The Q&A Archives: Japanese Maples

Question: I have a couple of Japanese maples I recently purchased. I put them in pots on my balcony. The problem is, I live in an apartment and I have a covered balcony so pretty much anything I put in containers, dies. Probably from lack of sun. I do get sunlight on my balcony but not directly and not much. I was wondering if they will survive or if I might over water them on accident?? Soil tends to either dry up quick or stay moist...depending on the weather. I am in zone 8. I was wondering also if I put a Princess flower in a pot if it would do ok?

Answer: Japanese maples prefer to have dappled or filtered afternoon sunlight and some will grow in bright shade, but none will thrive in deep shade. So, if your balcony gets some sunshine, Japanese maples may grow well there for you.

A major problem with growing plants in containers is that the soil tends to dry out faster. You can overcome this by checking the soil moisture daily. When the top inch of soil is dry, water thoroughly. Occasionally, air pockets can develop within the rootmass of containerized plants. This will result in soil that appears moist but is really dry deep down inside. You can counteract this by immersing the containers in a larger container of water for about 15 mintues. This will drive out any air pockets and ensure that the entire root mass has adequate moisture. Do this every 10-14 days during the growing season and your plants should be happy.

Princess flower needs direct sunshine to grow properly. If you're looking for a vining plant for part shade, try star jasmine. It adapts well to growing in containers and will tolerate shade.

Best wishes with your balcony garden!

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