How to Grow Japanese Maple Bonsai - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Japanese maple bonsai is a beautiful and popular plant that is often used in bonsai. The plant is native to Japan and has been cultivated for centuries. The japanese maple bonsai is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 10 feet tall. The leaves of the japanese maple bonsai are small and delicate, and the tree produces beautiful red flowers in the spring. The japanese maple bonsai is an easy plant to care for and is a popular choice for bonsai enthusiasts.

How to Grow Japanese Maple Bonsai - Plant Care & Tips

Also known as

  • Acer palmatum
  • Japanese Maple
  • Acer japonicum
  • Acer shirasawanum
  • Acer buergerianum

Things to Know

  • Japanese maple bonsai are a type of deciduous tree that is native to Japan.
  • Japanese maple bonsai are often used in bonsai shows and competitions.
  • Japanese maple bonsai can be grown in a wide range of climates.
  • Japanese maple bonsai need to be watered regularly.
  • Japanese maple bonsai should be fertilized monthly during the growing season.
  • Japanese maple bonsai need to be pruned regularly to maintain their shape.
  • Japanese maple bonsai can be susceptible to pests and diseases.
  • Japanese maple bonsai should be repotted every two to three years.
  • Japanese maple bonsai can be trained to grow in a wide variety of shapes.
  • Japanese maple bonsai make excellent gifts.

Related plant:
Japanese Azalea Orange

Planting Process

  1. For japanese maple bonsai, first step is to select a suitable plant. There are many varieties of japanese maples, so choose one that is appropriate for bonsai.
  2. Once you have selected a plant, it is time to prepare the pot. Bonsai pots come in various sizes and shapes. Select a pot that is slightly larger than the current pot of the plant.
  3. Next, add some organic matter to the potting mix. This will help in retaining moisture and nutrients.
  4. Now, it is time to plant the japanese maple bonsai. Gently remove the plant from its current pot and loosen the roots.
  5. Place the plant in the new pot and fill it with potting mix.
  6. Water the plant thoroughly and place it in a shady location.
  7. Fertilize the plant every month during the growing season.
  8. Prune the plant regularly to maintain its shape.
  9. Repot the plant every few years to refresh the potting mix.
  10. Enjoy your beautiful japanese maple bonsai!

Related plant:
Japanese Trees

Soil Condition

About soil condition of Japanese maple bonsai, it is necessary to choose a location with good drainage to avoid waterlogged conditions. Pots with internal drainage holes are advisable. Japanese maples prefer a slightly acidic soil, so a mix of akadama, pumice and kanuma is often used. Grit should be added to the soil to promote good drainage.

Light condition

So, like the other bonsai trees, the Japanese maple bonsai needs to be placed in an area where it will receive plenty of sunlight. However, because this tree is native to regions with cooler climates, it can also tolerate some shade. During the hottest months of the year, it is best to provide some protection from the afternoon sun.

The Temperature

The temperature conditions for a Japanese maple bonsai are ideal if they mimic the conditions of its natural habitat. Japanese maples are native to areas with cool summers and mild winters, so the bonsai should be kept in a location where the temperature does not exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer or drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. If the bonsai is kept in a location with extreme temperature conditions, it is likely that the tree will not survive.

Humidity Aspect

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is around 40% to 60%. The leaves of the plant will start to curl and drop off if the humidity level drops below 40%. If the humidity level is too high, the leaves will also start to curl and drop off.

The Fertilizer

About fertilizer, this kind of plant need full-fertilized, so when you pour the water, you could add some liquid fertilizer, and this could make the plant grow more strong. Also, every spring you should use some special fertilizer for bonsai. And about the root, you should never cut the root of this plant, because it will damage the plant, and it is very difficult for the plant to recover from the damage.

Light requirement

Pruning a Japanese maple bonsai is essential to its health and appearance. It is important to prune the bonsai regularly to remove any dead, diseased or damaged branches. Pruning also helps to encourage new growth and maintain the desired shape of the tree. There are a few things to keep in mind when pruning a Japanese maple bonsai. First, always use clean, sharp pruning tools to avoid damaging the tree. Second, make sure to prune branches back to a healthy bud or branch. Finally, it is important to prune the tree gradually over time, rather than removing large amounts of growth all at once.

The Propagation

Propagation is typically done through grafting or rooting. Grafting is the most common method, as it is more reliable and results in a plant that is true to the parent plant. Rooting is more difficult and often results in a plant that is different from the parent plant. To graft a Japanese maple bonsai, you will need a sharp knife and a piece of scion wood that is about the same size as the rootstock. Make a clean cut on both the rootstock and the scion wood, then join them together. Wrap them tightly with grafting tape or string, then place the plant in a shady location. The graft should take within a few weeks. To root a Japanese maple bonsai, you will need to take a cutting from the parent plant. The cutting should be about 6 inches long and have at least two leaves. Cut off the bottom leaves, then dip the cutting in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a pot filled with moist soil, then place the pot in a shady location. Keep the soil moist and within a few months, the cutting should form roots.

Plant Growth

Usually, the plant growth rate is considered slow to medium. However, this can largely depend on the specific species or cultivar of maple you have. Additionally, environmental factors such as temperature and humidity can also play a role in how fast your maple bonsai grows. Generally speaking, you can expect your maple bonsai to grow anywhere from a few inches to a few feet per year.

The Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are root and stem rot, which can be caused by too much water or too little drainage. If the roots are left too wet, they will start to decompose and the plant will eventually die. If the roots are allowed to dry out completely, the plant will also die. Another problem is pests, such as aphids, scale, and mites, which can infest the plant and cause damage.

Growing Tips

  • Make sure to choose a suitable location for your Japanese maple bonsai. It should be in an area with partial sun to full shade.
  • It is important to plant your Japanese maple bonsai in well-drained soil.
  • Water your bonsai regularly, but do not over-water it.
  • Fertilize your Japanese maple bonsai every two weeks during the growing season.
  • Prune your bonsai regularly to shape it and encourage new growth.
  • You can repot your Japanese maple bonsai every two to three years.
  • Protect your bonsai from extreme temperatures, both cold and hot.
  • Be patient when growing your Japanese maple bonsai. It can take several years for it to reach its full potential.
  • Enjoy watching your Japanese maple bonsai grow and change over time.
  • Remember to take care of

Similar Plants

  • Ornamental maple (Acer palmatum)
  • Vine maple (Acer circinatum)
  • Maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
  • Rocky mountain maple (Acer glabrum)
  • Japanese maples (Acer palmatum)
  • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
  • paperbark maple (Acer griseum)
  • Bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum)
  • Red maple (Acer rubrum)

Japanese Maple | Oklahoma State University
Growing Japanese Maples | North Carolina Cooperative Extension
ENH-182/ST023: Acer palmatum: Japanese Maple - University of Florida

Richelle Author Photo
Reviewed & Published by Richelle
Submitted by our contributor
Trees Category