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How to Harvest and Save Japanese Maple Seeds

To save and harvest Japanese maple seeds, you will need to collect the seeds when they turn brown and then place them in a paper bag where they’ll stay dark and dry. 

Did you know that a bonsai tree can be grown from Japanese maple seeds? 

Or that some people enjoy covering their maple leaves in a sugar batter and frying them up to eat them?

Frankly, Japanese maple trees are one of the most interesting plants around, and their leaves come in a whole rainbow of colors. 

But how do you save and harvest the seeds? 

Within this article, we will cover these topics and more. 

A Word About Japanese Maples

Before you collect Japanese maple seeds, you should know that there is no guarantee that your new plant will look exactly like its parent tree. 

This fact is true about many plants, but Japanese maples in particular. 

But don’t let this discourage you from growing your own plant. 

Your tree will be unique to you because you planted and cared for it. 

Yet, additionally, you should know that if you choose a random Japanese maple tree to harvest from, the seeds may be sterile. 

Therefore, it’s probably better to take seeds from a few different trees so you can ensure that some will sprout when you plant them. 

When to Harvest Japanese Maple Seeds 

Of course, to grow a Japanese maple tree, you will first need to harvest the seeds. 

The seeds of the Japanese maple tree ripen in the fall, and once they are ready to be harvested, they turn brown. 

You can also identify the seeds because they grow attached to a papery-looking wing. 

Read Also >> Why Save Seeds?

How to Harvest Japanese Maple Seeds

For the most part, harvesting Japanese maple seeds is rather similar to how you would harvest most other kinds of seeds. 

All you need to do is collect the seeds from the trees. 

But luckily, in the case of Japanese maple seeds, you can also collect seeds from the ground. 

Thus, you can easily get a lot more seeds than you can from other plants, whose seeds tend to be useless once they fall off. 

But, if you do pick up seeds off the ground, you need to make sure that the seed inside is still firm. 

If the seed feels squishy, it may have started to rot. 

Yet, for the most part, there is nothing wrong with Japanese maple seeds that come off the ground. 

Lastly, as stated above, the seeds grow attached to paper wings, which you should remove when you bring your seeds inside. 

Read Also >> How to Harvest and Save Nicotiana Seeds

How to Save Japanese Maple Seeds for Replanting

Once you have only the seeds, you should place them inside a paper bag to dry. 

And, remember that for these seeds, a paper bag is much better than plastic because paper is a breathable substance, which won’t hold moisture. 

So, if you do have moisture in your seeds and you place them in plastic, they can easily mold. 

Furthermore, you want to keep your seeds at room temperature, so storing them in your house may be ideal. 

Generally, if you do not keep your seeds in your home or another temperature-controlled setting, they may get too hot or too cold, which could spoil them. 

Additionally, make sure you don’t expose your seeds to direct sunlight, or they may germinate before you want them to. 

Finally, if you have harvested seeds from different trees, you should place them in separate bags so it’s easier for you to keep track of them when it comes time to plant them. 

The Importance of Labeling Your Japanese Maple Seeds

Whenever you collect seeds, you should always write down the date you harvested them and the type of seeds your bag contains. 

This sort of labeling is necessary because you need to, of course, know what kind of seeds you have and when they will spoil. 

You can also write down other important information, such as where you got the seeds and the variety of the parent plant. 

Overall, labeling is especially crucial if you have seeds from different trees. 

How Long Do Japanese Maple Seeds Last?

Japanese maple seeds may last for a few years if you store them correctly. 

However, it is always best to plant them during the next season to ensure the seeds remain viable. 


Although it may be upsetting to find out that your Japanese maple tree may not be the same vibrant red as its parent, it’s still fun and worthwhile to try out this gorgeous tree. 

And, of course, to do so, you must start by properly harvesting and storing your seeds. 

So, to recap: 

  • You should harvest your seeds in the fall when they turn brown. 
  • You’ll need to remove the papery wing on the end of the seed before storage. 
  • You must then place the seeds in a paper bag and label the bag. 
  • Finally, you need to store your seeds in a dry, dark, and room temperature area.

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