Tips on How to Care for Japanese Maple Bonsai

There are many kinds of trees that you can use for bonsai. A lot of experts however have a marked preference for the Japanese maple. If properly attended to, the Japanese maple can stay strong and continue to sprout beautiful foliage. The Japanese maple bonsai can be red or green with many other variations. All Japanese maple bonsai types however are fine and elegant.


The Japanese maple bonsai is still a live plant and would therefore normally benefit from some sun exposure. You have to remember though that the Japanese maple bonsai has sensitive leaves that could burn and curl when exposed to too much sunlight. The best way to get over this problem is to expose the plant only during times of the day when the sun is not too hot. Winter however is not a good time to leave your bonsai outdoors since the harsh climate could equally be as damaging.

Provide Water

The lack of water could result in dry soil and a dehydrated Japanese maple bonsai. There is no rule against watering the bonsai plant everyday. You should however only water the plant early in the morning before the sun comes out. Experts believe that water droplets on the leaves could increase the sun's burning power. Others also suggest that water could contribute to leaf burns since minerals in the water could produce a chemical reaction when exposed to the sun.


Pruning is the way to shape and manage a Japanese maple bonsai. You usually prune roots, branches and leaves with additional internode control. It is suggested that pruning should be avoided during spring since this could be harmful to your bonsai. There are pruning schedules that you should ideally follow. Leaves can be pruned during the early to mid parts of summer while root, branch and extensive pruning should be done in the fall.

It is also possible to simulate the autumn effect on a Japanese maple bonsai in the summer. Doing so will produce finer and better looking leaves. The rule for Japanese maple bonsai defoliation is that it should not be done in the same year as repotting. Once you are done pruning you should take extra care to dress the pruning wounds.

Internodes are another thing you should look into. A Japanese maple bonsai would look more exquisite without long internodes. You can make sure that the internodes stay short by pinching branches and taking away blossoming shoots.


Experts do not always agree about wiring because some maintain that pruning and pinching is enough to shape a Japanese maple bonsai. Wiring however may additionally be employed. It is usually advisable to avoid wiring during winter or after the leaves have fallen. This is because the bonsai may be extra sensitive and any damage from wiring may not heal well.

You should be careful during spring wiring since the wires could damage the bonsai during its growth and healing phase. It is usually recommended not to leave the wires for longer than half a year.

By: May Stern

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