The Japanese Maple Bonsai is stunning…..

japanese maple bonsai

Like us, you have to acknowledge the sheer beauty of the Japanese Maple Bonsai. It's amazing display qualities have Bonsai enthusiasts worldwide attempting to grow the very best Maples they can.

It is hard to find the exact meaning behind the Japanese Maple, but traditionally, in Japanese folklore, passing a child through the branches of a Maple tree is said to bring good health, success and wealth. Sounds pretty good to us!

Also, the Japanese Maple is often referred to by the Japanese as 'Momigi', meaning 'Baby's Hands'.

.......Lets have a look at this magnificent tree!

The Japanese Maple Bonsai (Acer palatum): is a deciduous shrub or small tree with a broad, rounded shape and is grown in temperate gardens and landscapes all over the world.

The Japanese Maple Bonsai is native to China, Japan and Korea, is well liked and undoubtedly one of the most popular Maples due to it's vibrant colours and small stature.

The red ATTROPURPUREUM variety is possibly more attractive than the standard and more generally offered. It is one of the most beautiful small trees for an ornamental landscape.

The Japanese maple is a dominant fixture in the Japanese style garden. The brilliant colours are best enjoyed in autumn, when the foliage illuminates the garden.

In contrast, the Japanese Maple's slender twigs and multifaceted branches provide great interest during the winter months.

The Japanese maple will grow from seeds, however seedlings are more likely to grow faster, stronger and more drought tolerant.

Jap Maple 2

Japanese Maple Bonsai Care Tips

Soil, Lighting, & Watering

• The Japanese maple requires well-drained, fertile acidic soil.

• The tree should be placed where it receives morning and afternoon light, but should never be placed in direct light, rather filtered lighting.

• The delicate foliage of the Japanese maple can burn easily.

• The Japanese maple needs regular watering, preferably in the morning and evening to prevent the soil from drying out. Make sure the soil is well drained to prevent root rotting. Click HERE to learn more about Bonsai soil, or HERE for more information on watering.


• Feed your Japanese maple every 20-30 days with a slow-acting organic fertilizer from spring to autumn

• Do not feed for two months after re potting or when a tree is damaged.


• The ideal time to re-pot Japanese Maples is mid spring time

• The aim is to repot before they break into foliage.
Pruning & Wiring: • Japanese Maple Bonsai are usually shaped by pinching and pruning

• If wiring is required, make sure you do this in summer months when the tree is in full leaf. You would be well advised to protect the bark with raffia, and to not leave the wire on for more than six months

• The trunk of a young maple can also be shaped by fixing it to a stake. You may wish to bend the trunk or to maintain the more straight and formal style.

• Root pruning should go together with branch pruning so that the root system is not strained trying to provide nutrients to an oversized branch system

• Branch pruning should be done mainly in autumn or winter. It is recommended that you seal pruning wounds with a wound dressing or putty

• You should aim to develop fine branches and avoid long **internodes**

• With the styling techniques you have learnt, pinch back new growth during the growing season. The best way to pinch back new shoots is by pruning them to two (internodes) sets of leaves at a time.

• If you want to master this technique like the Japanese masters, remove the shoots with tweezers. By using a magnifying glass you will be able to identify the shoot as it first begins to open

• If your Japanese Maple has been grown with long internodes, you may want to shorten them by cutting back the branch to the first internode and re-growing it. This way you will be able to achieve beautiful branches as you use the pinching technique to keep the internodes short

• Leaf pruning or the removal of leaves should be done every second year in early summer, to encourage smaller leaves. When all the leaves are removed, it will mimic the presence of autumn, “false autumn”, and you will achieve a second set of leaves that will be much smaller

• It is important to not leaf prune if your Japanese Maple has been re-potted that year.

****An internode is the space on a branch, from one pair of leaves to the next.

Leave Japanese Maple Bonsai and Head back to the Maple Bonsai Guide!