Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum) Care Sheet

(Acer Palmatum)

 Tips and Tricks for Caring for Your Japanese Maple Tree

Japanese Maples are some of the most extravagant trees for bonsai. Their bright-colored foliage makes them very popular. There are many different varieties from Japan, China, and Korea.

Japanese Maples don't need a lot of sunlight. They prefer partly shady yards to protect them from harsh midday rays. They enjoy morning and evening sun with scattered sunlight throughout the day. Keep them in a shaded, airy place. Japanese Maples do best in zones 5 and 6.

Japanese Maples are best suited for outdoor growing. They can adapt to a wide range of climates. Though Japanese Maples are cold hardy, they still need protected from harsh winter weather. Protect your tree from temperatures below 28°F. The root also needs protection from frost and heavy winds. After leaf fall, move into a frost-free shed or garage.

During the spring and summer, you may need to water every day. Less watering is required in the fall and winter months. The soil should be kept evenly moist every day during the growing season. During very hot days, it may be necessary to water several times a day, if the soil is well-drained and the tree is health. Rainwater is preferred, as they require slightly acidic environments.

Japanese Maples do best in a deciduous mix. They can be planted in any well-draining, nutrient-rich soil that is slightly acidic.
Regular fertilizing is necessary for the growth of your Japanese Maple. During the spring and summer, fertilize with organic pellets and a liquid foliar fertilizer every week. During the fall, switch to a nitrogen-free fertilizer and do not feed as often. Do not fertilize for several weeks after repotting as you risk burning the roots.

Japanese Maples do not need re-potted as often once they're well established. Young trees benefit from yearly repotting and pruning of the root ball. The best time to repot is in spring before the buds have opened. This allows for them to recover enough before going dormant. Japanese Maples have strong roots that grow quickly and usually fill pots in a short amount of time. 

You can propagate a Japanese Maple through seeds, cuttings, or air layering in the spring.

In the spring and summer, new shoots should be pinched back on a regular basis to shape the tree and encourage branching. Shoots and twigs can be trimmed year-round. Heavy pruning should be done in the fall and winter months. When pruning thick branches, use cut paste to prevent fungal diseases. Be careful - cutting a branch past the first node increases the risk of losing that branch.

Most wiring is done in late winter months while the tree still has all of its leaves. Do not leave wire on for more than six months at a time. The branches are flexible and easy to shape. The best time is in early spring before buds appear, as the tree is clear and visible at this time. Do not wire in the winter because the branches are too brittle. This tree is suitable for many forms of bonsai: broom, informal, upright, group plantings, raft, twin trunk, clump, and weeping.

Japanese Maples are susceptible to aphids, verticillium wilt, spider mites, weevils, etc. Verticillium wilt is a fungal disease that can transfer to your other trees through tools, so make sure to clean tools properly after each use. It is noticeable by black spots in the wood and it is not treatable.


Deciduous Bonsai Soil Mix
KIKU™ Aluminum Training Wire
Superthrive 4•1•1
Fertilizer Pellets



After years of enjoying the hobby of Bonsai, Superfly Bonsai was born. It started with a single bonsai soil mix, known as Pro Mix, and quickly gained popularity. This led Superfly to add more mixes to meet the needs of different trees, climates, and personal preferences. After merging with Meco Bonsai and KIKU™ Tools, Superfly Bonsai now offers over 1,000 bonsai-related products to both the wholesale and retail market.

One of the best ways to learn about bonsai is to join a local bonsai club. Look for clubs and classes in your area to further your bonsai knowledge!