Japanese Red Maple Bonsai Tree Care Sheet

General Description:

The Japanese Red Maple Bonsai Tree from our wholesale nursery is a rare maple that is beloved in the bonsai world for its vibrant display of color. This tree is native to both Japan and China, and displays red leaves with 5 serrated lobes – some people say that each leaf resembles a human hand. When the tree is young, the bark and branches will usually have a hue of green that will darken to brown or light grey as the tree ages. Japanese Maples provide some of the best examples of bonsai in the entire world, and the red varieties are especially popular because it is unique in most parts of the world.


The Japanese Red Maple should be placed in a location where it received plenty of sunlight in the morning and evening, but is shaded or partially shaded during the intense sun of the afternoon. If the tree is exposed to the sunlight during the heat of the day, the leaves will turn brown and wilt – which will ruin (at least temporarily) the beauty of the tree. Maples in general have sensitive leaves when it comes to harsh sunlight, so be mindful to protect the tree but to also provide adequate lighting. Please be sure you check out our full selection of bonsai trees for sale from our online nursery after you have read up on the Japanese Red Maple Bonsai Tree.


We recommend that you keep the soil of this tree slightly moist, and it should certainly not be allowed to dry out completely as it is not drought tolerant. The number one reason that bonsai trees die is because of improper watering practices! You should check the soil daily by pressing gently with your fingers on the topsoil to check for moisture. If the soil feels dry, it is time to water! Be careful not to overwater your wholesale bonsai tree, as this can cause root rot and can cause just as much damage as not watering the tree at all! Starting (and more importantly maintaining!) a good watering practice is key to keeping the Red Maple thriving throughout the year.


Why do you need to fertilize your tree in the first place? Since bonsai trees are kept in tiny pots, the roots have access to very limited soil (unlike in nature) which therefore causes them to use up the nutrients of that soil very quickly. Fertilizing the tree regularly helps replace the nutrients back into the soil. For the Red Maple, you should fertilize every three weeks during growing season from spring to fall, using a balanced fertilizer such as Osmocote 20-20-20.


You can remove any new, unwanted growth during the spring by simply pinching it away with your fingers to help keep the shape you are aiming for. You should remove any oversized leaves to help encourage the growth of more, smaller leaves in its place. We recommend that every two years in the spring, you remove all the leaves, which is known as a false autumn. This is a little trick for maples that will cause the tree to urgently produce a second set of leaves that are more attractive and smaller than the set you removed. Please only do this if you know your tree is healthy and do not defoliate the same year that you repot. Most people do not choose to wire their maple and achieve the desired shape via pruning, but if you choose to wire then we recommend that you aim for the formal upright style.


We recommend that you repot your maple every other year when you first receive the tree, and every 3 years once the tree is older. You should repot in the spring, just before growing season is fully underway. For an in depth look into when to repot you tree, please click the link. When you remove the maple from its pot, you should cut away ½ of the root ball to ensure that the tree will have room to “grow into” the pot again.

Potential Pests:

If kept healthy and watered properly, Red Maples are usually not prone to pests – so your first course of action should be to maintain the health of the tree! If you do run into problems, they could root rot (caused by overwatering), mildew (also caused by excessive moisture and not enough air circulation, or aphids. Please click the link to read more about each one. But remember, prevention is always the best cure!


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