Red-leaved acer

How to plant an acer in a pot

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

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. 

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

You will need

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

Step 1

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

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Step 2

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.

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Step 3

Top the compost with a layer of decorative mulch, such as pebbles or crushed shells – this will help to avoid water loss in summer. Water well.

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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.