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Growing Japanese Maples in Pots

Growing Japanese Maples in Pots

Japanese Maples are excellent ornamental trees to grow in pots. Their small stature and relatively slow rate of growth makes them perfect for containers. If you have thought about growing Japanese Maples in pots, but weren’t sure where to start, this is the blog for you!

Growing Japanese Maples in Pots

Cat Looking Out At Landscape With Japanese Maple in a Pot

1. You can grow any Japanese Maple in a planter, but for the best results choose a cultivar that grows to 10 feet or less.

Growing Japanese Maples in Pots

2. Choose a pot that drains well and is about 2 times the size of the rootball or the container your Japanese Maple is in now. Don’t choose a container that is too large to start with because this often causes health problems for plants grown in pots.

Weeping Viridis Japanese Maple In Pot

3. Use a good quality potting mix when planting a Japanese Maple tree in a container.

Bloodgood Japanese Maple In A Pot

4. Japanese Maples grown in containers need to be fed more often than trees grown in the ground. Nutrients run out of the drainage holes when you water. Feed these dwarf trees twice a year with a slow release fertilizer in early spring and mid to late summer.

Aniba Shidare Japanese Maple in Pot

5. Japanese Maples grown in pots in the coldest recommended growing zone may need protection in winter by moving them into an unheated garage or shed. Plants in containers do not have the root protection that plants in the ground have so they are not as cold hardy. Ex: If your tree is recommended for zones 5 to 9 it is more like 6 to 9 when growing outdoors in a pot.

Growing Japanese Maples in Pots

6. Japanese Maples don't generally require pruning, but, if needed, prune when they are dormant to remove any dead, dying, or crowded branches, or to maintain shape. Japanese Maples grown in pots often experience some branch tip dieback in winter. This won’t harm your tree. Just snip off the dead portion of the branch with pruners. Read more on how to prune Japanese Maples.

Growing Japanese Maples in Pots

7. Repot your Japanese Maple into a larger container when the tree is starting to become root-bound in the pot. To determine if your tree needs to be repotted check for these signs:

  • Roots coming to the soil surface
  • Roots coming out of the drainage holes
  • The soil no longer retains water. As the roots take over there is less and less soil to help hold onto water.


Now you know how to grow Japanese Maples in pots! Whether planting the Red Dragon Japanese Maple, the Tamukeyama, the Coral Bark Japanese Maple, or the Bloodgood, planting them in pots will give you a pop of beautiful color. Get planting!

Browse our selection of Japanese Maples.


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