Methods to Develop Japanese Maple Bushes in Containers

Whether or not you lack a spacious yard or simply need to carry a Japanese maple nearer to your property, you may need to attempt rising one in a pot. How troublesome would that be? Is it even attainable?

A close up vertical image of the red foliage of a Japanese maple tree. To the center and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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Japanese maples are one of the vital widespread species of tree grown as bonsai. So, you’re in for a powerful sure – it’s attainable, you may develop Japanese maples in pots!

Whereas the dwarf or semi-dwarf cultivars are the best, you may develop any selection in a container as a result of all of them have a compact root system that tolerates confinement.

Add to that the truth that these bushes are available such an enormous vary of leaf and bark colours and foliage shapes, and you may see why they make interesting choices for container rising.

There are many causes to develop a Japanese maple in a container. You may add some top to a backyard or develop a tree on an city house balcony, for starters.

No matter your motivation, the method is similar for planting and caring for these marvelous bushes.

That can assist you make it occur, right here’s what we’ll talk about within the coming information:

If you wish to develop a tree in a container, you may’t discover a higher possibility than Japanese maple. Right here’s all the things it is advisable to know, starting with advisable cultivars to select from.

Greatest Cultivars

Like we stated earlier, any Japanese maple will be grown in a pot. Right here is only a sampling of some cultivars that make significantly good potted choices.

Abigail Rose

When you’re in search of a cultivar that may enliven {a partially} shaded spot, get hold of this unusual A. palmatum dwarf. The leaves have an fascinating crinkled texture, however that’s solely the start.

A close up of the pink and green variegated foliage of Acer palmatum 'Abigail Rose.'

‘Abigail Rose’

The foliage of this ‘Higase Yama’ sport is shiny pink on the margin with lime inexperienced facilities. It stays beneath 5 toes tall for a compact however daring assertion.

You will discover ‘Abigail Rose’ obtainable from Maple Ridge Nursery in one- and three-gallon containers.

Geisha Gone Wild

A. palmatum ‘Geisha Gone Wild’ is a sport of ‘Geisha’ that outshines its father or mother plant.

The leaves have shiny purple and pink margins with pinky-green interiors. In full solar, the colours are extra inexperienced with cream margins. It tops out at about 5 toes.

A close up top down image of 'Geisha Gone Wild' growing in a container.

‘Geisha Gone Wild’

Decide up ‘Geisha Gone Wild’ in one- and three-gallon pots from Maple Ridge Nursery.


A. palmatum ‘Jubilee’ will undoubtedly draw feedback. It’s like nothing else on the market.

The deeply lobed leaves are pink with stand-out purple veins.

A close up vertical image of the unique foliage of Acer palmatum 'Jubillee' growing in a pot.


Because the season progresses, the leaves flip inexperienced, pink, and cream with shiny pink veins, all on an eight-foot-tall tree.

Bushes in one- and three-gallon containers are obtainable at Maple Ridge Nursery.

King George’s Broom

Lovingly known as the “Russian spy,” A. palmatum ‘KGB’ is a dwarf that stays about three toes tall with purple and pink leaves that change to purple and purple within the fall.

It has a broom-like form that appears significantly good in a container.


A. palmatum ‘Orangeola’ is a stunner in its personal proper, but it surely’s additionally compact at about three toes tall and huge at maturity.

With daring, shiny orange foliage within the fall, it already stands out. However add to that the inexperienced spring foliage and the purple summer time leaves and you’ve got a continuously evolving present.

A close up square image of Acer palmatum 'Orangeola' growing in the garden.


Run to Planting Tree to nab a one- to two- or two- to three-foot-tall plant.

Oregon Sundown

I’ve to confess I’m keen on this one as a result of it’s named after the sensible night skies in my residence state, however even when that weren’t the case, it could nonetheless be price a glance.

‘Oregon Sundown’ has a singular upright however spreading progress behavior, kind of like a half weeping maple. In the course of the spring, the foliage is a placing, shiny purple, transitioning to plum in the summertime. By fall it fades to a sublime pastel orange.

It’s slow-growing, as are most A. palmatum cultivars, however when you give it time, it’ll ultimately attain 10 toes tall.

A square image of Acer palmatum 'Oregon Sunset' growing in a park.

‘Oregon Sundown’

Greatest get began rising your personal, so head to Planting Tree to buy a two- to three- or three- to four-foot tree.

Pink Dragon

Beautiful A. palmatum var. dissectum ‘Pink Dragon’ is a basic for good purpose. The closely serrated leaves appear to be shiny purple items of lace dancing within the breeze.

A close up horizontal image of the red foliage of a Japanese maple tree.

The foliage is reddish-plum in the summertime and heat burgundy through the fall. You probably have a sunny spot, this cultivar is right. It maxes out at 12 toes tall at maturity.

A close up square image of a 'Red Dragon' Japanese maple growing in a terra cotta pot.

‘Pink Dragon’

Convey one residence by heading to Quick Rising Bushes for a dwell one- to two- or two- to three-foot-tall plant.


I’ve had my eye out, in search of one among these A. palmatum cultivars, as a result of it has one of the vital elegant shapes of any Japanese maple.

It has inexperienced palmate leaves like what you’d sometimes see on upright varieties, however the branches develop upright for a bit earlier than arching and cascading again down. Within the fall, it shifts to gorgeous shades of yellow, orange, and purple.

Whereas it grows to about 20 toes tall, it’s straightforward to maintain smaller in a container with pruning.


This A. palmatum is wider than it’s tall, topping out at eight toes tall however spreading 12 toes huge. With its stunning form and purple, closely lobed, and serrated foliage, it makes an attention grabbing focus.

A square image of an Acer palmatum 'Tamukeyama' tree growing in a garden border outside a residence.


Quick Rising Bushes carries two- to three- or three- to four-foot-tall crops if you wish to carry this magnificence to your yard.

Decide the Excellent Container

On the subject of deciding on the appropriate container, just about something that may maintain soil and has drainage holes will work. However totally different supplies could make your job simpler or tougher, relying on what challenges you’re going through.

As an example, metallic containers are likely to warmth up rapidly and don’t defend the roots from chilly in addition to, say, cement does. When you dwell someplace that experiences freezing winters and sweltering summers, metallic might be not the appropriate selection.

Terra cotta is normally cheaper than different supplies and breathes effectively, but it surely additionally tends to crack in areas the place freezing temperatures are widespread.

It’s a critical problem to repot an enormous tree, and also you don’t need to be doing it yearly after your pot cracks through the winter. You may wrap it in burlap or cardboard to assist forestall this, or go along with a distinct materials.

Plastic is a well-liked selection as a result of it’s reasonably priced, sturdy, and light-weight. These don’t final as lengthy or defend the roots from chilly in addition to different choices reminiscent of cement or stone do, however they maintain water effectively.

Personally, I desire glazed ceramic. They’re heavy they usually defend the roots from temperature fluctuations, retain water effectively, received’t crack (as long as the glazing is unbroken), they usually final an extended, very long time.

A wheeled base both built-in or for putting the container on is a again saver when you ever plan on shifting the tree.

You will discover elegant ones that keep in place and add to the looks of your show or you will discover extra utilitarian ones that may maintain a formidable quantity of weight, like this one by CASIMR, which might help you progress as much as 440 kilos.

Heavy Responsibility Plant Stand with Wheels

When you want some wheels to go together with your tree, decide one among these up at Amazon.

Talking of measurement, when you’ve ever seen a Japanese maple bonsai, then you understand they’ll develop in teeny-tiny pots. Nevertheless, until you’re able to decide to a number of work, you’re most likely going to need to select one thing a bit bigger.

A close up horizontal image of a Japanese maple tree with red foliage trained as a bonsai set on a wooden surface outdoors.

For a dwarf cultivar, a five-gallon container is an effective place to begin, however you’ll actually must improve sooner or later.

For a full-sized tree, begin with a 20-gallon container, minimal. In some unspecified time in the future, you’ll nonetheless most likely need to go up a measurement or two, however it is a good place to begin.

No matter you select, it completely should present good drainage. When you use a pot that doesn’t have drainage holes, you’re setting your self up for catastrophe – root rot received’t be a matter of if, however when. In wet areas, your tree may not even make it a 12 months.

When you’re anxious about soil working out of the drainage gap, use a chunk of wire or plastic mesh to cowl the opening earlier than putting the potting medium within the container.

Select a Potting Soil

Any good-quality potting soil will do the job, however we will do higher than that, proper?

A close up vertical image of a pot filled with soil set on a concrete surface.

The kind of soil you must use is determined by whether or not your container offers irrigation or not. You probably have built-in irrigation, which interprets to constant water, you may go along with potting soil that has the typical quantity of water-retentive materials blended in.

We’ll cowl this in a bit extra element within the care part under.

I’m an enormous fan of FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil combine for a number of causes.

It has the appropriate pH for Japanese maples, consists of bat guano, fish meal, and earthworm castings for vitamins, and has the proper texture to permit each water and air to entry the roots.

FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil

Truthfully, if I may fill my total backyard with these items, I might. Till we will fill the world with this wonderful soil, you may decide it up in 12-quart luggage at Amazon.

When you don’t have constant rainfall or a container watering system in place, add coconut coir, sphagnum moss, or rice hulls to a high-quality potting soil.

I desire the final possibility as a result of rice hulls are exceptionally sustainable. They’re a waste product that’s completely renewable. In addition they enhance aeration and enhance drainage.

A close up of a bag of rice hulls for seed starting isolated on a white background.

Rice Hulls

Nab 1 / 4, half, or full cubic foot of hulls at Arbico Organics.

Don’t place any damaged pottery or rocks within the base of the container. I do know it is a generally advisable observe, but it surely received’t assist with drainage. Simply fill the complete container together with your chosen medium.

Planting Ideas

To plant your new tree, first place a little bit of soil within the container as a base. You finally need the tree to sit down on the similar stage it was within the container that it got here in, so simply do your greatest to eyeball the peak.

A close up vertical image of a green Japanese maple tree growing in a pot.

Take away the plant from its pot and gently loosen the roots. Place the plant into the container. Whether it is sitting too low, add a bit extra soil. If it’s sitting too excessive, scoop a bit out. Upon getting the appropriate top, fill in across the roots with soil.

Be sure you depart an inch or so of house on the rim to permit for straightforward watering. Water the soil effectively to assist settle it. You’ll most likely discover that all the things settled a bit greater than anticipated. If that’s the case, add a bit extra potting medium and water once more.

Methods to Take care of Potted Maples

Relying on the cultivar, place your tree in a spot the place it’ll obtain keen on full daylight. Japanese maples can survive in much less mild, however they have an inclination to change into leggy.

When you don’t have a container watering system arrange or your plant received’t be hit by sprinklers, you may need to spend money on some kind of irrigation system. When you dwell in a wet space, a dropper is likely to be all you want, otherwise you may need to set up a drip irrigation system that hooks as much as your hose spigot.

Japanese maples like constant moisture they usually received’t develop as effectively in the event that they expertise common drought. It’s one factor to maintain bushes within the floor watered, but it surely’s one other factor completely for bushes in containers.

Pots are likely to dry out extra rapidly than the soil within the floor. When you can stick your finger into the soil and it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time so as to add water.

You may actually add mulch to assist the soil retain water, reminiscent of a layer of stones, pine chips, or straw, although I’d argue that moss is way better-looking.

Dwelling moss helps retain moisture along with including visible curiosity. The species of moss you must use will rely completely on the place you reside. Gardeners in wet areas can get away with deciding on species that might die immediately within the desert.

I discover that Irish moss (Sagina subulata), which isn’t a real moss however is definitely associated to dianthus, is fairly common. It could actually deal with wherever in Zones 4 to eight and does effectively in pots.

A close up square image of Irish moss with tiny white flowers.

Irish Moss

It doesn’t want a ton of moisture but it surely received’t fail if it receives oodles of rain for some time, as long as the drainage is sweet.

Seize some from Nature Hills Nursery.

Otherwise you may take into account planting one thing low-growing with shallow roots. Stonecrop (Sedum spp.), candy woodruff (Galium odoratum), creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), barren strawberry (Geum fragarioides), and wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) are all good choices.

A close up horizontal image of creeping Jenny spilling over the side of a pot pictured on a soft focus background.
Creeping Jenny.

As with all potted crops, you’ll completely must fertilize your bushes. The soil in containers leaches vitamins extra rapidly than floor soil, so that you’ll must reapply it.

Search for a fertilizer made particularly for bushes or a light balanced fertilizer with an NPK of 3-3-3 or 4-4-4.

I like All the way down to Earth’s Tree and Shrub meals, which not solely has the proper stability for decorative bushes, but it surely comprises 11 strains of mycorrhizal fungi, which many potted plant soils lack.

Simply as our microbiomes should be wholesome for us people to be wholesome, crops want useful micro organism and fungi of their soil to maintain them wholesome.

A close up of the packaging of Down to Earth Tree and Shrub all Natural Fertilizer isolated on a white background.

All the way down to Earth Tree and Shrub Fertilizer

Seize a five- or 25-pound field of DTE’s Tree and Shrub meals at Arbico Organics.


You don’t have to repot your maples. When you just like the container that it’s in, you may hold it there. You’ll simply need to work at it.

Each three years or so, you’ll want to drag the entire plant out of the container and test the roots.

In the event that they’re changing into compacted and there isn’t a lot soil seen, gently loosen the roots and brush away as a lot soil as you may. You may want to make use of a stream of water out of your backyard hose to help within the course of.

A close up horizontal image of the root ball of a Japanese maple being repotted into a larger container.

Utilizing a clear pair of clippers, gently minimize away a few quarter of the roots. Deal with something that appears useless or rotted.

Change the plant within the container with recent soil.

When you determine to go up a measurement with the container, there isn’t a must trim away any roots until you see some which might be damaged or useless. Take away the plant from the container, brush away as a lot soil as you may, and repot it in recent, clear soil.

Transferring up a measurement will be achieved each few years or at any time when the plant begins to look burdened, with frequent wilting, browning leaves, or roots rising out of the soil or drainage holes.

Convey the Great thing about Japanese Maples to Virtually Any Spot

Isn’t it good to know that there’s a tree that’s virtually excellent for container rising? Japanese maples aren’t fazed by life in a pot and boy do they make a captivating, elegant addition to wherever you place them.

Whether or not you employ them so as to add some top to a backyard or to carry nature to a highrise balcony, these crops are prepared for the job.

A close up horizontal image of a Japanese maple tree growing in a large, decorative pot set on drainage metal in a formal garden.

Which cultivar are you planning to develop? Tell us within the remark part under.

When you’re hoping to develop your Japanese maple gardening repertoire, we now have a number of guides that you simply may discover helpful. Verify these out subsequent:

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