Can a Japanese Maple Be Kept Inside?

Often grown as bonsai subjects, Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) hail from temperate regions that provide a distinctly cold winter. The maples need a leafless dormancy each winter to survive and grow well.

...
A Japanese maple can be grown and trained as a bonsai.

Potential

If a small-sized Japanese maple is displaying leaves from spring to fall, the plant can be grown indoors in theory. The plant must receive ample sunlight indoors to maintain its foliage and make enough food via photosynthesis to remain alive and healthy.

Considerations

Since Japanese maples aren't tropical plants like other houseplants, they must endure some form of winter dormancy. After leaves drop off in fall if grown indoors, relocate the plant to an unheated garage or outbuilding so it's exposed to temperatures between 18 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 44 days.

Warning

While few pests afflict Japanese maples when they're grown outdoors, an indoor environment may stress the tree and make it more susceptible to attack from common insects. Watch out for aphids, scale, mealybugs and whiteflies.


Jacob J. Wright

Jacob J. Wright became a full-time writer in 2008, with articles appearing on various websites. He has worked professionally at gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Wright holds a graduate diploma in environmental horticulture from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Master of Science in public horticulture from the University of Delaware.