Maple trees are commonly sought as bonsai subjects because they have great leaf coloration during autumn. There are many varieties of maple subspecies which make for good bonsai specimens. Even though maple trees are not all that easy to care for, they are frequently sought after by bonsai growers. During the fall, their leaves turn to golden yellow and red, providing a wonderful spectacle to behold.
Maple trees originate from East Asia mostly, and a particular species, the Trident Maple (Acer buergerianum) is popular among bonsai artists, because of its styling flexibility. In North America, the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), is a traditional favorite among American bonsai growers, symbolizing the vast, dense forests around Washington prior to modern development.
Maple trees are quite shade tolerant, and some species actually like shade and can thrive indoors without much problem; but mostly do best outdoors, preferably sited near the porch where they can receive some shade throughout the day. During winter, they can be taken indoors.
Unlike other types, maples favor moist conditions, because in their native state, they grow in wet climates and moist soil as a rule. But, that doesn’t mean they can stand poorly drained soils, neither can they tolerate over-watering during winter.
When it comes to styling, the informal upright style seems to suit maples well. Their leafy crown adapts well to the informal upright, but they can be trained along the semi cascade, broom, or slant styles, almost just as easily. Maples are also perfect for the group or forest style, their heavy crowns giving shade to the soil beneath.