The Japanese maple bonsai is one of the most popular bonsai trees. Chosen for its magnificent color and form and the fact that it is fairly easy to grow and to train, it is no surprise that it continues to be a favorite among novices and expert bonsai artists.
There are many sub varieties of the Japanese maple. It has over 300 known hybrids, many of which are available commercially not only in Japan, Korea and China where the tree is native to, but also in many other parts of the world. Among the many types of Japanese maple, the more popular ones chosen for bonsai growing are the red leaf Japanese maple and the cascading green maple shrub.
Japanese maple varieties may differ wildly in their growth, leaf structure, and needs. But they also share common characteristics such as their preference for a well drained soil and their ability to thrive when grown in containers. They don’t fare well in extreme weather conditions but are otherwise considered as low maintenance plants. When grown outdoors, they can reach up to 6 to 10 meters and are usually found following a dome-like formation.
Another feature of the Japanese maple bonsai that makes them ideal for bonsai artist is that they can be trained in almost any style of bonsai formation. From the informal moyogi (upright) to the more elaborate sekijoju (root over rock) style, Japanese maple bonsai trees perform beautifully.
To care for a Japanese maple bonsai, here are some things you need to do:
- Locate your bonsai plant where they receive morning and/or afternoon sun and shade from the hot noon time sun.
- If you plan to keep your bonsai outdoors, put adequate protection to shield it from very strong winds.
- Water them frequently, once a day, during spring and summer. In colder months, reduce the frequency to prevent frost damage to the roots. Remember that Japanese maple thrives in moist soil conditions.
- Plant them in soil that drains well. Roots can easily rot when left in soggy soil.
- Prune the roots regularly.
- In winter, take necessary precautions to protect your Japanese maple bonsai from the winter frost. Move it indoors, water conservatively, and insulate the roots by covering the soil with a layer of straw.
With the right care and techniques, your patience in growing these magnificent bonsai trees will reward you by bringing you a beautiful bonsai to enjoy season after season