Chinese elm bonsai (Ulmus Parvifolia) is one of the most beautiful and popular indoor or outdoor bonsai trees for beginners and that’s why I have made this Chinese elm bonsai for sale article with a care guide.
If you are just getting started on your bonsai hobby or even if you already know what you are doing a Chinese elm is an excellent choice.
When you have a trained Chinese elm the characteristics that are most notable are the thick reddish to brown trunk it grows and the tiny textured oval-shaped leaves.
This is one of the best bonsai trees for beginners because it really does grow vigorously which means if you prune a branch off you later regret or if you just plain mess up the pruning process then not to worry as the foliage will grow back.
Another great advantage when growing a Chinese elm bonsai is that it has a high tolerance to temperature variations which will allow you to grow this bonsai on your windowsill without worrying about the temperature difference between day and night.
This is an ideal tree to practice using wire and training bonsai to grow in the shape you desire.
Reasons why you should buy a Chinese Elm Bonsai
- A great choice for beginners to bonsai
- Can be grown indoors or outdoors
- Fast-growing foliage
- Has a high tolerance to variations in temperature
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Do Chinese elm bonsai lose their leaves in winter?
Chinese elm bonsai trees are what is known as a semi-evergreen.
This means that if the temperature where you keep your bonsai is high enough (60-70F) and it still gets enough light over the winter period then your bonsai will keep its leaves or at least not completely lose all of its leaves.
So, with this in mind, you have to presume that if over the winter period the temperature drops below what is ideal for Chinese elm bonsai or there is not enough light to sustain it over this period then your bonsai probably will lose its leaves over winter.
If your bonsai is losing its leaves over the winter or you fear you may not be able to provide conditions that are ideal over the winter period due to your local climate, don’t worry about it.
If your bonsai has lost its leaves over winter they will reappear when springtime arrives and if your bonsai hasn’t lost all its leaves over winter you will notice lots of fresh shoots appearing when the spring arrives.
How often should you water a Chinese elm bonsai?
How often you have to water your Chinese elm bonsai depends in part on when your local climate is like.
Having said that, on average you will probably have to water your bonsai every day or every second day during the hot months and significantly less during the cold months.
If you live somewhere with a hot climate especially in the spring and summer you will definitely have to water your bonsai more often than if you live somewhere with a more mild climate.
The trick to keeping your Chinese elm healthy is to keep the soil moist, however, the surface layer of soil should get dry in between watering, stick your finger in the soil, and if it’s dry more than 1.25cm down it’s time to give it water.
If you do let the soil completely dry out it can be a disaster for the health of your tree and you will have to keep an eye on this because bonsai do have a tendency to dry out quickly because of the small pots and minimal soil they grow in.
How To water your bonsai tree
There are a couple of techniques you can use to give your Chinese elm its regular watering and both of them include using your sink.
- Put your bonsai in the sink and use a watering can or similar device. Water it from above and give it enough water so that lots of water drains out the drainage holes in the bottom of your pot. Allow your bonsai 10 minutes to drain properly so that you don’t drip water all over the place.
- The next option is especially good if your bonsai is not in great condition or if it has lost its leaves from underwatering. Place your bonsai in the sink and fill up the sink with water so that it is level with the top of the bonsai pot. Keep your bonsai in the water for 10 minutes and this will allow the soil to absorb enough water.
Should you mist your bonsai tree?
Using a spray bottle to give your bonsai a misting is a good idea during the hot summer months.
This technique should never replace the standard watering procedure however if you mist your tree once or twice per week it should help keep it in good health.
Using this misting technique is an especially good idea if you live somewhere with incredibly hot weather during the summer but you should stop misting during the cooler winter months if you have a cool climate as keeping the leaves damp and unable to dry out could lead to fungus or mold problems.
How much light does a Chinese elm bonsai need?
Like most bonsai varieties Chinese elm bonsai needs as much light as you can get it.
If you have a bright and sunny south-facing windowsill or a conservatory this could be the perfect place to get your bonsai as much light as it needs.
Bonsai can also do just fine in a bright room and that’s where many end up as an ornament on a coffee table or mantlepiece.
Chinese elm bonsai will do fine in the full and strong sun however if you move your bonsai you should maybe do it in stages because if you move it from being permanently in partial shade to permanently in full sun the leaves may get sunburnt.
If you think your bonsai isn’t getting enough sunlight you could always use a Led grow light to give it a boost, some people have success by doing this during the winter months.
How do you feed Chinese elm bonsai?
The most important factor you have to get right when it comes to feeding your bonsai is to give it enough water.
The small shallow pots that are used for growing bonsai and the specialist soil many people use mean that they will dry out very quickly compared to other potted plants.
You will also have to use fertilizer if you want to own a thriving bonsai tree, this is because of the small amount of soil in the pot which results in the tree using all the available nutrients, so they have to be replaced.
Different types of bonsai fertilizer are available:
- Liquid bonsai fertilizer – is a great option as you simply dilute the concentrate into the water and feed it to your bonsai along with its usual water (apply liquid fertilizer every 1-2 weeks)
- Slow-release fertilizer pellets – are another great option as they will slowly dissolve into the soil every time you water your tree, this means your bonsai consistently gets fertilizer
- Rapeseed cake fertilizer – is similar to slow-release fertilizer pellets except they do not dissolve, you simply need to remember to replace them every 2 months.
When should you prune your Chinese elm bonsai?
There is no exact method that can tell you the absolute right time you should choose to prune your bonsai.
When you should prune your bonsai comes down to your own judgment, if you think it looks like it’s getting too big and bushy then it’s time to prune it.
To keep your bonsai tree in reasonable shape you may want to prune it when the branches grow longer than four nodes as a rough guide.
If you are planning on repotting your bonsai then it is advisable to prune it one month before you carry out this task.
This should give your bonsai enough time to recover from the pruning before you re-pot it so that it can put all its energy into getting settled in its new pot rather than using energy to recover from pruning.
How to prune a Chinese elm bonsai tree?
When you own a bonsai tree you will have to prune it to keep it in shape and growing healthy.
It’s not that difficult to prune a Chinese elm bonsai tree and the more you carry out this vital procedure the easier it will become and the more confident you will get.
When you decide your bonsai has become bushy enough and needs to be pruned you should use a sharp set of clippers because clean cuts will heal easier than the rips a blunt blade will cause.
- To prune bonsai branches you should keep the branches length to a maximum of 4 nodes.
- To prune shoots coming off branches you should trim them back so there are only 1 or 2 nodes.
Remember that when you prune bonsai or any other tree it will spur a period of vigorous growth.
Trimming your bonsai using the guidelines above may seem like you are giving your bonsai quite brutal treatment, however, once the new growth happens you will have a very tight and attractive bonsai tree.
How do you re-pot a bonsai?
When you grow bonsai you may have to re-pot it from time to time, especially if you have a younger tree as they tend to grow a bit faster than a mature tree.
If your bonsai begins to look top-heavy and unstable or it just looks out of proportion to your pot then it is time to re-pot it.
To re-pot a Chinese elm bonsai follow these instructions:
- Remove the bonsai from its pot – Use a spatula or knife to run around the edge of the pot and loosen it then use the tool to get under it and pop the tree and soil out of the pot.
- Loosen the roots – When you have the tree out of the pot you should go round the edge with a knife or chopstick and gently stick your tool into it to loosen the roots. You want to make about 20% of the root ball around the edge become long and straggly.
- Trim the roots – Use a sharp pair of bonsai shears to cut off all the straggly roots so that you are left with the root ball being quite solid and compact again.
- Base layer of potting soil – Add a layer of bonsai potting soil, you should judge it so that when you put the bonsai tree on top it will sit just below the rim of the new pot.
- Add bonsai and fill it up with bonsai potting soil – When you position your bonsai in its pot there should be room around the edges. Fill up around the edges with potting soil and add as much to the surface as you can so that it is level.
- Feed It – Put your freshly potted bonsai in a sink and fill the sink up with water so the water is just below the rim. Leave your bonsai in the sink for 10 minutes so it can absorb plenty of water.
- That’s you repotted your bonsai. you may have to re-pot every couple of years for young bonsai but if you have an ancient specimen you may rarely or never have to.
I hope you have found this Chinese elm bonsai for sale article helpful whether you’re looking to buy a bonsai or have used the care guide.
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