How To Root A Japanese Maple (Effective Method) - May 2023

How to root a Japanese maple (Effective method)

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By Samuel Ansah

Last Updated April 23, 2023

Japanese maple is the common name for Acer palmatum. This is a commonly grown plant in Japan, China, and Korea. Acer palmatum is a deciduous shrub or small tree that grows to mature widths of 4.5 to 10 m (15 to 33 ft), heights of 6 to 10 m (20 to 33 ft), and rarely 16 m (52 ft). It frequently grows as an understory plant in shady woodlands.

Here are a few things to know to effectively root a Japanese maple. Growing a new Japanese maple plant is tricky; you will not achieve good results if not done well.

Time of the season

Acer palmatum is not a drought-tolerated plant. Rooting new cuttings from an existing plant needs a moist environment that makes spring the best time to cultivate a Japanese maple.


What is the best medium for rooting Japanese maple cuttings? Vermiculite helps to aerate the soil while simultaneously retaining water and nutrients, which it then releases over time. For positive results, it is recommended to use vermiculite to root your cuttings.

Rooting hormones

Rooting hormone, also called rooting powder, is a chemical you can apply to plant cuttings to encourage root growth and increase the propagation success rate. Young branches can easily diversify cells for quick root growth.

Planting pots and Zip lock bags

Using a planting pot for rooting the cuttings makes it easier to protect the young plants from disease contamination by keeping them inside the zip lock.

Where to take Japanese maple cuttings? Always take the cuttings from the upper part of the existing Japanese maple. Select the young, flexible, and not too woody cuttings for rooting.

How to root a Japanese maple

  1. Take the young and flexible branches. Avoid matured and woody branches.
  2. Wash and soak the branches in a container filled with water, rubbing alcohol, and soap. This will help get rid of any Aphids available.
  3. Trim the leaves off the branches leaving only two (2) at the very top.
  4. Shape the bottom of the cuttings to an angle of 45° cutting at the node.
  5. Apply the rooting hormones at the cut ends.
  6. Pour the vermiculite into the planting pots.
  7. Insert the cuttings in the vermiculite inside the planting pots.
  8. Put the planting pots containing the cuttings inside the zip lock bag and seal them.

How long does it take for Japanese maple cuttings to root? It takes 3 to 4 weeks for the cuttings to root. Delayed rooting can be attributed to drought conditions and the absence of rooting hormones.

After rooting and growth start, you have to transplant the Japanese maple into its permanent growing place. Transplanting should be done in the early spring. 90% of Japanese maple transplanted in summer yielded poor growing results due to harsh weather conditions.

How to transplant a Japanese maple tree

  1. Cut and remove wilted, dried, and insect-infested branches from the tree.
  2. Water the base to make it very moist to make it easy to uproot.
  3. Dig at least 24 meters to get all the roots.
  4. If your root ball is 3 feet wide, your new hole should be 6 feet wide.
  5. Insert the plant in the new hole, fill it with soil and water, and cover the base with mulch at least 2 inches thick.
  6. Make sure to water the plant frequently.
  1. How to move a Japanese maple without killing it?

    Transplant a Japanese maple in the early spring to avoid killing it.

  2. When to take Japanese maple cuttings

    Take Japanese maple cuttings in the springs when you root


When rooting a Japanese maple, avoid the harsh weather, and always check to remove aphid-infected branches from your cuttings. The plant must also be transplanted in the spring to avoid killing the plant. Japanese maple doesn’t need fertilizer as other plants do.

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