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Chinese Elm

Overview : Native to East Asia, the Chinese Elm (Ulmus Parvifolia) grows to 18 m (60 ft) tall and has a spreading, sinuous habit and bark mottled with dark gray, reddish brown and cream. It is both an indoor and outdoor tree, where it stays semi-evergreen if kept indoors, but is deciduous if kept out all year. The small, leathery, dark green leaves, smooth and shiny on top, have small, blunt teeth. The fruit mature in fall (autumn), much later than those of most other elms. It is relatively resistant to Dutch elm disease.

Chinese Elm are quite good plants to choose for beginners at bonsai - with a predictable growth pattern and being quite forgiving when pruned. ?Frosty? is a shrubby, slow-growing form with small, neatly arranged leaves bearing white teeth - a good candidate for bonsai.

General Care : Shelter from harsh conditions and cold weather, however most varieties of Chinese Elm are quite frost hardy.

Prune after the growth period (early spring), leaving the one or two nodes closest to the main trunk or branch.

Water moderately year round, but keep the plant moist at all times, keeping in mind to water well during spring and early summer.

Repot in early spring, every 1-3 years, but this must be either a month before or after pruning to ensure that the plant sustains the least shock possible.

Other Comments : The bark of Chinese Elms can be quite interesting, some varieties with smooth bark and the others with rough, cork-like bark which cracks and becomes deeply fissured with age - adding character to the bonsai. Generally, the smoother bark varieties will be less hardy than those with rough bark and care should be taken.

Being quite versatile plants, they can be kept in a position of shade to full sun, but make sure that the plant receives some shade during the hotter months and does not dry out.

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