Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’ bonsai: maintenance

The bonsai Acer palmatum atropurpureum is easy to maintain

Image – Flickr/jacinta lluch valero

The a bonsai Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum‘ is one of the most popular: its webbed leaves, which in spring and especially in autumn turn dark red. During the summer, contrary to what one might think, they are red-green or even green.

However, if it is relatively easy to maintain when the climate is temperate and humid, things get more complicated when it is subtropical and/or if the air humidity is also very low. Let’s see What kind of care do you need.

What is bonsai care Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum‘? Since there are several things we need to do to get it right, we’ll talk about each of them separately:


Location. where to put my bonsai Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum‘?

Japanese maple Atropurpureum turns green in summer

First I will tell you where you do NOT have to have it: indoors. Having him inside the house condemns him to death, because although it is small, it has the same needs as a normal Japanese maple. In fact, the only difference between a bonsai of Acer palmatum and a Japanese maple garden plant is that the former is pruned to be kept in a bonsai container, while the latter is left to grow more or less on its own.

So, we must put our bonsai outside from the first day. Or exactly? Sun, shade? Well, I recommend putting in the darkand even more if you live in the Mediterranean region because the sun is very strong in summer, so much so that it very easily burns the leaves.

In case you are in an area with a temperate climate, with temperatures that usually do not exceed 30ºC during the summer season, and remain mild the rest of the year, then you could have it mid- shadow ; that is, in a place where there would be some direct sun early in the morning or at sunset, and then some shade the rest of the day.

What style to give?

When we buy a bonsai (or a bonsai project, because remember that not everything that is sold as a bonsai is) it is normal that it already has a predefined or predefined style. It is generally, for example, chokkan (more or less straight trunk with a triangular crown), broom (slightly inclined trunk with most of the branches growing on one side), or forest (several specimens growing together). Next what we have to do is just cut the branches that grow too much with scissors.

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bonsai styles

But if what we have done is to buy a Japanese purple leaf maple, we will have to be more patient. Getting a “well done” bonsai tree takes yearsit may take a few decades before we can say that our Acer palmatum it is a proper bonsai. These are the steps to follow:

  1. As soon as we buy her, we will plant her in a pot about 10 cm wider and higher than the one she currently has with coconut fiber mixed with 30% perlite. We will leave it there until the roots come out through the drainage holes of the container.
  2. In the meantime, if possible and if necessary, the branches will be pruned a little to make it develop a branched crown. These cuts will be made with household scissors at the end of winter. It is important to cut only a little; that is, if, for example, the branch is 50 cm long, we will reduce it by 10 cm or 15 cm at the most. Of course, you have to cut above the bud, which is a small bump that sticks out a bit from the branch.
  3. When the trunk is 1 or better 2 cm thick, it will be a good time to plant it in a bonsai training pot like this (or if you wish, in a round and low pot, very used for planting succulents or flowers) . This must have holes at its base and measure a maximum of 15 or 20 cm in diameter. As a substrate, you can put the same as the one you have been using so far: coconut fiber mixed with a little perlite, or akadama (on sale here) mixed with 30% kiryuzuna (on sale here ).
  4. Now you can start styling it, taking into account the shape and development of the trunk and branches. Believe me, it is better not to force.
  5. After about 3 or 4 years you can plant it in a bonsai container.

When to water bonsai Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum‘?

When it comes to watering our bonsai we must take into account that it is a tree that does not tolerate drought and that it also grows in a container with an amount of soil that, how could it be otherwise, is limited. . This land dries out pretty quickly, so you have to be a little careful so that the maple does not dehydrate.

For him, I recommend watering it several times a week in summer., especially during heat waves, and more generally the rest of the year. Likewise, it is very important to use rainwater, but if this is not possible, a good alternative would be bottled water suitable for human consumption.

Do you have to pay?

Japanese maple can be a bonsai

It is important to do so, yes. But you have to use a specific fertilizer for bonsai like this one, and follow the instructions for use so that problems do not arise. We will pay for it from the time it starts to germinate in the spring until the end of the summerin this way we will make sure that it grows well, with strength and that it is also healthy.

We hope these tips have been helpful.

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