Experts and BHG readers answer.
Lace-leaf japanese maple shrub
What a lovely present! Japanese maples make good container plants with a little planning. Your maple tree will need a large container, like a half-barrel, a shady location, and winter protection. Japanese maples grow best in filtered shade, like the dappled light under large trees. Protect it from strong afternoon sun and wind. Keep the soil in the container moist, which means in hot weather you will need to check often. Uneven moisture will stunt the growth of the tree. If it gets too dry, there will be leaf damage. In your climate, you will need to protect the container from freezing. Bring it into a cool garage or sun porch where the dormant tree can overwinter safe from extreme temperatures that could damage the roots. Or bury the container, and mulch or wrap the tree to protect it from freezing and drying winds.