- Soak and prepare your seeds
- Hydrate your peat pellet with water
- Sow your Bonsai seeds
- Place in a sunny position
- Water when necessary
Maple Bonsai Growing Tips:
Japanese Maple or Acer Palmatum is a deciduous tree species originating from Eastern Asia. With beautiful hand shaped leaves that turn varying shades of colour in Autumn they are very sought after for home gardeners and bonsai enthusiasts.
In their natural environment maple trees go through a Winter dormancy. Growth slows right down in the Autumn as the trees lose their leaves and begin to bunker down. The ripe seeds fall down off the trees with their wing like structure helping them to disperse. This wing dries off and is often removed during commercial seed processing. The seeds are then left on the ground through Winter and begin to germinate once Spring arrives and the soil has warmed.
When growing maple seeds at home we need to mimic this natural process with a technique called stratification to initiate germination. To stratify your seeds, follow the steps below.
- Place your seeds in a bowl and cover with warm water.
- Leave the seeds to soak for 24-48 hours.
- After soaking, remove the seeds and place into a ziplock bag. Before bagging It can be helpful to wrap the seeds in moist paper towel or bury in about a cupful of moist (not dripping wet) vermiculite or potting soil. This will keep them from drying out.
- Seal up your zip lock bag leaving air inside and place into the refrigerator (your fridge is about 3-5°C).
- Each week or so refresh the air inside your bag and check to see if the paper towel or soil medium is still moist. Mist with water if needed.
- Leave your bag in the refrigerator for 5-10 weeks. If you notice your seeds begin to sprout a small white tail this is a great time to remove them for planting. They may not always pre sprout, in which case we recommend leaving in the refrigerator for the maximum time of 10 weeks.
Autumn and Spring in Australia is the best time to sow your stratified Maple seeds. This is closer to their natural growing season. If you wish to plant your seeds in the other seasons, try out these tips:
Winter sowing- Keep your pots in a light area indoors and place inside a mini hothouse to keep the soil warmer. You could also repurpose clear food containers flipped upside down to insulate the pots.
Summer sowing- Place pots indoors away from direct sunlight. You do not want to burn the young shoots. They will need regular watering and daily monitoring as small pots dry out fast.
Once sprouted, hardening off your young tree seedlings is recommended before moving to their final bonsai pot. This acclimatises them to outdoor conditions and prevents leggy weak seedlings.
Begin by bringing your pots outdoors for a couple of hours at a time in some partial sun. Ensure they are protected from strong winds which can knock over pots and dry out the soil. Gradually increase the time outdoors over a period of 1-2 weeks. Watering is a must and should be done regularly, particularly in hot weather.
For further growing information including how to prune, fertilise and style your new bonsai tree, check out the care booklet included in your kit or download below.
Download Instruction Booklet
Additional Maple growing instructions
Visit the Bonsai FAQ page