Red maple - a rare, but extremely magnificent bonsai

Red maple - a rare, but extremely magnificent bonsai

Design options

Like almost all maples, the red maple can also be used for any desired design or style. Whether as a solitary, as a multiple trunk or even as a bonsai forest - the North American always cuts a fine figure. Especially in autumn, when the foliage turns its name-giving, strong red tint.

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Location and substrate

The red maple, known in its homeland as “Soft Maple”, prefers a sunny to light partially shaded location. However, this should definitely be protected from the wind, because this type of maple cannot tolerate drafts. By the way, just like heat, because red maple is very sensitive to high temperatures. The substrate should be well drained, loose, moist and rich in nutrients.

Watering and fertilizing

Red maple should be kept evenly moist, although occasional dry spells do not affect it much. However, you should definitely avoid waterlogging, because the weakened tree likes to react to this with a fungal infection, for example with the dreaded Verticillium wilt. Fertilize the bonsai with an organic liquid fertilizer about once a month between April and August.

Cutting and Wiring

The right time to cut is essential when raising a maple - regardless of its type and variety. For example, the red maple should be cut back in spring before the leaves shoot, because at a later point in time the sap pressure is too high and the tree could bleed heavily and lose shoots due to drying out. Do not cut in autumn or winter, as the risk of fungal infections is very high at this time of year. You can wire the leaves after cutting the leaves in June, but then remove the wire before the winter break.


Young maples are ideally repotted about every two to three years, each time receiving a new planter and fresh substrate. From the age of about ten years, repotting is sufficient about every five years. You should only put your maple bonsai in a shallow bowl when it has already developed into a beautiful tree and the trunk has reached a healthy thickness. Remember that every time you transplant, a root cut must also be made.


Although the Canadian red maple is used to frosty temperatures from its homeland and is therefore hardy in our latitudes, however, potted specimens should receive adequate winter protection. Maples that are in shallow bonsai pots, on the other hand, should not overwinter outdoors if possible - these are better off in a frost-free, but cool place. Temperatures of no more than six degrees Celsius are ideal.


The red maple can be propagated very well via seedlings - the fruits ripen shortly after the leaves have sprouted - as well as via cuttings. Mossing has also proven its worth with maple bonsai.