Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Tree Care Tips (Pruning, Water, and More)

Q: Can I successfully keep a Japanese bloodgood maple tree indoors?

Monday, January 04, 2016  

Q: I bought a Japanese bloodgood maple tree the other day, with the purpose of it being an indoor tree. It's around 7 feet tall, so I assume it's between 7 and 11 years old. The only potential problem is lack of sunlight, though I have it by a door-sized window, so it gets a decent amount of sunlight every morning.

I looked everywhere and found many different answers on this, but can this tree survive and be healthy indoors? I know it needs sunlight and water. That's about it. But I'm not okay with killing the plant just so it looks pretty in my living room for a little while. Then again, will it be better off outside, especially in the mountain area where I live?

A: Keeping your tree indoors would be ill-advised. Some species can survive indoors if conditions can be maintained, such as humidity via regular foliage spraying. Japanese maples are deciduous (lose their leaves in winter) and are dependent upon climate changes to cycle through their growth phases. Indoor environments tend to be both consistent and dry, not conducive to biological success.

Regarding sunlight, it is a critical component for plant physiology, in order to perpetuate photosynthesis, which provides all the energy plants consume for growth and all other processes. It is also critical for the success of indoor plants, although the amount required varies between species, and some do well in low light.

 

Responder: Torrey Young, RCA #282, Castro Valley, CA