Japanese maple trees add elegance and color to any yard. If you don't have the space to grow them in your yard, you can choose a dwarf variety to grow in a pot and place on a deck, patio or balcony. Japanese maples are ideal for container growing because their roots are compact and they offer an appealing structure, making them beautiful to look at all year and not just in the fall when their leaves turn red-orange and yellow.
Buy the right variety. Fireglow is well suitable for growing in containers. Use the proper pot. Once you have your tree and the soil in it, it will be heavy, so consider that when making your choice. A large 5-gallon ceramic pot is suitable for growing a Japanese maple. Make sure the ceramic pot is a high-fired pot and not a simple terracotta pot. Terracotta often cracks and breaks when left out all winter. A large wooden planter will work well, too, as long as it is lined with plastic. Your container should also be wide on the bottom so that the tree doesn't become top-heavy and blow over in a strong wind.
Place a 2-inch layer of crushed stone or pebbles in the bottom of your pot to ensure adequate drainage.
Fill your pot a quarter of the way up with soil made from 2 parts topsoil, 2 parts compost and 2 parts sand or perlite.
Place your tree in the pot at the same depth that it was in the nursery pot.
Fill the pot the rest of the way with the soil mixture.
Water and fertilize your tree. Fertilizer should be a standard 20-20-20 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) mixture and can be used at half strength since you're not trying to encourage the tree to grow large -- just healthy.
Carry (or pull) your tree to where it is going to live. Look for a spot that is shielded from the wind and gets good morning or late afternoon sun.