How to Grow a Japanese Maple Tree From Seeds


Anyone who has a large enough piece of land understands that a lot of trees produce a lot of leaves that need raking in the fall. The larger the leaf, the harder it is it clean them up, which is just one reason why trees like the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) are well-liked. Their thin and delicate leaves fall and crumble easily into soil. You can find little seedlings popping up under the tree, which can be transplanted, or you can save the seeds that fall and start your own seedlings.

Step 1

Break off the wings of your collected Japanese maple seeds. You should collect them as soon as possible after they fall to prevent squirrels and insects from getting into them. The actual seed is inside the woody coating, but you do not have to remove it for the seed to sprout.

Step 2

Place the seeds in a baggie filled with equal parts of perlite and dampened peat moss. Place the seeds in the middle of the mixture so they stay covered. Close the bag and place it in the refrigerator for three months. This is a necessary process for the seed to come out of hibernation.

Step 3

Remove the seeds from the bag once the cooling time is over and plant them about 2 inches deep in a plant pot filled with regular potting soil. Some of the seeds may have already started sprouting, so handle them carefully so you don't break off the sprouts.

Step 4

Grow the seedling indoors in a sunny window until the temperatures outside climb to over freezing at night. Keep it watered, but not sitting in standing water.

Step 5

Transplant the seedling to a spot outside where it can get partial sunlight and not too much wind. It is not very fussy about soil acidity, but seems to thrive in a soil that has plenty of organic material to hold in the moisture. This does not mean it can grow in damp areas where standing water is a problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Japanese maple seeds
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • Plastic bag
  • Potting soil
  • Plant pot


  • Texas A&M System: Japanese Maples
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Japanese Maple
Keywords: planting Japenese Maple, Sprouting tree seeds, Growing Acer Palmatum

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.