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Growing Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

Updated on April 30, 2013
My 'baby'.  This variety of Japanese Maple is called Sango-kaku.
My 'baby'. This variety of Japanese Maple is called Sango-kaku. | Source

During High School, I took 3 years of Horticulture. During that time, I feel in love with Japanese Maples. As a Sophomore, I was given a cutting of a Japanese Maple. I took care of it and loved it. Today, it's a beautiful tree. These trees add a lot of beauty to your yard and are very popular.

Choosing Your Japanese Maple

Japanese Maples have a lot of different varieties. Each one has different care instructions and different climates it can grow in.

  1. Before you start picking your tree, determine what kind of climate you live in. If you live in a hot place such as Texas, you probably don't want to pick a tree that needs a cooler climate. The same goes for if you live in a place such as Oregon. You might not want to pick a tree that needs a warmer climate.
  2. Pick a spot for your tree. Your tree needs room to grow. Some trees grow bigger than others so if you have a certain growth that you want your tree, keep that in mind.
  3. What kind of look do you want? Do you want a maple with dark leaves? Light leaves? Weeping? Look up pictures of different maples to help determine which one you want.

Growing Your Maple From Seed

Japanese Maple seeds can be tough to grow. If you are going to attempt this, patience is definitely needed. If you are going to go ahead and try to grow Japanese Maples from seeds, go collect some fresh seeds from existing trees.

It is recommended that you gather as many seeds as you can and plant them all. Chances are, only half your seeds will grow into sproutlings.

When you are ready to plant your seeds, do so. Plant them in pots (separately) in the Fall and put them in a place that is under 40 degrees F (sun porch, garage, fridge). When the weather warms up, let them sprout on their own.

Please be aware that this method isn't suggested as there is no guarantee what will really sprout from the seeds you planted. This method takes patience. A lot of it! If you can help it, I would suggest buying from your local nursery or growing your maple from a clipping.

This is an example of new growth that you would cut for a clipping.
This is an example of new growth that you would cut for a clipping. | Source

Growing Your Maple From a Clipping

Growing a Japanese Maple from a clipping can also take a lot of patience. To grow a maple from a clipping you first need to get clippings from a friend or family's existing tree. I would not advise taking a clipping from a store or nursery because that is considered stealing.

When you are growing the Japanese Maple clipping, it is suggested that you use soil. Clip a newly growing bud from the tree and dip it in water and then rooting hormone. Then, place the clipping in the soil with at least one leaf node burried.

Place the clipping in a plastic bag with the top open. This will help keep the plant moist. Place the plant in a warm place and away from direct sunlight.

While the clipping is growing, you need to spray the plant with a mister several times a day to ensure that the soil is moist. This is very important.

You will know if the clipping successfully grew when you see several new leaves on the clipping. Be sure to plant your tree in the ground before it becomes root bound to the pot.


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