in hardiness zones 5-9, while Bloodgood is not recommended for zone 9 due to the intense heat.

Emperor 1 also emerges from dormancy slightly later, giving it an edge against potential late frosts.

In terms of growth rate, Emperor 1 takes the lead, especially in its early years.

However, over time, as the plants mature, the growth rate decreases.

Emperor 1 typically reaches a height of 15-20 feet, while Bloodgood grows more slowly but reaches a slightly larger size of 20-25 feet.

Although the difference is not significant, it’s worth considering when choosing the right variety for your garden.

Emperor 1 can withstand both heat and cold better than Bloodgood, surviving in hardiness zone 9 with ease
Emperor 1 can withstand both heat and cold better than Bloodgood, surviving in hardiness zone 9 with ease

The Color Showdown: Leaves that Last

When it comes to leaf color, both Bloodgood and Emperor 1 exhibit similar shades.

Emperor 1 tends to have a more ruby hue, while Bloodgood leans towards burgundy.

However, the actual color difference is subtle and hard to distinguish.

The intensity of color in Japanese maples is influenced by multiple factors, including sunlight exposure.

Bloodgood may develop a greenish tint on its lower leaves due to shade from the upper ones, while Emperor 1 holds its color better even in partial shade.

Emperor 1 also withstands excessive sun exposure and retains its color better in hot climates compared to Bloodgood.

However, it’s worth noting that there are other varieties that excel in color retention even more than these two.

Another advantage of Emperor 1 is its thinner leaves, which enhance its beauty, particularly when illuminated by sunlight.

When mature, Bloodgood can reach 10 feet taller than Emperor 1, which can rise as tall as 15 feet only
When mature, Bloodgood can reach 10 feet taller than Emperor 1, which can rise as tall as 15 feet only

What They Share: Planting and Care Tips

In addition to their differences, there are several similarities between Bloodgood and Emperor 1:

  • Both prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soil enriched with organic matter.
  • Spring or autumn is the ideal time for planting maples, while summer should be avoided due to the hot and dry weather.
  • When planting, ensure the roots are half an inch above ground level.
  • Adequate watering, especially in the first year, is crucial for their growth.
  • Maples benefit from at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, but in hot climates, partial shading can be beneficial.
  • Mulching the surface around the maples helps retain moisture and prevent the soil from drying out in summer and insulates the roots in winter.
  • Fertilize with slow-release mineral fertilizers once a year to provide essential nutrients.
  • Guard against diseases and pests by spraying the trees with pesticides or Neem Oil to avoid damage from insects and the development of bacteria and fungi.
Bloodgood might develop a greenish tint in lower leaves due to upper shade, while Emperor 1 holds color well, even in partial shade
Bloodgood might develop a greenish tint in lower leaves due to upper shade, while Emperor 1 holds color well, even in partial shade

Conclusion: Choosing Your Maple

In the battle between Bloodgood and Emperor 1, each has its unique traits and advantages.

Consider your climate, desired size, and color intensity to make the best choice for your garden.

Remember to give them the care and attention they need to thrive and blossom into breathtaking additions to your outdoor space.