Can I grow a Japanese Maple indoors?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Snow Cherries, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Snow Cherries

    Snow Cherries Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Is it possible to grow a small maple indoors or would the lack of sunlight and moderate temperatures prevent this from being a possibility?
     
  2. Rima

    Rima Active Member

    Messages:
    992
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    A whole lot of factors prevent it from being possible - won't work at all.
     
  3. uhlawstu1

    uhlawstu1 Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Central texas
    Well, why not? I don't profess to be an expert, and I'm sure it wouldn't be easy, but I'm equally sure it is within the realm of possibility. So, for the sake of argument, let's point out the issues.

    Greenhouses are, after all, not the out-of-doors. So I guess Its just a matter of how much you want to duplicate that environment indoors. Greenhouses are bright and humid and your house is dry and dark - even when you think it's well lit its not. Your human eye is very poor judge of brightness in the objective sense becuase your eye mechanically adjusts when light levels change. Issue #1 would be light intensity and that would be easy to solve. Spend a couple hundred bucks on a HID light. Humidity levels is another issue. Your central AC dries the air. And your house is designed to stay dry. I guess you could keep the plant in a room with a humidifier.

    The biggest thing is the dormancy period. Because your not going to want keep your house cold in the winter just for the sake of looking at a tree with no leaves, but, since the tree isn't that good looking in the winter anyway, maybe put it outside at that point.

    I cant think of any other major obstacles. so the question becomes how far are you willing to go to keep it inside. If that doesn't include, at a minimum, having a very bright light humming for 12 or 13 hours a day above the tree and keeping your house nice and steamy, it probably won't work. But I disagree with Rima - it probably could be done. But at the same time - you probably dont want to do it.
     
  4. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Luxembourg
    How about living outdoors next to your maple? ;)

    Seriously, I once brought a maple-in-leaf on a train, and I could see what AC does to the leaves. You have certain type of architecture that integrates trees in houses, but it does so by opening roofs, and isolating the tree with glass under the roof opening.

    But I think Snow Cherries wants to keep a maple in a 'regular' indoors environment.
     
  5. Rima

    Rima Active Member

    Messages:
    992
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    Any idea how many people have tried to do it (and not succeeded)? Thousands, over centuries! People who know more about growing trees in containers and how to keep them alive in unnatural conditions and who take better care of their trees than any tree has a right to ask for, and they're all bonsai-ists - many real experts who do succeed in keeping a few so-called 'undoable' species inside under ideal conditions costing lots of money, with years of horticultural knowledge and both outdoor (field growing) and indoor experience. No one can keep them alive for more than a year, if that, and if you want to prove them wrong, people who've spent their lives working with trees as a livelihood and/or personal obsession(!), then good luck to you. Some things just don't work.
     
  6. Galt

    Galt Active Member

    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Living in the PNW I would thing a tree would do just fine outside but should you really want to have it inside you would have to cycle its time indoors with time out of doors during the growing season. Possibly 3 to 7 days inside based on response and then put it back out for an equal if not longer time if I am guessing correctly. Then, as was pointed out earlier, it would need to go back out in fall to start trigger the dormancy process and remain outside over the winter.

    So in that sense, you could bring it in for a dinner party to spruce up the room, but then back outside with it!

    Regards
     
  7. shelli

    shelli Active Member

    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    I've actually never thought about growing a maple indoors. What kind of maple? I guess I've never considered it because if it did work (and worked well) the tree would grow through my roof! ;-) If you think about it, maples don't grow naturally in southern climates (like southern Florida), so they probably wouldn't be happy in your house. How about putting in a large picture window and planting your maple right outside of it so you can enjoy it from the inside looking out!
     
  8. majohnson

    majohnson Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Upland, CA
    I had an Emp 1 growing inside for 6 months, until I got tried of taking in and out. It can be done! It just requires time on your part. I would take it out evey morning about 8am and back inside roughly at noon. It was placed in a sunny location when inside. It's much like growing large palms indoors, you must mist them with a spray bottle 2-3 time daily. I used Neptune Sea Harvest weekly.
     
  9. Rima

    Rima Active Member

    Messages:
    992
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    You live in CA where the weather doesn't change much from month to month, and as you said yourself you had to drag it in and out all the time - not practical for most people!
     
  10. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Snow Cherries, since you live in a wonderful climate for growing maples, I assume that you are asking about indoor culture as an apartment dweller without a balcony. If this is the case, you can grow a maple in a pot outside, and since it would not be planted in the ground, it would belong to you, not the landlord, and you can take it with you when you leave. So if there is a safe place to put a pot on the premises, i.e. not blocking corridors and entries, then your neighbors are likely to enjoy the tree as much as you would. For a year I grew potted roses tucked into the shrubs of the small yard of the apartment building, where we lived.
     
  11. monkeyfurball

    monkeyfurball Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    I currently have a Japanese Maple tree that I grow indoors successfully. You need to stunt its growth so that it doesn't grow too fast. Keep trimming the roots and also branches so that you get a natural looking small tree. I live in Minnesota, so I can't leave it outside in winter. Its in an 8 gallon container and its about 2.5 feet tall and 5 years old It goes on the deck in Spring and after the temps drop below 32 degrees but before the soil freezes I bring it indoors and put it in the basement. It has gone dormant by then, leaves have fallen off--around end of October. Around the end of February new leaves pop out on it. I put it back outside after freezing temps are over---around May 1 or so. Push a sharp knife or spade one inch from the edge of the pot all the way to the bottom once a year to trim new root growth. Trim back branches to shape it to your liking. You can call it a bonsai tree if you want, but really it isn't. It was an experiment at first and I didn't think it would live, but there you go. Its fine.
     
  12. Rosemary1008

    Rosemary1008 Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York, NY USA
    I was so heartened to see the last response, but there is much I need to learn. I have had between 8-19 japanese maples, currently 13 (all grown from volunteers harvested near Seattle) growing for the past 7 years in my Manhattan apt. I've lost a bunch to various strange things, I have not transplanted and so some are rootbound ( living in 1 gallon pots), and I made mistakes with fertilizer so that some are more than a little bush-like. ( yes, I was raised catholic so confessing my tree sins is helpful because I really do want to do better...)
    Is there something I can read on root trimming and on transplanting for indoors?

    Outdoors is frequently too windy and cold here for small containers in winter. I have southern / western exposure so lack of light is not the problem --frying leaves off in summer is.
     
  13. tree hugger

    tree hugger Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cape Coral, FL
    Hmm. I want to grow some deciduous hardwood bonsai inside my condo. I was thinking of completely enclosing them in lexan. I would use led flood lights, water chiller, and perhaps fans and a mister for environmental controls. I feel confident estimating the light requirement, however, I am less certain about humidity, temperature, and the regulation of gasses and nutrients ina closed system. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  14. AlainK

    AlainK Well-Known Member Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    785
    Likes Received:
    184
    Location:
    nr Orléans, France (E.U.)
    J. Maples need a period of dormancy, I think it's impossible to re-create a suitable environment indoors.

    I personally think you'd just waste your time and money.
     
  15. tree hugger

    tree hugger Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cape Coral, FL
    It would be somewhat more costly, but then again, I have a coral reef in my house too. I was wanting to get some specifics on dormancy. In the Fl panhandle, many deciduous hardwoods grow, therefore, I figure that imitating the photoperiod, humidity, and temperatures for NW Florida would be not only sufficient, but also more easily attainable.
     
  16. dressel

    dressel New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maryville, IL
    I just happened across this thread and found it pretty interesting. As an experiment, I brought indoors a Red Select Japanese maple last fall before the nighttime temps got near freezing but after the tree had already dropped its leaves. I figured it had gone dormant, but I didn't know if it would come out of dormancy quickly once inside the house. As it turned out, the tree remained dormant until a week or two ago when it began leafing out. It's thus far progressing nicely! I had it placed near a window all winter (although it was an eastern exposure that was most convenient for me). I plan on putting it outside once the weather warms up and then leave it outside for the summer.

    I'm considering bringing it in before it drops its leaves this year to see what it does.

    Kevin
     
  17. hiki010

    hiki010 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fresh Meadows, NY
    Hello, I'm curious to know which Japanese maple you have successfully cared for indoors? Tanuki Yama? Blood good? Lions head? I had wanted to grow a maple indoors but I'm stumped with which variety to choose.
     
  18. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    I think the crucial element is a dormant period. Back when I did bonsai, I asked this question of some people of vast experience, and they said that while you can keep a tree going for a while, they really do need a dormant period. Without one, the trees slowly decline over a period of several years.

    But if you can give it a dormancy period--let it go dormant in the cold outside in winter, and then bring it in after a period (not sure how long; a month might do it), I think it would grow perfectly well. I put my potted maples in a cold basement in winter, and they stay dormant until spring. If I brought one into the warmer house in January, it would break dormancy before too long. For me, the problem then is lack of light--I don't have good sunny windows--and so the new growth is long and lank and pale as it stretches for the light. And the problem really can't be corrected completely by pruning. But I think that if you had adequate light, you could manage, especially if the plant could spend the summer outdoors or in good light.

    I had a friend in Boston who grew a big sugar maple in his living room, pruning it when it hit the ceiling. He kept the room cold, in the 40s or 50s, so growth was slow, and it spent April-October on a west-facing porch in good light. He brought it in after a period of dormancy but before it got too cold, and it slowly broke dormancy.

    Let me mention that at least one native maple does grow in Florida. I've seen Acer rubrum at the Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.
     
  19. couchtaterjungle

    couchtaterjungle New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Finger Lakes NY
    I’m gonna give it my best shot. Does anyone have an idea of what size pot? I have a 36 inch high sapling that is in the 1 gallon pot it was delivered in a week ago. And can I/should I repot it over time or just put it in the pot size it would need at its maximum? It is a Japanese maple “Orange Dream”.
     
  20. couchtaterjungle

    couchtaterjungle New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Finger Lakes NY
    I forgot to mention: Orange Dream’s maximum height is supposed to be 8 to 10 feet. Thanks for any and all thoughts!
     

Share This Page