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Fireglow vs Bloodgood Japanese Maple

Japanese maple is also known as Smooth Japanese maple or Palmate maple if you wish. Its scientific name is Acer Palmutum. Japanese maple is a species of shrubbery or a small stature woody plant that is found globally but is native to temperate regions of Asia, particularly in some parts of Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia, and southeastern Russia.

The woody plant made its way to the rest of the world in the early 19th century when western botanists traversing the planet came upon it in abundance in Asia and recognized its potential as a beautification plant back home.

The tree is unimpressive in size and is typically a garden plant when cultivated. In the wild, it grows as an understory plant thriving comfortably in the partial shades of other more majestic trees. 

Globally, Japanese maple has successfully been grown and cultivated for its impressive color schemes, interesting leaf shapes, and polite canopy that can provide some shade in hot weather.

Uses of Japanese Maple

The main and possibly only purpose for cultivating any or all Japanese maples, is for their ornamental value. Their unique features are a constant marvel and beautiful addition to any setting. Japanese maple trees are used in the following ways;

  • Garden and orchard beautification

The most common purpose of these trees is as decor for the garden to line boundaries and to enhance the color motif of any garden. 

In the suburbs especially where lawn space is in plenty, a good amount of these trees will be found gracing lawns and yards in beautiful designs and arrangements showcasing their exquisite colors and shapes.

In entertainment and vacationing spots particularly where relaxation is the goal and not reveling, these trees are a constant feature. 

The array of burgundy, purple, scarlet, chartreuse, yellow, orange, and green makes for an explosion of completely natural fauna in all its grandeur.

These plants and trees have also curried favor with gardening and orchard enthusiasts. A vast number of Japanese maple cultivars have actually been developed by enthusiasts, not botanists per se. 

The trees are easy to cultivate and do not need to reach maturity to serve their purpose as ornamental items in the garden. 

A majority of cultivars have come into existence and gone extinct within a few years as a result of this kind of runaway botany but the ones that have made it through the long haul are a must-have for anyone who loves the beauty of Japanese Maple. 

Bloodgood and Fireglow are two such cultivars.

  • Shade

Bloodgood in particular is grown for this purpose since it is the more robust of the two varieties and will grow rather fast. It achieves a height of up to 20 feet and over at maturity which is within a few years. 

There is no standard amount of time within which all Japanese maple trees reach maturity and not all of these trees can be suitably grown for shade but the ones that do are a common sight, particularly in Asia where they are native. 

Due to the canopy shape that their leaves form and the wide base that they sometimes emerge from, they are suited for shade. 

The relatively low canopy is also a boon in this regard since larger trees tend to grow to heights that are too high to be effective as providers of shade.

  • Bonsai

Fireglow is the choice variety for this Japanese and Korean form of high art. 

Bonsai by simple definition an art form where artificially dwarfed varieties of plants and trees are grown in pots and planters. 

Japanese maples and more so its cultivars are perfect for this. Tiny perfect organic plants can be grown in vases as decor and as a form of art for plant enthusiasts.

  • Espalier

This is also an art form that also has functionality as a control measure for fashioning how a plant will grow. An espalier is a shrub grown ornamentally such that the branches develop against a wall or up a pole. 

Fireglow is a good candidate for this kind of decor since its branches are quite pliable and agreeable.

Fireglow Vs Bloodgood

Both Fireglow and Bloodgood are cultivars of Japanese maple with Fireglow being an even further ‘ïmprovement’ on Bloodgood. 

Bloodgood has been around longer and its lush colors called for an even more striking plant. Fireglow appears to have been yet another cultivar of the parent plant of Bloodgood.

  • More than anything color is the most notable distinguishing factor of the two. Bloodgood is a dark red with heavy burgundy tones while Fireglow as the name suggests is bright red with more of a striking sharper scarlet or crimson hue.
  • Bloodgood is a robust fast-growing tree that is fairly hardy. Fireglow grows much slower and even at maturity is a small stature tree compared to Bloodgood. It is rare to find a Fireglow that can grow over eight feet in height.
  • Bloodgood leaves are larger in size than those of Fireglow which is not an easy distinction to arrive at since this can be attributed to the age of the tree.
  • Mature Bloodgood varieties have a fuller rounder canopy while the mature canopy of the Fireglow is not closely packed. Bloodgood at maturity can provide shade while Fireglows are not suited for shade even at that stage.


The Fireglow variety is rare and this may be due to the difficulty in cultivating it to a point where it can withstand all the seasons in perfect condition. The more common variety is the Bloodgood. This variety is sturdy and withstands harsher weather conditions better making it more common even with dealers.

It is important to note that even dealers can barely tell them apart especially if the Bloodgood is young and inadvertently advertise Bloodgoods as Fireglows. 

They are however very distinct for the discerning buyer and it would be best to approach public botanical gardens to acquire a specific species especially if they tend to breed confusion as much as these two varieties do. 

They will be more than happy to oblige you with a seedling of your choice.