Bonsai trees

Japanese maple bonsai

Latin name

Acer palmatum

Common name

Japanese maple bonsai


Japanese maple bonsais are one of the most beautiful trees all around the world. They are characteristic thanks to their palmate or channeling leaves. The description “palmate” refers to the leaf resembling an open hand, hence the use of the word “palm”. Ideal candidates for growing and maintenance are miniature forms. It is because the miniature forms have fine-coloured leaves that makes people admire the display especially in the Autumn when the leaves will transform themselves through a colour display involving bright yellows through to a shiny yellow followed by orange, red and finally a magenta colouration.

Younger trees will have brighter stems that normally have a reddish or green colouration but as they mature the stems will darken into a grey or brown colouration.

Another great advantage of training the Japanese maple is their ability to withstand cooler temperatures, even down to frosty conditions but they do not like intense sunlight for long periods so it is wise to provide them with some shade in the middle of the summer heat.




Light: Leafs turn to nice colours during Autumn if you let the Sun shine on your bonsai directly. However, avoid direct sunlight during Summer, otherwise leafs may burn.

Temperature and exposure

Protect the tree from temperatures lower than -10°C.

Pruning and forming

Cut new sprouts during Spring into one or two leaf pairs. Large leaves should be cut during the growing season, every other year in the early summer months . Also, cut long sprouts which have very long distance between two leafs in order to keep the same distance between each other. Cutting every leaf during Summer helps growing new small leafs and beautiful Autumn colouring.

Always take care when pruning shoots and branches, a callous needs to form quickly to prevent excessive bleeding of sap so this should be performed late summer, early autumn. pruning cuts are best sealed with a suitable sealant paste to prevent the risk of a fungal infection to the tree.

Soil and replanting

It is necessary to replant young trees every second year until it gets 10 years old. Use soil which consists of one parts of argillaceous rock, 2 parts of peat, and 2 parts of sand or granulate clay.

Watering and fertilization

Watering maples must be done through the entire year depending upon requirements. Summer - often and heavy. The soil must not get dry during Winter. Direct sunlight and water on leaves don't get together very well; Avoid it. Water on the leaves may burn in the sunlight, water around the edges of the pot as it is the roots that require the water only.

In the hot summer days get into the routine of watering on a daily basis and in extreme heat twice a day may be required. It is best to perform this in the early morning and evening as the sun fades allowing the water to soak into the medium before most is lost to evaporation..


Through summer: From green sprouts cuttings.

Spring and Summer: Classic or aerial diving.


Maples are suitable for all styles and sizes except the literati style.Literati or “Bungingi” is where the branches are based at the top of the tree as though it has struggled to obtain maximum height above other trees and sometimes involves removing areas of bark.

Japanese maple

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