How to Care for Chinese Elm Bonsai

How to Care for Chinese Elm Bonsai

My name is Mark D’Cruz of Ma-Ke Bonsai and I’m going to talk to you about Chinese Elms and their care.

Chinese Elms are by far the largest number of bonsai sold in the UK, in Europe and most probably in the world. You can identify Chinese Elms by their small leaves. Their leaves are about two to six centimeters long. They are serrated, they have teeth marks all around the edges, and all the bonsai, the branching can be very very fine, which is what mature Chinese Elms look like and it’s excellent quality.

Chinese Elms come in many different sizes from small 15 centimeter ones to medium size, 45 centimeters, to the larger ones which are about two feet tall. You place a Chinese Elm, if it’s going indoors, by a window sill when it needs a lot of light and it can take variations in temperature quite well. If it is grown outdoors, the Chinese Elm is very versatile. It can be grown from semi shade to full sunny position, and when it’s grown indoors, the watering is minimal but the plant has always to be kept damp but not allowed to dry out and at the same time, not allowed to be waterlogged.

If it is outdoors, the watering is a little bit more versatile but again, it doesn’t like being dried out totally or being constantly wet. If it’s dried out, the tree can very easily shed all its leaves, although it’s a forgiving tree and it will bounce back quite regularly. Having over watered a Chinese Elm can be quite problematic because it will die slowly and it takes about six months to die and you don’t even know that you’re killing the tree because of overwatering.

Chinese Elms need to be groomed regularly and you prune it when the leaves have grown to about six or seven leaves long and you cut it back to just leaving two leaf nodes. You feed it every two to, every 15 days, every two weeks If you’re using liquid fertilizer. If you’re using a solid fertilizer or a pellet based fertilizer, you’d feed it every two months.

When you re-pot a Chinese Elm, you use a well-draining soil. At Market Bonsai, we tend to use Akadama and Pumice and we use it in the ratio of 2:1. Two parts of Akadama and one part of Pumice.

Chinese Elms propagate very easily. You can propagate them from cuttings. They have a very high success rate of propagating.

And that’s how you care for Chinese Elms.

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