Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree Care
The Japanese Maples come in a very wide variety of cultivars. The foliage varies in size and colour dramatically.
Some of the most common cultivars include:
Deshojo – Amanzingly red foliage in spring
Seigen – Red in spring, turning to red and orange in autumn
Dissectum – Highly segmented leaves. A purple version is also common
Katsura – Orange in spring, turning green in summer before turning flame yellow in autumn
Kiyohime – Very small leaves, naturally bush-forming habit
Sango Kaku – Pink branches, green leaves
Ukon – Lush, fresh green growth. Sound dull, though the green hue is captivating
Arakawa – Grown for the woody character of the trunk and branches
A deciduous tree which lends itself well to bonsai cultivation. The leaves reduce well in size with time. Most cultivars have fine branches. The tree back-buds well and responds well to pruning. Most plants have woody bark. Can be susceptible to wire damage if the wire is left on for too long. The bright colours of the foliage can suit brightly coloured pots if desired though it also looks great in an unglazed bonsai pot.
The tree can be grown in a range of styles including upright, slanting and cascade. Good in a twin trunk, triple trunk and group style.
A bright location is useful for developing good autumn colour. The leaves are however very fine and can be easily damaged by strong summer sun. Strong wind will also dry out the delicate leaves of the finer cultivars. During summer we use light shade netting, available from garden centres, to provide dappled shade.
Japanese Maples are quite resistant to cold and can withstand temperatures as low as minus 10. We keep them outside in winter, but then protect them in spring, as strong wind and late frosts can damage the leaves when they are small and just emerging.
Watering will be required most days during the summer. Don’t let the tree fully dry out in cold weather.
Repot younger trees every two years in early spring. Mature bonsai should be repotted less frequently, when necessary. Use a general bonsai soil mix.
Feed from spring to autumn