Trees with dark red leaves are ones that have a unique ability to brighten spaces with their fall foliage. The fall color of these plants is a great advantage when using them for landscaping, as they give dark red hues in predominantly green spaces.

6 Trees With Dark Red Leaves

Note that there are some trees with green leaves that turn red. This article will make it easy for you to get your best pick of trees with red foliage by giving information on each plant’s characteristics, care requirements, uses, and benefits.

List of Trees With Dark Red Leaves

1. Japanese Maple Tree

Palmate Leaves Japanese Maple Tree

  • Have decorative properties, especially in shrub borders
  • Used for treating the skin
  • Plant parts used to treat eye conditions
  • Can be used to make drinks or syrup because the sap has sugar
  • Used for improving the ability of the liver to function well
Distinguished characteristics
  • Leaves are palmate and they assume small to medium-sized sizes
  • Deciduous trees that have multiple branches
  • Foliage of the plant is green during summer seasons
  • Thrives best in climates that are colder
  • Deep watering that is more frequent is a requirement when the plant is young, but not when it is mature
  • Can tolerate temperatures that are over -10 degrees Fahrenheit, though they can sometimes survive even around -30 degrees Fahrenheit

The Japanese maple tree is often associated with peace, patience, blessings, survival, and beauty. This plant is also referred to as the red maple tree. Japanese maples do perfectly well when grown under the shade, though some of them can tolerate certain amounts of sunlight.

However, exposure to excessive direct sunlight can cause sunburn on the delicate leaves of these trees. Please note that one of the common cultivars of the red maple is the crimson queen. This is the type of tree that would thrive to its utmost potential when the weather is quite cold, and the maximum cold it would handle would be an average of -10 degrees Fahrenheit. There are plenty types of Maple trees but not all of them have dark red leaves.

2. European Beech

Dark Red Foliage European Beech

  • Produces beechnuts that are eaten as food
  • Can be used as a hedge
  • Can be used in making oil, charcoal, and fuel
  • Used for making furniture such as chairs
  • Can also be used to make staircases and floors
  • Plant is an excellent source of wood
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Can reach between 100 and 130 feet in height
  • Diameter of the trunk ranges between three and five feet
  • Has a smooth bark whose color is silver gray
  • Partial shade or full sun are both preferable to the plant
  • Soil soil be loose, nutrient-rich, with a pH that is neutral or slightly acidic
  • Prefers alternations between moist and dry soils but soggy soils are a threat to the health of the plant

The European beech tree is a member of the Fagaceae family of plants, which is also called the beech family. Generally, different beech trees are known to exist for at least 15 decades, depending on the species, and in short, this means that the European beech can survive for 150 years or more.

The tree would grow up to become 100 to 130 feet tall over its lifetime, and the trunk would become as thick as three to five feet in its diameter.

There is a mutation of the European beech which is called the copper beech or Fagus sylvatica purpurea, so don’t confuse the two. The European one has beautiful dark red foliage which would add a significant vibrancy to the area they have been planted in.

3. American Sweetgum

Glossy American Sweetgum

  • Relatively drought resistant
  • Has properties for destroying germs that cause diseases
  • Has antioxidant attributes
  • Enhances quicker healing of wounds
  • Can be used to manage hypertension and inflammation
  • Has protective effects on the liver
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Usually grow to around 80 inches in height, though it sometimes reaches 120 inches in rare cases
  • Leaves are long-stalked, glossy, and has between five and seven lobes that are star-shaped
  • Starts of with a pyramidal shape but assumes a more oval and rounded shape as time progresses
  • Requires full sun
  • Only water when the first two inches of the topsoil are dry
  • Soils can be loamy, sandy, or clay, with an acidic pH

The American sweetgum tends to produce a gum, which hardens to form a chewing gum. This partly explains the origins of the name of the plant. Interestingly, this sweet-gum plant is home to many animals like chipmunks, deer, squirrels, and doves.

The plant is happy when provided with partial or full sun, though the direct morning sun is best, and you will see its growth. Most often, this plant is also regarded as representative of hope, and this is because the tree would thrive just with a couple of minimal requirements. The leaves are glossy and consist of five to seven star-shaped lobes.

4. Crab Apple Tree

Vivid Red Crab Apple Tree

  • Fruits can treat bowel and stomach ailments
  • Fruits used for managing diarrhea
  • Eating the fruits has preventative effects against constipation
  • Fruits are excellent when incorporated in desserts such as tarts, pies, and chips
  • Fruits used for making jam or jelly
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Reaches a height of about 40 feet
  • Leaves are simple and ovate
  • Produces small green fruits that turn yellow upon ripening
  • Requires at least six hours of light each day
  • Prefer loosely packed soils that are well-draining and packed with organic matter
  • An inch of water every week is good enough

This is the type of tree that has a great height of 40 feet, and it requires full sun to thrive and to grow so tall. Moreover, you should water it once a week, and make sure to plant it in a well-draining soil that is also organic.

The crab apple tree, which is one that would look very dark in its foliage has a vivid red color. It is used for different reasons, one of which is because it has edible properties that would not intoxicate a person. The jam that is produced using crab apple fruits is characterized by a jiggly texture. This is mainly because the fruits contain high amounts of a compound called pectin.

5. Japanese Rowan

Round Crowned Japanese Rowan

  • Fruits are edible
  • Used for treating dropsy, bronchitis, and gastritis
  • Fruits are rich sources of vitamin C
  • Gargled to treat sore throat
  • Used as a laxative
  • Can be used to make tool handles
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Produces attractive flowers that are white in color, during the summer season
  • Produces a fruit that is bright orange in color
  • The plant’s crown appears rounded
  • Prefers exposure to the full sun though dappled sunlight
  • Soils should be well-draining and moist, while the pH should range between being acidic and neutral

It might interest you to know that the Japanese rowan can survive for about 200 years, and produces fruit as well. The fruits of this tree are eaten by birds, which then disperse the seeds.

On the other hand, the wood of this plant presents great strength and resilience, which is why it is used for carving. However, to grow this plant in a sufficient way, you should make sure that the soil is between acidic and neutral in its pH, and that the soil is also left moist, as it is located in a place where it will receive bright and direct sunlight.

6. Prunus Cerasifera

Dark Crimson Prunus Cerasifera

  • Plant is less prone to diseases, especially if grown under recommended conditions
  • Can be used as a fruiting hedge
  • Fruit can be incorporated in juices, soups, and some alcoholic beverages
  • Grown for ornamental purposes
  • Fruits can be used for making jam
Distinguishing characteristics
  • Plant can grow up to 30 inches in height
  • Produces fragrant flowers that have five petals
  • Products small fruits whose diameter is around one inch
  • Make sure the soil is sandy, well-draining, and within a pH range of 5.5. to 6.5.
  • Highly sensitive to waterlogged conditions as they are easily affected by fungal infections under such circumstances
  • Spaces that are semi-shady or those without any shade is best

No specific information has been reported about the toxicity of the Prunus cerasifera species. However, this plant is a member of the genus where most of the plants produce hydrogen cyanide. As a matter of fact, hydrogen cyanide is poisonous, and it’s mainly found in seeds and leaves.

What you must note is that when you are growing this tree, the soil should not be overwatered, because it would increase the development of fungi and different diseases which would decrease the lifespan of the tree.

On the other hand, it requires a location of partial shades and indirect sunlight, so that it would thrive and grow up to 30 feet tall, with its beautiful and dark crimson red five-lobed leaves.


Trees that have red foliage certainly present a beautiful look, in addition to their uses for food, medicinal, and other purposes. Here is a summary of some of the things that you might need to note about these plants:

  • The Japanese tree is a great option if, in addition to ornamental attributes, you are looking for a tree that is associated with blessings, peace, survival, and patience.
  • If you need a tree that is less demanding in terms of care needs, try the American sweetgum which is not for being drought resistant.
  • If you are one of the people who place their best bet on trees that produce edible, nutritious fruits, the Japanese rowan should be among the options that you should consider.
  • The European beech and Prunus crucifera can be grown as hedges, in addition to a myriad of other benefits that are associated with them.
  • You can get various medicinal properties in plants like the Japanese maple, American sweetgum, crab apple tree, and Japanese rowan, but be sure to confirm the ones that treat what you are targeting.

From being ornamental trees to the medicinal properties that they offer, the trees whose leaves are dark red will not disappoint you. Get your best pick and start the experiment as now you know the red tree names and their specifics.

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