Chinese Elm Bonsai Tree – Species Guide

Caring For Your Chinese Elm Bonsai Tree

Chinese Elm Bonsai TreeThe Chinese Elm Bonsai is a strong, very versatile and are relatively forgiving species, which makes them excellent for those beginning in Bonsai. Chinese elms can develop stringy branches and feature small, indented leaves. This type of tree is suited for both indoor and outdoor living however; they usually like to be outside during the summer months.


The Chinese Elm is very adaptive in terms of its environment. They can survive indoors year-round, if adapted accurately. Some can adapt to cold weather gradually and may begin to release their leaves during the fall. It is important to find out the environment in which your Bonsai has been living in recently and try to recreate these conditions. If you cannot determine the living conditions of your Bonsai, most do well outdoors during the summer and indoors during the winter.


Bonsai can dry out easily as they are planted in shallow containers in coarse soil. In some cases you may want to water your Chinese Elm Bonsai every day. However, the frequency of watering is dependent on many factors including the size of pot, the size of tree, type of soil, weather conditions and more. One of the easiest ways to tell if the Bonsai needs watered is by feeling the soil within the pot. Place your finger about a half inch into the soil. If you do not feel much moisture throughout the first half inch of soil, you should water the Bonsai. It is important to never let the soil dry out completely.

When watering your Chinese Elm Bonsai it is important to soak it very well. You can shower it from above or allow it to sit in a sink for a few minutes to soak up water from the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot. Be sure to check your bonsai tree every day and water when you believe it is necessary.

Chinese Elm Bonsai Tree Starter


A Chinese Elm will grow very quickly and it is important to keep up on pruning. The frequency of pruning will depend on how fast your tree is growing. It is important to ensure you do not cut too much and weaken the tree. On the contrary, you must cut enough to keep a good shape. Major pruning is typically suggested when the tree is the sturdiest. This is usually between early spring and early summer.


The best time to transfer a Chinese Elm Bonsai tree is when you begin seeing several buds beginning to swell. Even if your tree has not released all of its leaves, this is the greatest way to tell when it is time to transplant. The frequency of transplanting will vary depending on the age and size of the tree. A younger tree may need to be re-potted every year while an older tree may only need re-potting every two to four years. Choosing the type of pot your bonsai will grow in is very important as different pots will offer varying benefits. You also want to find a pot that compliments your tree and does not dominate it.


While growing Bonsai from seeds is a very inexpensive method, it is a slow process. Some seeds may take several months to sprout. Once the seeds have been effectively germinated, the seedlings will require several seasons before they are strong enough to permit their use as Bonsai. A tree developed from seed will further require about five years of additional growth to attain a trunk of about 1” across. Most seeds easily germinate in spring, allowing the seedling an entire season to strengthen before its first winter.



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