How to Grow Bonsai Trees From Baby Maples


The art of Bonsai growing re-creates the look and feel of a larger tree in nature, but in miniature. Although maples are good for beginners, they are a little harder to maintain than many evergreens. With care, however, growing a maple Bonsai is very satisfying and will result with a beautiful indoor tree.

Step 1

Remove your baby maple from its pot, preferably a 1-gallon pot, in early spring just before the buds begin to form.

Step 2

Trim the roots to the size of the Bonsai pot. A hand shovel is often good for trimming roots, but pruning shears may be easier. The pot should be slightly larger than the overall size of the tree's canopy.

Step 3

Place the maple in the pot. Make sure the trunk is straight in the pot. Only use Bonsai pots with holes in the bottom.

Step 4

Use a good Bonsai potting soil to fill in the spaces around the roots. Maples can be more sensitive to poor drainage than some evergreens, so soils with bark, bits of granite, or other material to facilitate drainage are necessary.

Step 5

Trim the branches near the base of the tree to create a trunk with a sharp pair of pruning shears, for larger branches, or very sharp scissors, for smaller branches. Remove any branches that look like they will result in undesirable growth.

Step 6

Place the pot in a matching pan. Keep the pan filled with water. As the soil in the pot dries out, it will wick water up from the pan.

Step 7

Once established, judiciously nip any buds that look like they may result in undesired growth. Be conservative, removing too many buds can harm the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not over- or under-water your tree. By simply re-filling the tray under the pot, over- or under-watering should not be a problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Potted baby maple in 1-gallon pot
  • Hand shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Bonsai pot with holes in the bottom
  • Augmented Bonsai soil
  • Scissors
  • Water pan that matches the Bonsai pot


  • Bonsai Baby Steps - Your First Tree
  • Working With the Trident Maple Bonsai
  • Caring For Your Japanese Maple Bonsai Plant
Keywords: Bonsai planting, Bonsai maple tree, Bonsai tree care

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.