|Growing Japanese Maples in Containers
Making the best of small spaces
Most Japanese maples grow slowly and are ideal for containers. Some varieties need protection from hot afternoon sun and wind, so a location with bright shade or only morning sun will best suit most potted maples.
SELECT THE RIGHT POT
Japanese maples prefer to grow snug in a container, so use a container no larger than twice the diameter of the root ball and half again as deep. If too much soil is around the root ball, there's a greater chance of the soil becoming oversaturated with water, which can lead to root rot.
THINK ABOUT DRAINAGE
Whatever container you choose, adequate drainage is essential. Drainage holes must be large enough to allow excess water to drain. Elevate the pot slightly with pot feet or a wheeled platform so drainage holes remain unblocked.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SOIL
Japanese maples thrive on moist but fast-draining soils with high air content. We recommend one of our high quality potting soils such as “Edna’s Best Potting Soil.” Do not use soil from your garden; it doesn’t drain well and may introduce disease. Plant the root ball and top of soil level 1–2” below rim of pot for watering.
TIME TO FERTILIZE
Japanese maple trees are not heavy feeders so it is important not to over fertilize. Once transplanted, wait until the second growing season before fertilizing in spring with an organic fertilizer.
PRUNE ROOTS AND REPOT
When growing your maple in a container, it’s important to prune the roots and repot every 3 - 4 years in the early spring, prior to any new growth. Root pruning is not difficult and is essential for the long-term health of your tree. Cut outer roots that are large and woody, then replant your maple in the same pot or a different one. Whenever pruning roots, also prune approximately the same percentage of top growth. Consult one of our plant specialists for details.
Download PDF handout about Growing Japanese Maples in Containers
SOME JAPANESE MAPLES SUITABLE FOR CONTAINERS