Japanese maples in pots
Amateur Gardening|November 14, 2020
Anne Swithinbank masterclass on: potted maples
Anne Swithinbank

Q I love Japanese maples and would like to grow one in a pot because I don’t think we have the right soil and we might move soon. Which one should I choose, and what container size and compost will I need to keep it healthy? Donna Dunlop, Clitheroe, Lancashire

A There are several advantages to growing these beautiful small trees in containers. We don’t all have the slightly acidic, humus-rich and well-draining soil they prefer and this is easy to fix in a pot. Although these trees are naturally compact, root restriction helps keep them neat. Best of all, they are mobile, and as well as moving house with you (use a sack truck for large containers), potted trees are easily shifted out of locations that turn out to be wind tunnels, frost pockets or receive harsh afternoon sun. The major drawback is care, as containerised plants will need regular potting on, watering and feeding.

The term ‘Japanese maple’ usually refers to cultivars of Acer palmatum but could include those of slightly larger full-moon maple (Acer japonicum). One of the easiest to find and grow is Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’, a naturally low-growing mound-forming tree whose fine, deeply cut leaves are beautiful from their bright spring unfurling to the bonfire shades of autumn.

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