Red-leaved acer

How to plant an acer in a pot

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

20 minutes

Japanese maples, or acers, are ideal for pots as they're slow growing and make stunning focal points.

As well as being easy to look after, they'll reward you with feathery plumage all summer that slowly changes colour as the weather turns colder. Look forward to a blaze of fiery reds, russet browns, oranges and butter yellows.

They'll eventually need repotting, so don't forget to watch our video on when to repot an acer.

Discover how to plant an acer in a container with our easy steps, below. 

You will need

  • Acer
  • Large pot
  • Compost (equal-part mix of ericaceous compost and John Innes No.3)
  • Crocks
  • Decorative mulch


Gather together everything you need and put a layer of crocks in the bottom of the pot.

Half-fill the pot with compost, then remove the acer from its container and position it in the middle of the pot.

Fill in around the plant with fresh compost and firm it in gently, making sure it's planted at the same depth as it was in its original container.

Japanese maples, or acers, are ideal for pots as they're slow growing and make stunning focal points.

Top the compost with a layer of decorative mulch, such as pebbles or crushed shells, and water well.


Acer planting position

Acers like moist soil in semi-shade, and need to be protected from winds and late-spring frosts, which can damage their leaves.

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