Chinese elms (Ulmus Parvifolia), also known as Lacebark Elms, are trees that are originally and predominantly found in most countries in Southeast Asia specifically in China. These are semi-evergreen, deciduous trees that thrive well in temperate regions.
Chinese Elms may have grown in Southeast Asia but it was first introduced in the European region in 1974. Since then, the tress was propagated as either trees or bonsai.
Ulmus Parvifolia are popularly known because of their lustrous and leathery single toothed leaves that are commonly mistaken with those of the Japanese Elms. Its flowers are naturally pollinated with the help of apetalous wind to produce an oval shaped samara fruit. The trunk is covered with flaking gray bark that exposes the reddish inner meat of the tree.
Just like most bonsai species, care and attention must be given to Chinese Elms for them to grow optimally. The main key in making them grow better is to identify the perfect location, watering and cultivation techniques that are suited for this specie.
Ulmus Parvifolia grow better in sunlight rich locations that are occasionally shaded. Although considered as perfect indoor bonsai, these plants can be placed outdoors during summer and must be brought indoors during winter as they are intolerant t extremely low temperatures. You will know if your plant has been over exposed to the sun as it is manifested by leaves turning yellow.
Watering techniques varies depending on the location of the bonsai. Whenever they are placed indoors, soil must be kept moist and highly humid. Outdoor Ulmus need a higher frequency of watering as they are more exposed to the sun. However, avoid overwatering or under watering the plant to avoid root rot that eventually leads to the death of the plant.
Chinese elms can grow very quick once left untrimmed. Trimming is best done during spring when new bud usually comes out. Allow shoot to grow 4 additional nodes then prune back to a maximum of 2 leaves. Pruning large branches requires a little more attention as it can result in callouses when not done properly.
Wiring is not really a necessity for Ulmus Parvifolia bonsai as they can easily be shaped by pruning or trimming. However, if you want a desired contour for your plant, it can easily be done with the use of regular guy wires during spring and summer. Always exercise extreme caution in wiring the barks as it can leave permanent marks.
Though it does not require special kinds of fertilizers, feeding the plant during the growing season is a must to replenish nutrients in the soil. Nitrogen rich fertilizers must be avoided as it affects the growth of Chinese elms.
Ulmus bonsai trees are best repotted during spring. Because of their robust root systems, repotting must be done annually together with root pruning.
It is very easy to propagate Ulmus Parvifolia bonsai. You can simply use stem cuttings that gives higher success rates. Though this plant bears fruits with seeds, it is not recommended to use it a means of propagation due to low success rates.