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Japanese maple bonsai

Japanese Maple Bonsai Trees: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing and Caring

Are you dreaming of growing a Japanese maple bonsai at home? But are you also confused about how to plant a Japanese maple bonsai? Well, we got you covered, gardeners!

Many bonsai gardeners have a soft spot in their hearts for Japanese maples, and why not? They are the ideal specimen tree with gorgeous summer and fall foliage and cold-hardy roots. They have the most beautiful leaves that bonsai can have.  

So, we are addressing your questions through this blog which will guide you on the growing, making, and caring for Japanese maple bonsai.

A tour of Japanese Maple Bonsai

Common NameJapanese Maple Bonsai
Botanical NameAcer Palmatum
Native AreaJapan
Plant TypeDelicious Tree
Sun ExposurePartial sun
Soil pHAcidic 5.5 to 6.5

Japan is home to the deciduous Japanese maple tree. The tint of the leaves varies as the tree grows older. They begin with a green hue, then shift to an orange hue finally ending with a deep red hue. The tree’s flexible branches make it ideal for bonsai training.

Japanese Maple bonsai tree will truly brighten up a room in a house or an office. How to make Japanese maple bonsai demands more dedication than planting any other plant.

Bonsai pots come in various shapes and sizes, and finding the right one for your bonsai tree is essential. You can find a variety of bonsai pots for sale online, including ceramic, plastic, and terra cotta options. Consider the material, size, and design when selecting a bonsai pot to ensure it meets the specific needs of your tree.

Japanese Maple Varieties for Bonsai

There are several Japanese maple cultivars suited for bonsai cultivation and training, and some of the most popular and well-known bonsai are mentioned below:

  • Acer palmatum – Deshojo
  • Acer palmatum – Arakawa
  • Acer palmatum – Seigen
  • Acer palmatum – Katsura
  • Acer palmatum – Shishigashira

Growing Japanese Maples from Seeds

This question pops up in the head of every bonsai lover: how to grow Japanese maples from seeds? Yes, you certainly can grow it from seeds but the problem is elsewhere. The majority of the beautiful Japanese maple species available in nurseries are grafted, which means that the seeds they generate will not grow into the same tree.

Planting a Japanese maple seed will certainly result in a generic Japanese maple tree. It’ll still be a Japanese maple, and it’ll probably have red summer leaves, but it won’t be as spectacular as the parent tree.

So, the natural question that pops ups after this is. 

Is it impossible to grow Japanese maples from seed? The answer is definitely a ‘No’. It is certainly not impossible to grow. Japanese maples are magnificent trees that consistently exhibit vibrant colors in the fall. And, because you never know what you’ll get, the possibility is endless.

How to germinate Japanese maple seed?

In the fall, Japanese maple seeds are mature. When they’re brown and dried and falling off the trees, it is the ideal time to collect them. You can plant both the seeds that fell into the ground and the seeds that you gathered from the maple tree. 

It’s critical to pre-treat Japanese maple seeds before sowing them on the ground. 

  • Place your seeds in a paper bag and store them in a cold, dark place during the winter if you wish to plant them outdoors in the spring. 

Note: You can entirely skip storing seeds in a colder area and start treating the seeds right away if you plan to begin them in a pot.

  • Start by breaking off the wings of the seeds. 
  • After that, soak your seeds for 24 hours in a container filled with water that is quite warm but not too hot to put your hand in. A bowl full of lukewarm water will do. 
  • Then, in a sealable plastic bag, ensure to combine the seeds with a little amount of potting soil
  • To stratify, poke a couple of holes in the bag for ventilation and place it in the refrigerator for 90 days. 
  • You can plant the seeds in a container or directly in the ground after 90 days. 


  • If you live where the winters are extremely chilly, you can skip the fridge and simply sow your seeds after they have soaked outside. 
  • The seeds will stratify just as effectively in the cold of winter.

After how to make Japanese maple bonsai , another question that adds to gardeners’ query is how to care for my bonsai? Well, we will break it down and elucidate the process for your understanding. 

Japanese Maple Bonsai Care

Japanese maple bonsai are reasonably easy to maintain and make excellent bonsai for both beginners and experts.


Some bonsai species require more sunshine than Japanese maple bonsai. 

It totally depends on the location because it will thrive if you have the perfect location to plant your Japanese Maple. Therefore being clever is vital. It’s critical to give your maple bonsai the best possible protection from the sun’s direct and destructive rays.

Japanese maple bonsai do best when placed in positions that receive early and evening sun. The sun is minimized in the late afternoon and evening, preventing sunscald, leaf burns and requiring less watering, just enough to keep the soil moist and cool. By placing your Japanese bonsai in a position with decent morning exposure but enough shade to prevent direct exposure, you can provide the amount of sunlight without causing sun damage.

Note on how to make Japanese maple bonsai:

A place with many tall shade trees is ideal for your Japanese Maples. These trees thrive in areas with dappled shade and filtered shade.


To flourish, Japanese maple bonsai requires a well-drained nutrient-rich soil with a 5.5- 6.5 pH range  You can buy bonsai soil from our store as the soil mix is better because it is carefully prepared to assist bonsai tree growth. You can dodge waterlogging by adding a drainage layer of rocks or stones to the bottom of the pot of the Japanese maple bonsai tree.


Like other bonsai plants, Japanese maples require a lot of moisture to survive. These maple trees may demand daily watering during the spring and summer months, but they will require substantially less water during the fall and winter months. You should keep it as the soil is uniformly moist but never flooded during the spring and summer.

It’s best to water the Japanese bonsai tree before the heat arrives in order to guarantee that it has enough water to survive. Like any other plant, Japanese maple bonsai may suffer from nutrient deficiencies and root problems and die in the worst-case scenario if given insufficient water. The goal of watering your bonsai is to soak the soil completely.

Note on how to make Japanese maple bonsai:

  • Japanese maples cannot withstand drought, which is why it is crucial to maintain soil moisture at a constant level.
  • Just make sure to water the maple bonsai tree fully until the entire root mass is saturated. 
  • Avoid watering with calcareous water as the bonsai tree prefers a neutral or slightly acid pH value. 

Temperature and Humidity

Japanese Maple Bonsai thrive in a bright, airy environment. Still, when temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius or higher, it should be moved to a spot with indirect sunlight to avoid injuring the leaves. Even when trained as a Bonsai, it is frost resilient, although it should be protected when temperatures dip below -10 °C.

Japanese maple bonsai trees are best grown outside India and do not thrive well indoors like most bonsai. Although they are cold-hardy, they can only withstand brief periods of freezing temperatures and should be protected from harsh winter climates.


Japanese maple bonsai require regular fertilization to produce vibrant and consistent new growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are the three basic elements that should be present in the soil. Each component has a distinct function. Nitrogen stimulates leaf and stems growth, phosphorus promotes healthy root growth, and potassium is responsible for the bonsai plant’s overall health.

We recommend you feed the tree with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two weeks during the spring since the buds require an extra push while they are in the blossoming stage. Switch to a nitrogen-free fertilizer in the fall and reduce the frequency of feedings to the Japanese maple bonsai tree.

Note on how to make Japanese maple bonsai:

  • After repotting a Japanese maple bonsai, ensure not to feed them for a few weeks to let the delicate roots develop without being startled.
  • To avoid unduly big leaves and internodes, avoid high nitrogen fertilizers for your maple bonsai tree.


Pruning a Japanese maple bonsai tree on a regular basis is necessary for its attractiveness and health. Pruning your bonsai at the wrong time might cause serious harm or even death.

You should prune your Japanese bonsai twice a year. First, you can prune your bonsai tree in the middle of winter before any warmer weather hits in. Early February is the optimum time. You can do heavy training or corrective pruning now.


  • Make sure to dodge pruning in late winter and early spring since it may lead your Japanese maple bonsai to grow quickly once the weather warms up.
  • Pruning correctly will remove any ugly dead stems and will aid in teaching your bonsai plant to look like the shape and form you wish.

Early growth of your bonsai might cause frost damage and perhaps kill the plants.  Following the hardening of the spring flush of growth, your maple bonsai needs a little second-pruning. It will remove  any undesired wild growth from the tree and make it more adorable.

To prevent fungal diseases from entering pruning wounds, we recommend using a cut paste solution while cutting thick branches. Some fungal infections and illnesses are particularly dangerous to maple trees. Pruning new growth to one or two pairs of leaves is a good idea. 

Pinching mature Bonsai with a careful ramification will keep the twigs thin. Make sure to remove the tiny tender tip of the shoot between the first leaf pair and the second leaf pair to keep the twigs from thickening. 

Note: This procedure will weaken the tree in the long run and should be practiced carefully.

Leaf pruning

It is the process of removing all leaves from a plant throughout the growing season to foster a second, finer flush of growth. You should not perform it every year because it puts the bonsai tree under a lot of stress. 

How to make Japanese maple bonsai includes removing all of the leaves but leaving the leaf stems alone. You can do it every year because partial leaf pruning is a gentler and less demanding trimming technique. Partial pruning does not necessitate removing all of the leaves. Remove the tree’s largest leaves, tightly spaced, and those in the tree’s strongest parts, and your work is done!

Potting and Repotting

The Japanese maple tree, like other bonsai, does not need to be repotted on a regular basis once it has established itself. On the other hand, Young trees benefit from repotting every year to help freshen the soil and trim the rootball. Japanese Bonsai pots will aid in achieving the bonsai look while also limiting the tree’s development over time.

The optimal time to repot Japanese maple bonsai is right before the buds bloom in the spring. It will give the maple bonsai tree enough time to heal from the repotting before going into dormancy due to them football and winter.

Note on how to make Japanese maple bonsai:

  • Japanese maples under the age of ten years must be re-potted every one to two years. 
  • We recommend you re-pot mature plants every two to three years. 
  • It is critical to remove up to half the length of the roots, especially on younger bonsai. 
  • The root structure of Japanese plants is shallow, allowing them to be planted in a shallow container while still allowing for rapid root growth. Avoid cutting any main roots as it will upset the primary system.

Common Pests and Diseases

  • Although the Japanese Maple is a tough tree, it is susceptible to sap-sucking insects known as aphids in the spring. We recommend you use a normal insecticide spray to get rid of aphids and follow the directions on the label. 
  • Verticillium wilt (fungal disease) can kill your Japanese Maple Bonsai entirely or partially. It is incurable and can be spread to other trees using Bonsai tools. On fresh cuts, it appears as black patches in the wood. If you suspect Verticillium in your tree(s) then make sure to clean and disinfect your tools properly.


The Japanese Maple bonsai tree is particularly popular among bonsai lovers. It’s a lovely bonsai tree, and it’s what most people imagine when they think of bonsai trees.

The leaves become stunning crimson, gold, red, and orange colors during the autumn months, making them exceptionally lovely. Japanese maple bonsai adds a splash of color.

It is a bonsai tree that is highly recommended for those new to the hobby of bonsai trees. The Japanese Maple bonsai tree is low-maintenance and easy to care for. If you have any queries on how to make Japanese maple bonsai, comment below.

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