To say that growing a bonsai tree is hard work is true. With bonsai, you have to balance between allowing and restricting growth so that the tree will remain a certain height. However, there are certain trees such as the Chinese Elm Bonsai which can be easier to train.
So if you are a willing beginner, launch off this hobby with a Chinese Elm.
About Chinese Elm
The tree (scientific name: Ulmus parvifolia) originally comes from East Asia, and has been a very popular specimen for bonsai, primarily because the tree can still survive after it has sustained mistakes on pruning, wiring and whatnot, and it is generally less fussy than most.
The tree has a simple beauty to it, as well. The bark is a dark gray to reddish brown, and it can be smooth to rough, depending on the age. The branches have very small, oval shaped leaves with verdant colors.
The roots can be grown to be exposed, making it to look like it is aging beyond its actual years. In addition, it has a very predictable pattern when it grows, so that it becomes very easy to train.
Chinese Elm Bonsai for Beginners
Another good point about this tree is that it tolerates a few days of dryness. Of course, it should not be left to dry for long. Try to test this by placing your finger half an inch into the soil. If you don’t feel any moisture, then it probably needs a lot of water.
In winter, as a rule, you don’t need to water as much. You may need to water it every day the rest of the year, but that will depend on your actual location and the local weather and climate. You may be able to test if your tree is thirsty by observing its leaves, finger testing the soil and by checking the weight of the pot.
If it feels lighter, your tree probably needs more water. In addition, try to avoid over moisturizing the soil by putting the whole container on pebbles. This will prevent root rot from happening.
However, it can be picky in terms of sunlight. It should be able to get a lot, but not too much in hot seasons, in order to grow. In addition, its environmental temperatures should be more or less fixed from sixty to seventy degrees Fahrenheit, whether indoors or outdoors. So you will need to place it outdoors or indoors as necessary.
In terms of fertilizing, you should be able to do this every fourteen days or so during spring up to fall. Use a fertilizer well suited to bonsai plants or something organic, for example something from the compost.
With pruning, trim off branches that are small, and shoots that are new. You may be able to do this throughout the year.
Wiring should be toward the branches always. The Chinese Elm trees can be trimmed in any style you wish and it generally responds well, even if with inexpert wiring.
Learn the Art of Bonsai
The Chinese Elm Bonsai Trees are as vulnerable to pests and illnesses as any other plants. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your tree is healthy in the first place. Keep dust off the leaves and observe for any sticky substances on the branches, limbs or leaves, as well as insects and any less than normal leaf drops.
Promptly treat the problem by spraying with the right solution. You may also opt to prepare something home-made by making a solution out of dish soap (around one teaspoon) and warm water (one quart). Spray until the solution completely seeps off the leaves, then rinse with a water mist. You may repeat this for as often as it is required to do so.
Re-potting or moving from one pot to another is required every two years when the Chinese Elm is still young and much less often when older. Do not prune the roots too much, as the Chinese Elm does not like it. Immediately after repotting, water it completely and place it under shade for a few weeks.
It is also important to know that bonsais do not like smoke from cigarettes so it may be prudent to place them somewhere away from a smoking environment.