Can you turn a maple tree into a house plant?

ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)December 31, 2013

I am sorry if this is a dumb question, but I need to know. My little girl planted what turned out to be red maple seeds last spring, and now we have a perfect tree growing on our front porch.

The problem is that on our 1/3 acre we just don't have the room for a mature red maple. Besides, I don't want a 60ft tall tree in my small yard.

Is there anything else we can do with it? Could we make it a potted plant and grow it on our porch, and just top it when it gets too tall?

This post was edited by ilovemytrees on Tue, Dec 31, 13 at 11:33

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salicaceae(z8b FL)

I would suggest finding a place to plant it in the spring - perhaps a wild area nearby or a friend/neighbor's property? It won't be happy as a potted plant for long. Also, it would take a long time to get to 60'. You could plant it and enjoy it for many years before it would get too big for 1/3 acre.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:46AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you could learn and perfect bonsai ...


    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 11:12AM
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I am trying to treat my 25 foot tall maple like a bonsai because it is close to the house. I want it to have the bonsai shape of broad on the bottom and pointy on the top. I will let you know how it goes in 5 or 10 years

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 2:29PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

You can grow it in a pot, and you will need to learn root pruning (not difficult). It will need to go through a cold spell each winter. An unheated garage works great, or you could bury the pot for the winter.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 7:27PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"I am trying to treat my 25 foot tall maple like a bonsai..."

Regularly yanking that sucker out of the ground and root pruning it must be one heck of a job. (-;

"Can you turn a maple tree into a house plant?"

I think Alexander3 has the right idea.

This post was edited by brandon7 on Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 16:15

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:26PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

ilmt, red maples have long been a favorite bonsai subject and growing them in containers for many years is perfectly possible. However, it is easier said than done if you know nothing about how to select or make a great potting mix, why it important to root prune, and how to prune a woody plant in order to redirect growth.

Your little tree cannot be grown as a traditional 'houseplant ', however.
but it's not particularly difficult for anyone to learn the essential concepts of container culture so that almost any woody tree or shrub can be adapted to life in a container.

What you cannot do is plunk the tree in a crappy potting soil and leave it for years without root pruning, top pruning, and repotting. Proper pruning will never consist of 'topping ', either. :-)

'Bonsai ' should never have even brought up in this thread.....don't let that intimidate you. It's no big deal, however, to learn how to keep an outdoor container tree healthy and happy for many years.

Earlier advice about keeping the plant in an unheated location for the winter is good. Keep it from freezing solid, however. You haven't brought it inside, have you?

Have you ever visited the Container Forum?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 8:10AM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

Thanks everyone! My husband mentioned Bonsai but I don't know the first thing about it. He's the creative artsy fartsy one in the family. However, the container idea with regular root pruning really appeals to me. I know I could do that. I'll go over to the Container Forum and do some research.

Oh, and no, I have never brought the tree into the house. It's on our front porch, in a box, that's in another box, that's in a Rubbermaid tub, with blankets all around it.

This post was edited by ilovemytrees on Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 9:00

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:31AM
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