Ukigumo Japanese Maple – Pot Or Soil?
Q: I received an Ukigumo japanese maple a year ago. I thought it would be fine in the pot it is in but several branches on it are dying. I can also smell rot coming from the soil. It had been sitting outside in full shade the whole year before I brought it in. Should I transplant it to another larger pot or attempt to plant it in the ground this winter?
A: This is a gorgeous maple. Young leaves are green but they change to white during the year, leading to the name “Floating Cloud”. It needs to grow outdoors all year long. Bringing it indoors in a pot leads to too much moisture around the roots. This could lead to root rot and is possibly the source of the rotting smell. I would consider repotting it into a larger pot with fresh soil.
The buds and leaves are tender now since you’ve had it indoors for so long. The best thing to do now in winter is to bring it outside on warm afternoons and take it inside at night when it’s cold. Gradually expose it to cold weather but you can leave it outside when night temperatures are reliably above 40° in spring.