A Helpful Guide for Growing an Elm Bonsai

Published: 05th July 2010
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Elm bonsai is a good miniature tree for all bonsai cultivators in all levels. Growing an elm bonsai does not require you to perform complicated procedures that will annoy you especially if you are still starting out as a bonsai propagator.

There are various varieties of elm that can be developed beautifully as miniature trees. Here are some popular species of elm bonsai:

' Chinese Elm. Botanical name: Ulmus parvifolia

' English Elm. Botanical name: Ulmus procera

' Swamp Elm. Botanical name: Ulmus Americana;
Other names: American elm, White elm, or Water elm

' Red Elm. Botanical name: Ulmus rubra; Other names: Slippery elm or Indian elm

' Rock Elm. Botanical name: Ulmus thomasii; Other names: Cork elm

' Scotch Elm. Botanical name: Ulmus glabra; Other names: Wych elm or Witch elm

Here are basic and easy procedures on how you can propagate an elm bonsai:

1) You can propagate an elm bonsai starting from seeds, cuttings, or through air-layering.

' When you want to start your elm bonsai from seeds, you must first germinate it. Germination can be done in two ways: natural germination and forced germination. Natural germination involves allowing the seeds to undergo germination under natural conditions. When you speak of forced germination, it means that you have to perform the germination process artificially. You can put the seeds in a bowl full of water, and soak it for 24 to 48 hours. All seeds that are floating are considered empty so you just have to discard it. The seeds that remained at the bottom part the container are considered viable, and these seeds can now be sowed. Then, you can plant the seeds during the spring or autumn period.

' For greenwood cuttings, it should be taken during the season of summer. For hardwood cuttings, it should be gathered during the winter season.

' If you want to start your elm bonsai using the method air-layering, you have to do it when the grown parts of the elm tree species have toughened. After the whole process of air-layering, you can now start giving care to your miniature elm.

2) Plant the elm seeds, cuttings, or air-layered branch in a pot with a good mixture of soil. The bonsai pot should have enough holes beneath it to facilitate drainage of the excess water inside it. A pot with drainage holes must have a mixture of soil that has good drainage quality. A well draining soil will work together with the bonsai pot in the prevention of clogging extra amounts of water inside the pot.

3) After planting the elm, you should water it thoroughly using a water container that has fine nozzle because this will prevent the soil from washing out of the bonsai pot. You must water your elm bonsai whenever needed. You must not allow it to get dry but you must maintain moisture in it, especially during the season of summer because the sun shines strongly, and during the growth season to sustain its growth requirements.

4) Feed your elm bonsai using a high quality fertilizer. The fertilizer should contain high amounts of nitrogen. You can use a commercially prepared fertilizer or you can make your own recipe of fertilizer. You just have to remember that you need to read the manufacturer's instruction printed over the packaging when you are using a commercially prepared fertilizer.


Preston Blackmore is a Bonsai enthusiast. He has worked with local masters to learn everything there is to know about Bonsai. Now these years of research and development are at your fingertips. For more information on Elm Bonsai, visit http://www.beginnerbonsaiguide.com.

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