7 Complete Guide of Chinese Elm Bonsai Care


These East Asian dwarfed plants continue to amaze gardeners. However, for beginners, you better start learning with Chinese elm bonsai care first.

Otherwise, this plant can reach a height of 80 feet (25 meters). But with this technique, you can enjoy the beauty of Chinese elm bonsai flowers and trees differently, just like terrarium for your living room.

While it will be the best oriental decoration for home or Chinese elm bonsai for sale, what to do in Chinese elm tree care? Let us study it carefully in this review.

What is Chinese Elm Bonsai?

Before discussing further Chinese elm bonsai care, it is necessary to get to know about the plant varieties and why they deserve to be one of the home decorations.

Chinese elm (Ilmus parvifolia) is a type of fast-growing thick tree. In the wild, the height can be equivalent to a multi-story building with a diameter of up to 3 feet (1 meter). 

This plant is similar to Japanese zelkova, but has scaling bark and orange patches. Both of these plants also have the same leaf shape, but the elm is less pointed.

Meanwhile, the leaves of Chinese elm are small and glossy with a dark grayish-green color. Thus, this slim shape makes the dwarfed version look beautiful in a mini pot.

The Chinese elm bonsai also contains an extraordinary philosophy. While bonsai is an image of harmony and balance, elm represents strength, intuition, and wisdom. You can also check on different kind of plant best for low light terrarium

The Benefits 

Indeed, bonsai is a technique of stunting plants by cuttings and grafting methods. The part to take as a new plant is a stem that we plant on fertile soil.

Not all plants can become bonsai because many heavy treatments pass. 

They will undergo pruning, repotting, and propagation with heavy processes so that weak growers will die.

Although not the only one, but the Chinese elm meets the qualifications. It has enough hardiness and durability, complete with a beautiful appearance.

Once being dwarfed, the Chinese elm bonsai care is also a piece of cake

You can do it well even if you are not very skilled in the field of plants. These points are several advantages of having this plant.

  • Easy Chinese elm bonsai care will make it perfect for early beginners.
  • It is fast-growing that does not take a longer time to see the results.
  • Chinese elm has a good twist structure.
  • The small leaves will make it perfect and proportional as a bonsai.
  • The plant is easy to prune that you can shape it very beautifully.
  • The Chinese elm has a deep philosophy, and many people believe it to bring good luck.
  • This variety has a strong resistance that it will not die soon.

Moreover, this plant offers many other advantages to choose from. Next, let us discuss Chinese elm bonsai care.

Prepare the Environment

Prepare the Environment

Whether you grow your own or buy bonsai at the store, preparing the environment is the most crucial thing. Without the right temperature and settings, they will not last long.

However, the good news, chinese elm bonsai tree care is not too fussy about placement. 

These growers can survive in various seasons, both indoor/terrarium and outdoor. They will be great in summer but survive the winter.

In summer, it is better to place the plants outdoors to get enough sunlight for photosynthesis. Thus, they will thrive and begin to flower.

During winter, outdoor placement will be okay as this plant can withstand snow for a season. 

The next question is can Chinese elm bonsai be kept indoors?

However, placing indoor will be strongly recommended to keep them blooming and not experiencing dormancy.

How to Do Watering

There is no different watering technique in Chinese elm bonsai care. Importantly, you have to give water when needed. Therefore, knowing the right time is necessary.

For this, gardeners generally have a definite schedule. However, you also still need to make sure they need water.

The trick is to touch the ground media. If the conditions are wet or too humid, then watering is not necessary. 

Therefore, delay the watering a few days before the soil dries out a bit.

On the other hand, if the soil is dry as drought, it is a sign that they need water. Give it water until a sufficient level of humidity. 

Besides, you can increase the intensity of the watering. In Chinese elm bonsai care, several things determine the fluid requirements of growers. 

For example, the temperature will rise dramatically in the summer, so the soil dries faster, and the plants require more mist.

Based on these conditions, gardeners need to monitor the plants. Do it every morning to find out what kind of Chinese elm bonsai care you should do that day.

As additional information, watering must be complete until the roots are wet. Do it by watering instead of spraying.


Good watering is enough for Chinese elm bonsai care. However, of course, you want to make sure it is strong and beautiful.

For best results, you can combine organic and chemical fertilizers with a balanced composition. 

Then, summer is the appropriate season to apply fertilizers since it is the time to be active and growing.

During winter, giving Chinese elm fertilizer is not necessary because the plant is in dormancy. However, for a hot climate area, this treatment is acceptable throughout the year.

One of the best things to take from Chinese elm bonsai care is not-too-fussy fertilizer. Expensive products are not necessary because bonsai has grown on fertile soil media from the beginning. 

Pruning Guide

Pruning is a critical process in Chinese elm bonsai care. In addition to helping tidy up the shape to keep it beautiful, trimming will keep the plants fertile and healthy. 

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Chinese elm is a fast-growing plant that constantly needs more wiggle room. Pruning will make this happen.
  • It enables the thickened branches to be more flexible so that they can grow better and denser.
  • Pruning will remove unnecessary parts of the plant so that nutrients can circulate optimally. Over time, the growing tree will fade the beauty of bonsai. Therefore, you need to trim the plant again to make it look beautiful.
  • Pruning allows the growth of new leaves and maintains the shape of the plant to keep it beautiful.

If you already understand the benefits and purposes, then this is the right time to do it yourself at home.

Here are some things and steps for Chinese elm bonsai care that you need to know.

  • Before pruning, you must first know which parts need treatment. After determining the soon-to-prune leaves, ensure that a pair of the new ones have grown above them.
  • Start to trim it well.
  • For branch pruning, you can wait for the tip to grow 3-4 internodes before starting trimming.
  • If you find that any part of the rod is not in position, you can tie it with a plant wire. Allow for some time until the direction of growth changes according to your wishes.
  • Do pruning in late fall. At that time, the bonsai almost ended its dormancy period and started to move again. 

Even though the steps look difficult, but believe that this is a process for which you will be grateful. Also, it will be a fun part of Chinese elm bonsai care.

How to Do Repotting

In addition to regular pruning, the other Chinese elm bonsai care to understand is repotting. This process is not a treatment to do often, but very critical to keep it healthy.

Repotting itself is the process of trimming roots that are too long that they grow according to the shape of the pot. 

It will make the growers weak because the nutrients are not absorbed properly. Then, spring is the perfect season for repotting. 

These are the steps to do:

  • Prepare equipment, such as pots, new planting media, root scissors, soil rake, and tweezers.
  • Start scratching the planting media from the edge. The goal is to minimize the roots attached to the pot.
  • Once possible, put off the plant from the pot.
  • Clean the planting media that is still attached to the roots until clean.
  • Start trimming the roots that are not important, especially those that are still fibrous. Leave the base with a size that fits the pot.
  • Next, trim the twigs and leaves until their size is proportional to the roots.
  • You can start replanting the bonsai. First, enter the planting media and fertilizer up to a third of the pot, and then add the trimmed grower.
  • After the bonsai enters the pot, add more planting media until the roots are under the soil. Compact the surface.
  • Spray the water on the planting medium.

You need to know that a good repotting is every two years for young plants. Over time, you can extend their duration because their growth is not as fast as before.

Surprisingly, they appear a little weak and wilted after repotting. It is not a problem in Chinese elm bonsai care; the plants will improve after one season.

Some Problems You May Face

Some Problems You May Face in chinese bonsai elm

Improper treatment of Chinese elm bonsai care will lead them to grow unwell. In addition, many other factors may interfere with its growth. 

Some problems that may arise are below.

  • Pests and Diseases

Like other plants, pests and diseases are a scourge in Chinese elm bonsai care. Despite taking the best care possible, this threat is almost unavoidable.

Spider mites are the main enemy in Chinese elm bonsai care. They come because the humidity level is too low.

Hence, applying pesticides is a great way to kill these pests.

However, you need to avoid systemic and lime-sulfur pesticides because they will make the leaves fall. Additionally, increase the humidity level by spraying water very often.

  • Leaves Problems

When entering winter, this plant will experience dormancy so that it looks dead. However, if the Chinese elm bonsai losing leaves in summer, there may be a problem.

Maybe something wrong happens while doing Chinese elm bonsai care. Likewise, the most plausible thing is nutritional deficiencies.

Try to check the condition of the growing media. If the conditions are dry, then the possibility is under-watering. 

Thereupon, the fix is to pour enough water. However, overwatering can also cause problems. 

Importantly, the Chinese elm bonsai yellow leaves generally appear because the soil conditions are excessively humid.

A sign to use as a reference is the too-moist soil condition, even wet. To fix this, you need to let it sit for a few days without giving water.

Meanwhile, if this method does not work, try placing the bonsai in the sun to get enough light. Furthermore, observe whether it arises due to inappropriate fertilizers.

  • Season Change

As we discussed above, winter is an inactive phase for Chinese elm bonsai. Consequently, the leaves will fall, and they look like they are about to die.

However, do not worry about this inactive phase. It is resistant to snow and low temperatures but decides to sleep to conserve energy.

The reason is the growing media is too humid that the nutrients are not absorbed properly. 

Otherwise, as the temperature warms, the Chinese elm bonsai will resume photosynthesis and grow leaves again.

Additional Tips

Additional Tips for chinese elm bonsai Chinese Elm Bonsai Care

After reading the reviews above, you can conclude that Chinese elm bonsai care is not as complicated as imagined. 

In addition to the guide above, you can also do the following tips:

  • Bonsai will go into dormancy in winter. To avoid being in this phase is by placing it indoors and raising the temperature to resemble summer.
  • Under normal conditions, you can give water every morning and evening
  • 15 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature in Chinese elm bonsai care during the day and 10 degrees Celsius at night.
  • To keep a healthy environment, you can also use a humidity tray.


Generally, you can apply the standard procedures of plant care treatment while looking after this bonsai.Check another exotic plants you can plant at home: venus fly trap & Orchid planting guide.

However, comparing to the normal-sized, the main difference in Chinese elm bonsai care is in the repotting. It is related to the limited space for movement in the dwarfed tree. 

I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it. Home decor, DIY related topics, & Travel are topics that I love to write!

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