Winterizing a Potted Japanese Maple

Posted on November 7, 2013. Filed under: Plants | Tags: , , , , , |

Plants - Japanese Red Maple 2I have grown a Japanese maple in a pot for 2 years now.  If you live in the hardiness zone 5 like I do you cannot leave a potted plant out in winter if you want the plant to survive (and usually the pot too!)  It will freeze solid, killing the plant and busting out the pot.  You also cannot bring a plant inside like this maple because it needs a cold period.  It’s possible to over-winter it in the garage.  The other possibility is to sink the whole pot into the ground.  Here is my maple sunk into the ground between 2 of my compost bins.  I saved the hole from last year and the cover I used is right there adding additional support to the tree and also serving as a reminder not to step on the tree after it loses its leaves (which I did several times last year!)

I bought 2 of these little guys last year because they were so cheap ($2.49 at Aldi.)  I had gotten burned with a larger, more expensive Japanese maple a few years ago.  I lovingly planted it behind the house and then – wham- one day it was eaten to the ground.  Living in a woods has its animal challenges!  So I thought I would keep these two in pots close to the house.  It has worked for animal damage.  But I was curious if the hole-in-the-ground method was better or worse than the garage method.  Last winter one pot went in each place.  Well, this one that was out in the ground did about 4x better than the other one.  I have now planted the other one right in the ground near the front door.  We’ll see if it catches up this next year.

Plants - Japanese Red Maple 1The vibrant red of these delicate leaves is well worth all this effort!  I came out the other morning and they were all on the ground.  So this little guy is ready for the winter now.

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