What Kind of Soil is Used for Japanese Maple?

Japanese Maple tree care is simple and can withstand some neglect with the best air purifying quality. Colorful flushing leaves of Japanese maple have varieties that are both grown in pots and gardens. You may already be growing this beauty with your garden collection. Then you know the plant needs little attention and care while growing. One way to keep the plant happy is by choosing the right soil. With a little knowledge about the soil for the plant, you can buy or better make your own soil for the plant. 

Keep reading this article to know about the soils, and care for the plant with the best soil recipes to make at your home.

Japanese Maple

Also Read: What Kind of Soil is Used for Orchids?

Japanese Maple & its types

Japanese Maple is scientifically known as Acer Palmatum. They are Deciduous shrubs and small trees, commonly used as Bonsai. They can reach a maximum of 30 feet in height. Japanese maple can thrive in any native soil with some organic matter in it. They prefer a shady place and the growth rate gradually decreases upon reaching maturity. Some of the types of Japanese Maple are:

  • Bloodgood is a famous variety known for its purple leaves. They can survive in most soil like clay, sand, and loam. They produce a purple flower to add extra beauty to it.
  • Crimson Queen is a dwarf variety known for its similar appearance to Bloodgood. They have a red to purple leaf with a growth of 8 feet. They shed leaves in December to grow new leaves.
  • Katsura shrubs are perfect for small gardens or containers. They are easy to maintain and are known for their leaf’s color and shape. They can grow up to 10 feet tall.

How to test the soil?

If you want to grow Japanese maple, the first thing you should do is test your soil. Testing the soil for your Maple at every stage of growth will make sure the soil is acidic enough for the plant. To do the soil pH test:

  • Litmus Paper Test– This traditional paper test is used to find if the soil is acidic or not. Mix the water and soil in a container and dip the paper. If the Litmus paper turns red, then the soil is acidic. 
  • Digital Tester– The Digital Tester is used in the soil to find the soil pH. This electronic device is made of metal, showing the mineral levels in the soil.
  • Lab soil Test– Send your soil sample to a nearby soil lab or extension office to learn about the soil. They also give more information to grow the plant along with the soil pH and contents in soil.

What is the soil pH for Japanese Maple?

Japanese Maple

The Best soil pH for Japanese Maple should be around 6.0 and can range from 6.0 to 7.0. Japanese Maple likes to grow best in slightly acidic soil. If the soil is too alkaline, it may affect the plant. To make your Japanese Maple soil acidic, add peat moss to it. 

PH is tested to find the potential of hydrogen and uses a chemical scale to identify the nature of the soil. Testing for soil pH is the first step in getting to know the soil. Ph can range from 0 to 14. Any soil with PH higher than 7 is alkaline and less than 7 is acidic. Do a pH test to find the soil pH level. 

Can I use any soil for Japanese Maple?

No, you can’t use any soil for Japanese Maple. They work well in well-drained and aerated soil. Avoid clay soil as they make the soil filled with water. Potting soil which is used for other plants also can be directly used for Japanese Maple. Special potting mix or cactus mix can be used for Japanese Maple. Using soil that gives the right drainage, the gritty and well-aerated place is the best soil for Japanese Maple.

What Kind of Soil to Use for Japanese Maple?

Japanese Maple

The best kind of soil for Japanese Maple is Sandy Loam Soil. A soil that is sandy and has some loam organic matter in it makes the best soil. Potting mix can be used to grow Japanese Maple but the nutrient, minerals, and pH should be checked before planting in the soil. 

Cactus or succulent soil can also be used for Japanese Maple. Adding some organic matter is necessary with it. Making soil for a Japanese Maple on your own is easy and is all organic soil.  Japanese Maple loves soil that holds enough or the right amount of moisture and nutrients in the soil.

What are the Components of the Best soil for Japanese Maple

These are some of the components of the perfect Japanese Maple soil:

Proper Drainage- A well-draining soil is essential for plants. If grown in a pot, it needs a drainage hole for proper drainage. Water sitting in the pot may lead to fungal disease and destroy the root. Adding pebbles to the pot with soil will help solve the problem. Add coco coir to improve the drainage in the mix of the soil.

Good aeration- Japanese Maple like light soil should have good aeration. As they love dry and porous soil to get the proper aeration, giving that will help them grow. Providing extra aeration to the soil will boost the growth of the plant.

Texture- The texture of the soil for the Japanese Maple should be light. The Japanese Maple soil prefers a very light and loose soil which also holds enough moisture which helps in root growth. The texture of indoor and outdoor soil can vary as one will be in a pot and the other in the land. 

What kind of Potting soil is good for Japanese Maple?

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple needs a well-draining potting mix that is coarse and provides aeration to the plant root. A Cactus or succulent mix with sand is also good for the Japanese Maple. This will help to grow the mini tree in your pot. When growing in pots, Japanese Maple grows best in an indoor potting mix. To make the soil more porous add coconut husk, pumice, and perlite. You can also add more sand which adds better texture and pH to the soil. Keep a check on the acidity level of the soil and don’t miss out on any change in soil which may affect the plant.

How to prepare Potting soil for Japanese Maples?

To prepare the potting soil for the Japanese Maple plant, add Equal parts of minerals such as peat moss, perlite, coconut coir, and barks to equal parts of the Japanese Maple. Depending on the clay in potting soil, add one or two parts of coarse sand to it. This sand will help to make better aeration. The next part is adding perlite (volcanic rock) and peat moss or gravel or marbles to increase the drainage of the soil. Coconut coir and barks from wook are also added to improve drainage and aeration in the soil.

The Preparation of Potting soil for Japanese Maple plants is simple and easy. Adding potting soil directly for maple is good for it. Additional amendments can also be made to have stronger roots in the tree. The minerals and mending the soil to improve drainage and aeration will make the potting soil doable. 

DIY Tips to Make Soil for Japanese Maples At Home (Complete guide)

Japanese Maple

The satisfaction of making DIY soil will make you feel so connected with the plant. Making your own mix takes time and involvement but it gives the plant a tint of nature. This all-purpose recipe is used for both indoor and outdoor plants.

Tips to prepare:

  • Collecting all the ingredients before making the soil.
  • Take time to mix the ingredients.
  • Learn other items like reading a pH tester, types of nutrients, and their uses.

Now you can start making the DIY with the below-given ingredients and follow up.


  • Gear up with gloves to avoid dirt from the soil.
  • Measuring cup or instrument to measure the ingredients.
  • Bucket or vessel to make space to mix the soil.
  • A small shovel/ Trowel to mix the soil.
  • Dust mark (must).


Organic matters

  • Potting soil– The potting mix with the soil makes the potting soil. Potting mix has peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and many others. 
  • Perlite– Perlite is formed from volcanic emission. They make the best aeration for the succulent soil.
  • Pumice– Formed from volcanoes when they erupted explosively. The liquid explosion is formed to pumice rock making the aeration for the soil.
  • Coconut Coir– The coconut fiber is an all-rounder made from coconut husk used for many purposes. They are used in soil to improve soil texture, drainage, and aeration.
  • Peat Moss– It is made of decomposed organic matter from peat bogs. For sandy soil, it helps to retain moisture for the plant.

Mineral matters

  • Coarse sand– The sand is added to give a loose texture to the soil. The coarse sand is added to reduce the clay content in the soil.
  • Volcanic rocks– These are rocks from volcanic lava. The rock contains many minerals which help in plant growth.
  • Gravel– Gravel is rock fragments that are formed from the breakdown of rock. They are used in decorative and to provide aeration to the soil.


My recipes for the best Japanese Maple soil:

Mix 1

  • 1 part Organic matter 
  • 1 Part mineral matter

Mix 2

  • 1/2 Part Peat moss 
  • 1 Part Sand
  • 1 Part Perlite


After collecting all the required ingredients and tools add the measured organic matter or potting soil to the bucket with the help of a trowel. Add one part minerals such as sand first, 1 part perlite, and 1/2 part peat moss and mix it well so both are mixed. Add one part of organic matter to one part of the mineral matter of your choice to the soil and mix all well to make the best soil for your Japanese Maple plant.  Add an equal amount of sand to any soil if they have more clay content in the soil. 

Where to Buy Soil for Japanese Maples?

Soil for Japanese Maples can be bought in a commercial store or online. In stores, you can get opinions from expert people in the field to explain and give soil according to the plant. But the chances are there will be added chemical fertilizers in the soil. Online, you can make your choice based on review, rating, and the right mix mentioned on the label. With whatever way of buying the soil, adding some soil conditioner will help for the betterment of the plant as well the soil.

Best Commercial Brands to buy soil for Japanese Maples


Japanese Maple

The miracle-gro indoor potting mix is best for indoor plants like Japanese Maples. This light and drain-fast mix contain coconut coir, fertilizers, and other products. The product is certified by the mulch and soil council for the standard. Adding perlite and decoratives to the pot with this mix is required to grow the indoor plants. Miracle-gro gives value-for-money products at a reasonable rate with premium quality. They also provide various other types of potting mixes, all-purpose soil, and fertilizers at affordable prices for the garden.

Fox Farm 

Japanese Maple

The Fox Farm organic potting soil is all natural ready to use a potting mix with worm casting. This product from Fox Farm is mentioned as ideal for seedlings. The pH level in this soil is adjusted to make the most of the soil for the containers or potted plants. The soil is lightweight and well-aerated which makes it also suitable for all naturally mix grown plants. The nutrients in this soil make it perfect for both indoor and outdoor gardening. The soil is mixed to adjust the ph levels of the potted plants which help in the growth of the Japanese Maples plant healthier.


Japanese Maple

Espoma is a leader in garden fertilizer and a trusted brand that gives good results. They are fortified with earthworm castings with myco tone which gives the right pH for cannabis. This product is all-natural and organic making it best for ground plantings. They have a pH of around 6 which helps the plant thrive. They also contain peat moss and feather meal in them. The direction to use is mentioned on the label and on its website too.

No Name of the Product Quantity Price($)


1 Miracle-gro Indoor potting mix  4 QT  24
2 Fox Farm organic potting soil  4  QT 29
3 Espoma- garden soil 1 cu.ft 19

Can I Use Regular Potting Soil for Japanese Maples?

Yes, you can use regular potting soil for Japanese Maple after adding the drainage components to the soil. Garden soil will have lots of clay content in it which makes it not suitable for Japanese Maples in pots. Garden soil will be heavy, damp, and moisture retended which is quite the opposite of Japanese Maples soil. But with adding some amendments to garden soil and organic soil it can be used for the tree. Make sure to check for the pH and texture of the soil and see if it is suitable before planting.

Can I Use Clay Soil for Japanese Maple?

Japanese Maple

No, you can’t use Clay soil for Japanese Maple. Clay contains alkaline which is not good for the Japanese maple. Clay soil will be heavy, full of moisture, and break when dried out which is quite the opposite of Japanese Maple soil. Clay soil should be avoided at any cost because it may kill the plant and they only need medium fertile and sandy soil.

Selecting the Right Place and pot for Maple

The right place to grow a Maple depends on the variety of the tree. Some types can grow into a tree that can’t be grown indoors. Some dwarf varieties with limited growth and weight can be grown in the pot. Japanese maples prefer a shady place with a minimum of quarter-day sunlight. Maples are temperature tolerant as long they have slightly moist soil.

Picking the right pot is essential for every plant. The right pot for a Maple plant is categorized with the size and material of the pot. 

The pot for the plant can be plastic, ceramic, or wood. But the best one for Japanese maple is Terracotta because of the water storing nature. This will help to keep the plant moist even at high temperatures.

The Size of the pot for Japanese Maple can not be fixed. There is no perfect size pot for plants. Giving the plant a pot that is two sizes bigger than the plant will be good. 

Potting and Repotting for Japanese Maple

Potting and repotting japanese maple

Potting should be done when the store-bought plant is in a small pot disregarding its sizeRepotting a Maple every two years once depending on growth during summer will enrich the plant with nutrients in the new soil. Autumn is the best time to plant new Japanese maple. Repotting can be done at certain times:

  • When the plant has outgrown the pot or container in which it grows.
  • When its plant is externally damaged due to any cause like animal accidents and many such.
  • Fungal or bacterial infection can damage the soil during such times there is a need to report the Tree.
  • Root rot is not a major problem and the plant can recover on its own. But at times, when it gets severe repotting should be done to save the plant and root.

Repotting should not be done in yellow leaves, dropping leaves, dryness, sunburn, and insect-invaded soil.

How to Repot Japanese Maple?

This is how to repot the maple in the pot:

  • To repot a plant, selecting a container or pot regarding the size of the plant is the first step. The two factors which determine the pot size are Water requirement and growth space.
  • Loosen the plant from the pot with a shovel or butter knife and lift it out.
  • Remove the soil rock from the root to add it to the new soil.
  • Place the plant in a new pot with new soil and fill in the sides to make the plant straight.
  • Adding water and potting mix to make up for the lost nutrients.

Common Problems in Growing Japanese Maple

Some other common problems could be pests. The plant is not much prone to pests but there should be a check on it. There are chances they are affected by spider mites, scales, and bacterial or fungal disease. Treating the problem with fungicides and insecticides will help discord the problem. Insects-affected plants show signs with leaves. Keeping a check on moisture as well as plants in the soil will mostly prevent pests. 

Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

Plants will show certain signs when the soil mix is wrong. Some of which are:

    • Yellow leaf– The cause of yellow leaf is too much drainage in the soil. It also indicates the bacterial problem in soil.
    • Brown Spot in leaves– This could be a sign of overwatering that too much water is not available in the soil.
    • Dry leaves– This sign is for the dehydration of plants. Providing enough water will solve this issue.
    • Dropping leaf– This could be the reason the root is getting too much or little water. Keeping a check on soil texture will help prevent the problem.
    • Stem Canker- Stem of the tree gets affected and a change in color may happen. This is due to fewer nutrients for the plant in the soil.

Wrapping up

Soil plays an important role in agriculture’s success. It may be complicated at first to make your own soil for your maple or any plant but with the right guidance you can make it possible. After reading this article, you will be able to do your own DIY with clarity about both maples and soil for it. Keep a constant check on the soil and plant with practice you can master everything about the plant and soil.

Happy Gardening!


1. Is potting mix good for Japanese maple Trees?

Yes, potting mix is good for Potted Maple Trees.

2. Do Japanese Maple need Special soil?

No, they don’t need special soil. They need regular or native soil with organic matter in it.

3. Do Japanese Maple need Sun or Shade?

Japanese Maple trees prefer Shade most of the time but need sun at least 5 hours a day for healthy growth.