General Question

zina's avatar

How to care for an indoor, potted Japanese Maple Tree?

Asked by zina (1634 points ) September 1st, 2008

I just got this lovely ~4ft green lace-leaf tree and want to help it be healthy and happy indoors. I’ve Googled for care tips, but see a lot of conflicting info. Most of the stuff on indoor trees is for the Japanese maple bonzais.

I’m in very moderate part of the Bay Area, and it’s in a room with lots of direct and indirect light (currently I have it out of the direct light) and windows often open.

Reliable online resources and any personal experience would be very helpful!

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6 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

Can you give me more detailed information, so I can better understand what you are asking?

September 1, 2008, 7:39 PM EDT

zina's avatar

I have a 4 ft Japanese maple tree (the green, lace-leaf variety) in a 5 gallon pot, and I’m wondering how to best take care of it indoors. I’m not sure what other info to give. I Googled and found various blogs, some people saying they can’t survive indoors, others saying they can…..

I’m looking for info on kinds of light, change to a bigger pot, types of soil or fertilizer, how to prune it, and anything else that would be relevant to know. Either personal tips or being pointed to an online resource of reliable info. Thanks!

gailcalled's avatar

The tree will let you know when it needs to be repotted. (Roots will show thru the drainage hole. Did the nursery where you purchased it give you any tips? Japanese Maple is usually planted outdoors and could easily get too big for its britches inside. Normal potting soil and easy on the fertilizer until it establishes itself. Do you have neighbors who might help?

This answer made sense botanically.

rowenaz's avatar

It is still going to go through the seasonal changes? I have a little Ornamental Japanese Maple, which I leave outdoors year round, and it changes colors and drops leaves. Will it do that inside? Go dormant?

boxing's avatar

Zina, the first thing you need to find out is the accurate name of the tree you have.

Although Japanese maples are usually planted outdoors in the States, many cultivars can successfully be planted in containers. Many are suitable as bonsai too.

What kind of light depends on the exact cultivar, most prefer partly shade though. Root system is usually compact, so I don’t think you need a huge container to begin with, and observe the need to go bigger or even outdoors in the future. About pruning, I think it will not be much and they usually keep their form well, unless you want to keep it small (think bonsai). Make sure the soil is well drained and do NOT over-fertilize it. In other words, you don’t have to fertilize it often.

I strongly suggest you to ask advises from your neighborhood nurseries, not Home Depot and Lowe’s.

phil196662's avatar

@zina ; As you know any potted plant needs to be taken out and the soil changed, bigger container or root pruned at least every TWO Years! remember to sneak up on it while it’s Sleeping during the winter.

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