This type of tree is the most common kind of bonsai and generally the first one most people will own. Without some information on how to look after them they are also usually the last one they will ever have after it struggles and then finally gives up. Bonsai in general symbolise peace, harmony, order of thoughts and balance. Known as 'The tree of harmony', the Elm symbolises inner strength, intuition and wisdom. A beautiful bonsai which signifies love, balance, calm and a peaceful energy. Here an illustration from the popular channel Bonsai Empire;
The Chinese Elm is an easy bonsai to care for. It is not overly fussy about positioning but prefers a position with good natural daylight but out of direct sunlight, especially during the hottest summer months. We recommend a position away from radiators if possible. A window sill would be great but avoid south facing window-sills in mid summer.
As an indoor bonsai the Chinese Elm is not fussy about temperature. If you are growing your bonsai outside, please place in a sheltered position in the garden. Outside this bonsai is semi-evergreen so you should expect the leaves to drop. For very cold nights (below freezing) we would recommend that you bring the bonsai into a shed, glasshouse or cool room. Once nightly lows begin approaching the 40 degree mark, it is time to bring your indoor bonsai inside. The ideal indoor location is on a window sill facing south. An east or west exposure is second best. A northern exposure will work, but will necessitate the use of "grow lights" to provide sufficient light to keep your bonsai healthy. Four to six hours of sunlight per day should suffice. If you can provide more, so much the better.
Aim to maintain an even level of moisture. The species is quite thirsty especially in hot or sunny conditions. Pot emersion watering can be done or the tree can be watered from above. It largely depending on when the tree was last re-potted and what mixture of organic or inorganic soil medium was used.
Chinese Elms can be very vigorous growers which can resemble fluffy bushes in as little as a couple of weeks. the leaves group alternatively on straight shoots.If you seek simply to maintain the existing shape of a pre-made bonsai, cut the shoots back to the first set of new leaves after the shoot has got an inch or two in length. It also responds will to finger pinching of small shoots on an ongoing basis.
Growing Chinese Elm
We are frequently asked for bonsai seed kits but the reality is that thee kits are rather a disappointed. They frequently don't germinate and it is not the best way to propagate indoor bonsai trees. You are far better to purchase a bonsai, so you can enjoy growing it, and propagate new bonsai by taking cuttings. These are best taken in spring. Allow new shoots to grow 8-10cm and then prune with clean pruning scissors. Pop these cuttings into some fresh multipurpose compost in a small pot. Water them and then keep misting to maintain humidity.