The Q&A Archives: Japanese Maples in the Shade

Question: Are there any Japanese maples that will make it in almost full shade?
I want to put in a pot on my patio that gets about 1-2 hours of sun in the afternoon, and no direct sunlight in the winter and early spring. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. (and any tips on growing them in containers.)

Answer: Japanese maples actually prefer filtered shade, especially from hot afternoon sunshine. The following maples will be happy in the site you describe: Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood', with deep red foliage; 'Ornatum', also known as laceleaf maple; 'Butterfly', which grows to only 7 feet in height. Planting in containers will help you control the moisture and nutrients your maple gets. Use potting soil in a container with lot of drainage holes to prevent root rot. Water thoroughly when the top inch or two of soil is dry, and feed every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer. Containerized plants tend to dry out faster than the same plant in the ground and the additional watering you'll need to do will leach nutrients from the soil quickly, so if you fertilize with a half-strength liquid such as Miracle Gro every 2-3 weeks, you'll provide an almost constant source of nutrients to the roots without the chance of burning the roots. Best wishes with your new tree!

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