Japanese Elm Bonsai Care Guide

Specific Japanese Elm Bonsai care guidelines (Zelkova)

Basic Japanese Elm Bonsai Care guide

Position:  Even though its typically an outdoor Bonsai tree,  Can be acclimatized to indoor conditions . When placed outside however, protect the tree well during the winter. The tree prefers much light, even almost direct sunlight.

Japanese Elm bonsai

Watering: Water regularly as usual.Let dry out between watering but don’t ever let the soil stay fully dry.  If it’s in strong sun water daily.  Indoor only every 3-4 days.  Listen to your plant

Japanese Elm Bonsai care

Feeding: Use slow release bonsai fertilizer every 6 months.  You can use a liquid fish fertilizer once every two weeks during in active growth


Pruning: Allow shoots to extend at least 3 nodes then prune back to 1 or 2 leaves. Larger-leaved Zelkovas respond well to leaf cutting (defoliation) in summer.


Re potting: Re pot the tree once every year, less often when the tree matures, well draining soil mix with 50% Lava rock or something porous but free draining

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Propagation: Can be cloned from clippings

Visit our Forum for to ask specific questions. Bonsai Artists of South Florida

Japanese Elm Bonsai are my favorite variety of Bonsai to work with.  I love the way the leaves respond to trimming and allows to create amazing branch and foliage structure.  Can be fairly easy shaped with wire.  However not quite as bendable as Ficus, Branches wire well.  On the other hand the trunk would be very difficult to shape on a mature tree.  Japanese Elm respond well to trunk chops, this brings more cambium to the surface of the trunk encouraging new growth closer to the bottom.  Essential for creating proper taper.

Japanese Elm Bonsai Trees do excellent indoors with supplemental lighting and proper ventilation.  I will be posting pictures soon of best bonsai’s indoor bonsai growing project.  Which is in the works.