Japanese Red Maple Bonsai-Time To Enrich Your Garden With Dazzling Color


If you have ever get the chance to visit Japanese garden, one landscape that you won’t miss is: Japanese red maple bonsai.

This landscaping tree get finely cut palmate leaves, split in five, seven or nine pointed lobes. The graceful stems, together with the leaves are bloody red throughout the year, except in winter, during when the tree will hibernate and its leaves will be shedding off.

Typically, the red maple are cultivated amid green bushes or against the plain wall, the striking contrast will lend endless interest to your garden.

Charmed by its beautifully displayed branches and bloody red leaves, Japanese red maple has long been chosen as bonsai plant. But i ever heard some bonsai starters complain that the Japanese red maple bonsai tree is not so easy to cultivate as they suppose. Some problems occur, such as the naturally red leaves are turning green or the leaves are seared, etc.

Here we are going to detail on the growing of Japanese red maple bonsai, hope will help your steps a bit easier during cultivation.


Japanese red maple is not finicky on its plating soil. It can grow well in slightly acidic soil or neutral soil, with pH ranging between 5.5-7.0. Ideally, the soil should be fertile, humus-rich and with good drainage.


Japanese-Red-Maple-BonsaiRed maple prefers full sun to partial shade. But avoid setting the Japanese red maple bonsai under direct sunlight during scorching summer. Its leaves are inclined to get burned by the harsh sunlight.

Maple tree is hardy and generally can resistant to cold weather with temperature low as -8℃ (18℉).

Unless the weather is freezingly cold, it is not advisable to bring the Japanese red maple bonsai indoors. Not enough sunlight will make its leaves turn slightly green. Normally, it can be set in leeward while sunny locations in the outdoors.

Make sure the bonsai tree can bathe enough sunlight indoors on condition that you have to bring it in.


Japanese red maple need humid growing environment. The amount of water evaporation is huge in hot summer season. Water the bonsai deeply as soon as the top soil layer is dry. Be sure that the excessive water is well drained through the hole underneath the bonsai tray.

Spray some water on its leaves if the weather is scorchingly hot, to make the leaves hydrated and stay fresh red.

Watering amount and frequency could be relatively reduced in other seasons, just keep the soil is in moist condition.

Be wary of too much water accumulated in the soil during rainy season, which will rotten the red maple bonsai’s roots.


Thin fertilizer can be applied on Japanese red maple bonsai to boost its growth. A good rule of thumb is to carry out fertilization once per month during its growing seasons (spring, summer and autumn). That is quite enough. Conversely, excessive fertilization may impel the red maple grow too fast, making the bonsai look out of its proportion.

The fertilizer should be thin, mainly composed of phosphate and potassium fertilizers, supplemented by nitrogen fertilizer. Too much nitrogen fertilizer will turn the leaves green.

Stop fertilizing in winter, when the Japanese red maple hibernates.


Japanese-Red-Maple-Tree-PruningPruning is best to be carried on end winter or early spring, before the new germination occurs, when the Japanese red maple tree grows slowly. The trimming will not make the tree lose too much sap during this period.

Moreover, you will have a better view of the maple tree’s outline with no leaves on it. Stretch your imagination and creativity to shape the tree as you prefer.

Cut off the weak and diseased branches. But it is wise to leave one small section of branch on it, instead cutting the weak branches thoroughly. This will help the cutting wounds heal faster and prevent shedding too much sap.

Identify the branches that cross and rub against each other. Rubbing or squeezing with each other can cause wounds on the bark, leading infection or damage to the tree.

Try to imagine how the tree will look like after cutting, then cut off the excessive branches and keep the branches that you prefer.

During the maple tree’s vigorous growth period, some leaves can also be cut off, so the leaves of the red maple can fully bathe the sunlight.

Disinfect the scissors before trimming to avoid wound infection


Use aluminum or copper wire to wrap around the trunk and branches of the maple tree and bend them in the desired direction.

Pest And Disease Control

Japanese red maple bonsai tend to easily suffer from powdery mildew during its growing period. And it is also vulnerable to long horned beetle.

Strengthen the ventilation in these cases. And there are a wide arrays of pest and disease control products available on the market to get rid of the problems.



Most of the flowers will lose their glamour after summer, while it is time for Japanese red map to display its captivation.

The breath-taking red contrasts with the green bushes, making it an intriguing backdrop for your garden.

The cultivation of the Japanese red maple bonsai is not that complicate. And it is really a gorgeous addition to your house and will enrich the color in your environment in no time.


8 thoughts on “Japanese Red Maple Bonsai-Time To Enrich Your Garden With Dazzling Color

  1. When we are on holiday at the coast there is a huge Japanese garden in the area and I never fail to visit it.
    The calming effect it has and the aura of tranquility is addictive, I never want to leave,
    Growing bonsai takes a special person with the skills of a master.
    Thank you for your good and thorough explanation and the Red Maple is a very pretty example.
    Looking forward to spend more time in your Japanese garden!

    1. Hi Stella, thanks for stopping by. I’m quite indulged myself in Japanese garden as well. The zen touch that the Japanese garden overflows is extremely attractive to me.
      Totally agree with you that growing bonsai calls for skills of master. Moreover, it needs the cultivator to be quite patient and careful. Normally, cultivating a bonsai could take several years. So bonsai cultivating actually is more of art than gardening.

  2. Hmmm, very interesting.

    I always liked bonsai trees and Japan. I think I might visit Japan soon.

    Do you think it is possible for these trees to grow anywhere else except Japan? If I ever get wealthy, I want my own bonsai garden.

    Loved this article!

    1. Hi Kayin, thanks for your comment. Sure, red maple could be grow in other areas outside Japan. Red maple prefers cool and humid growing environment. Though, red maple could be grow in other areas, but it will not look great in tropical area as the temperature is hot, thus their leaves might not turn red..
      Glad to know you will visit Japan again. Enjoy the trip!

  3. So would you say that Japanese red maple is more a fall plant since it map to display its captivation after the summer? It is a very gorgeous plant. I never heard of a Japanese red maple before. Thank you for sharing with us!

    1. Hi Carole, actually partially agree that Japanese red maple is a fall plant. As it is indeed that the red maple looks best with its bloody red leaves in autumn. However, there are various species of Japanese red maple. Some red maples species’s leaves look green in spring and summer, and will turn red in autumn. While the most famous species is: acer palmatum atropurpureum, its leaves are red throughout the year, except in winter when the red maple will hibernate.

  4. What an incredibly beautiful tree! I would love to have one for my garden. Can I buy a Japanese red maple bonsai tree in other countries too? Would it grow in the semi-desert in Mexico (where I live)? Summers are hot here but in winters it cools down.

    1. Hi Christine, I’m glad that you like the red maple. While, i think it will be difficult for red maple to grow in semi-desert in Mexico.. sorry for that. As red maple prefers cool and humid growing environment. Although the temperature in Mexico should be fine, but the dry places will not be good for its healthy cultivation..

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