How to care for Japanese maple seedlings?
I have tried to raise several (maybe a dozen) seedlings from my large Japanese maple -- I dug them up from the bed by the tree and put them in little pots. But they keep dying. This is a plain red JM (Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum').
I'm a pretty good gardener, but I'm not sure how to care for these little guys. I even sprouted nine of them from seeds last year (stratified them in the fridge and all), but I lost them over the winter (I may have waited too long to bring the little pots into the basement).
So, what's the secret to getting these seedlings to grow? Some have lived for months but never put on any growth. Some have grown a little and then died.
Do they like to be consistently moist or to dry a little between waterings? Should they be in complete shade or get a few hours of sun? Do they need humidity to do well (I live in a place with very dry air)? What do they need in terms of fertilizer?
I keep them on my covered deck in the backyard, and they only get a little morning sun. I water them every two days or sometimes every day if it's really hot outside. Once in a while they've gotten Miracle-Gro at half strength. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?