Bonsai elm tree

The elm bonsai: main features

Outdoor bonsai characterized by a highly appreciated versatility, the elm bonsai is a plant as strong as it is robust, and therefore able to withstand without any particular problems the interventions of bonsai art, whether it is repotting or pruning. If positioned outside it has deciduous leaves; vice versa, if cultivated inside, typically in the apartment, it manages to preserve a part of the leaves. Externally or internally, it must in any case be located in a sufficiently illuminated spot, possibly in contact with the sun, while during the winter season it must be kept away from frost and in general from particularly harsh climatic conditions. While not expressing specific needs, the elm bonsai it needs water on a regular basis, as long as the ground is completely dry on the surface. In order to avoid the risks deriving from root rot, it would also be important to check for the appearance of water stagnations, trying as much as possible to adopt a very draining soil. Often, in fact, the bonsai that you buy in garden centers are buried in excessively compact substrates: for this reason it is advisable to proceed with the repotting in a short time, changing the soil and making sure that the water of the watering can flow with a certain linearity. Evidently, weather conditions, season and vessel size affect irrigation rates (obviously, a larger vessel will need more water than a small vessel). In summer, it would be important to water the elm bonsai twice a day, while in winter the frequency can be halved.


The repotting, on the other hand, as well as after the purchase must be carried out around the end of February or the beginning of March, when the vegetative rest period is about to end and the plant is ready to grow again. In addition to the replacement of the vase, it is also necessary to reduce the woody roots, and place a grid (or simply a bit of gravel) on the drainage holes in order to build protection against animal pests. In addition, this grid will also be used to prevent land being unnecessarily dispersed during watering. Speaking of the latter, a mixture of twenty-five percent peat, twenty-five percent sand and fifty percent universal soil can go very well. As for the aforementioned animal parasites, the most dangerous and frequent enemies are aphids, mealybugs and red spider. Scale insects appear in the form of whitish incrustations, which generally appear on older branches. It is, in practice, the casings of woolly material in which the animals live, and can be eliminated with a solution of pine oil to be sprayed on the foliage. A half-liter solution costs about eight euros, and can be found at any garden center.

Change the shape of the bonsai: tie rods, wires and pruning

During the growing season, the elm bonsai can be subjected to corrective interventions by applying weights, tie rods and wires, which are an excellent aid for those who intend to put bonsai art into practice. The vegetative season represents the best period since it allows to act on the youngest branches, which, being elastic and flexible, turn out to be more sensitive and available for corrective interventions. To lower the branches you can use tie-rods to be anchored to the vase, or copper wires, possibly covered with sheaths in order to avoid damage to the binding points of the branches, whose consistency varies according to the type of branch. Of course, the shape of the plant can be modified not only with these instruments, but also with classic prunings. The most suitable time to act, in this case, corresponds to the beginning of spring or the end of autumn, that is when the period of vegetative rest ends and begins. In any case, the plant is able to easily withstand pruning and topping at any time of the year, provided that there are no particularly prohibitive climatic conditions. While the training pruning allows to give the desired shape to the bonsai, clearly taking into account the natural and characteristic posture of the species, the maintenance pruning has the purpose of ensuring that over time the realized form is preserved. Finally, stapling and trimming serve to guarantee an excellent vegetative balance, and must be implemented when the vegetation is intense. All interventions involving cuts and cuts must be carried out with instruments (shears and scissors) strictly disinfected, if possible with a flame, in order to avoid potentially dangerous infections. It would be better, however, to disinfect the blades after each cut, to prevent a disease on one branch from spreading to the other branches.

Bonsai elm tree: How to cut

The cuts made must be oblique, precise and clean, without leaving fray, which could be easy prey for insects. The wounds must then be treated with a specific healing mastic, an ideal barrier against parasites.