Chinese Elm - Ulmus Parviflora
Chinese Elm trees are ideal for beginners because their branches can be pruned all year. The best time to trim deciduous trees is typically Fall when after leaves are dropping.
Chinese Elms prefer full sun to partial shade. Early morning sun is the best sun to give, and keeping the pot or tree as a whole shaded during the hot afternoon sun we have is not a terrible idea.
The Chinese Elm is hardy down to 10 degrees and can be protected by in ground storage in Winter, or by insulating the pot. We shouldn't have too many problems in the High Desert with these trees outside.
Fertilize your Chinese Elm bonsai once every two weeks during the growing season (Spring through Fall).
Wiring your Chinese Elm can be done to branches at all times throughout the year, but only do the shoots once they have become slightly woody.
Chinese Elms prefer their soil to be slightly moist and allowed to dry out a little between watering sessions making it a practical choice for the frequent traveler. To get familiar with when to water the Chinese Elm Bonsai, stick your finger a half-inch it on the soil: If you do not feel much moisture, then it is likely time to water. Never let the soil become completely dry for long.
During the winter months your Chinese Elm will require less water. In the spring and summer, it may need water every day or so, depending on location and climate. Watering cycles will vary, so avoid strict schedules. Get to know when your tree needs watering by observing its foliage, testing the soil with your index finger, or by weighing the pot in your hands. The drier the tree, the lighter it will feel.
If you have a water mister, try misting your tree a couple times a week to help with humidity. Misting is beneficial to your tree’s health but it is not a replacement for watering. Make sure you elevate your pot on pebbles so that its roots do not sit in water, this will provide your plant with moisture, without contributing to root rot.
The Chinese Elm is hardy down to 10 degrees and can be protected by in ground storage in Winter, or by insulating the pot. Placing it on the ground can help to regulate temperature up to 10 degrees for the roots which are more fragile.
Chinese Elms will need to be repotted approximately every two years in the early spring. Sometimes Chinese Elms do not react well to extreme root pruning, so avoid pruning the roots too far back when repotting (never more than 30% of total roots). After repotting, water thoroughly and keep the plant in a shady location for several weeks in order to help the new roots grow. When you are ready to re-pot be sure to check out our amazing selection of beautiful bonsai pots.
Bonsai are susceptible to the same pests and diseases as common house plants. The best defense is to keep your tree clean and healthy. Keeping the leaves free from dust will allow proper circulation in your tree. If you notice any abnormal leaf drop, stickiness to the foliage, or visible insects, you need to treat the problem promptly. Start by spraying your bonsai with a solution of 1 tsp dish soap to 1 quart tepid water or Neem oil spray and spray till mixture runs off the leaves; Rinse solution off leaves with plain water and repeat every few days as needed.
The fastest way to propagate the Chinese Elm is with 6 inch cuttings taken with sharp, clean scissors in the summer. Place in a glass of water and roots will soon develop. Repot rooted cutting in a quality bonsai soil or a mixture of 2 parts loam, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part sand.