Growing a Japanese maple in a papercrete pot

Growing a Japanese maple in a papercrete pot is no different to using any other pot, but papercrete, like hypertufa, has the advantage of allowing any shape to be made. Troughs and other similar patterns are ideal for dwarf cultivars and weeping forms where the shape can be more in balance with the plant.

Although familiar with hypertufa, I must admit I’d never heard of papercrete until I saw an article in an online journal and started doing some searching around. Betty Mackey appears to be at the vanguard of the craft and an excellent article explaining the precise technique can be found here, along with a CD she has produced on the subject.

I also unearthed this video on YouTube that showcases a number of bonsai pots made from papercrete. Excellent inspiration for the sort of pots that would show off an appropriate Japanese maple to best advantage.

One comment to the video raises an intriguing question: roots will grow through papercrete. Use of this material might then be an effective way of air-pruning the roots of Japanese maple that’s going to be kept in the same pot for many years. And if the pot needs to be broken to get the plant out when it eventually needs repotting – just make another one!

It certainly sounds like an interesting material and although I’ve grown alpines in hypertufa pots I’ve never used them for Japanese maples so I may well have a go myself and post my results here.