Chinese Elm - Ulmus
Chinese elm is fast growing, deciduous or evergreen depending on its
location, forms a graceful upright rounded canopy with shiny, dark green
leathery leaves. elm is moderatly salt tolerant. Several dwarf
varieties, sports of Ulmus parvifolia, exist which grow slower than the
ordinary Chinese elm but it produces a much finer network of twigs and
branches. It is these sports which are used for bonsai.
Lighting: Will grow
in full sun or partial shade.
Temperature: Zones 5B
- 10A. More restricted zones may apply to some of the dwarf
Watering: Needs a lot
retain and produce small leaves, do not feed high nitrogen fast-acting
fertilizers. Feeding three times a year is sufficient to maintain good
color and healthy growth without enlarging the size of the
Pruning and wiring: Most shaping can be done by pruning. The bark is thin and may
be damaged easily.
these dwarf varieties are sports of another plant, they can only be
propagated by cutting or layering. Cuttings may be made from new tip
growth taken in early summer.
transplant well. Any type of soil with good drainage seems to grow them
well. They have heavy root growth so must have root room.
Pests and diseases: Boreres and chewing insects seem to be the only pests
bothering the plant. Cankers may develop on young trunks where soil is
Some species suitable for bonsai:
Ulmus parvifolia, var 'Catlin', is a sport of the
common Chinese elm. It is partly evergreen in mild climate and evergreen
in the south. Its leaves are a 1/4" to 3/4" long and are a shiny dark
green, lanceolate and smaller than zelkova. John Catlin, a landscape
designer in California, found this sport on an Ulmus parvifolia or
Chinese elm in a nursery in about 1953. Jim Barrett named it Catlin Elm
to honor the man who found it and to separate it from the Chinese
Ulmus parvifolia ,var 'Drake', USDA Hardiness zone 7
to 9. has small, dark green leaves, sweeping, upright branches forming a
rounded crown and greater leaf retention being almost evergreen in CA
Ulmus parvifolia, var 'Dynasty', has smooth dark
grey bark, smaller leaves and is vase-shaped, with red fall color in the
Ulmus parvifolia, var 'Frosty', has a small (.75
inch long) white-margined leaf which may revert back to
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