Antalixic
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:47 pm
Location: Manchester

My new bonsai, help with identifying it please!

Hi there,

I bought my first ever bonsai a few days ago from my local garden centre.
They sold three types there: Ligustrum, Carmona and Zelkova.
The little piece of card that was stuck in the soil said it was a Ligustrum, however I've been looking up and my bonsai has serrated leaves instead of oval ones like a Ligustrum.

So I'm thinking someone's maybe mixed the little card thingies up.
If anyone could give me their thoughts on what type it is it would be much appreciated.

Also, does it seem in good health? It's only small right now at about 6 inches tall. And I'm not too sure how often to water it yet, I've been told everyday, every other day or to just wait until the water has been sucked up. So I'm a little confused and I've been watering it a little everyday and spraying its leaves with warm water.

Thanks all!

https://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/210/bonsai1.jpg/
https://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/210/bonsai2l.jpg/
https://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/842/bonsai3.jpg/

User avatar
Gandalph
Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:40 pm
Location: Zone 6a/5b

Looks like a Chinese Elm to me. A lot of importers label them "Zelcova" to bypass some importation restrictions if labeled "Elm"

Zelcova Leaf

[url=https://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=133&u=14761211][img]https://i46.servimg.com/u/f46/14/76/12/11/1802r-10.jpg[/img][/url]

Chinese Elm Leaf

[url=https://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=132&u=14761211][img]https://i46.servimg.com/u/f46/14/76/12/11/tomapr10.jpg[/img][/url]

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Gandalph or other bonsai folks - did you look at the last picture? What do you think about the white stuff at the base of the trunk? Is that looking healthy to you?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Gandalph
Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:40 pm
Location: Zone 6a/5b

rainbowgardener wrote:Gandalph or other bonsai folks - did you look at the last picture? What do you think about the white stuff at the base of the trunk? Is that looking healthy to you?
Looks to me to be hard water mineral deposits. I doubt whether it is some form of mold.
Anyway. a good scrubbing with a soft toothbrush with fresh water and a little vinegar will help.

Antalixic
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:47 pm
Location: Manchester

Thanks for the replies guys
I was wondering about the white stuff on the trunk, I noticed it just after I brought the little thing home. I'll try giving it a brush (:
And yes, it definitely looks like a Chinese Elm. I do feel a bit played by the garden centre though!
Ah well, hopefully it'll grow into a grand looking tree.
By the by, when should I fertilize it?

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Antalixic,

I agree with your initial supposition; the labels had been mixed at some point and it should have been labeled with the Zelkova tag.

I also concur with Gandalphs ID of Chinese Elm. We've seen this deliberate misidentification frequently, particularly coming out of the UK. Don't blame the retailer though, they may not have even been aware of the ruse.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=113831#113831

Learn about the chopstick method of monitoring the moisture levels of the soil here.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479

The plant looks basically healthy, if a bit 'leggy' This is due to low light levels. Is this being kept as an indoor tree?

Norm

Antalixic
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:47 pm
Location: Manchester

Thanks for your reply Norm and thanks for the links,

I'm currently keeping the tree indoors in a well lit room by a window.
The garden centre where I bought it were keeping it in a very dimly lit room along with some cacti.
I've been told Chinese Elm's must be kept outside, is this true?

Cheers!

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

It is a deciduous tree. Brent Walston lists the most tender of the lot as hearty to 0°F.

The most it should need outdoors is an unheated cold frame.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Chinese Elms have a VERY broad natural range that extends into subtropical climates. I those warmer climates, the tree is evergreen. With that said, I can say that I have not had ANY luck with ANY of three cultivars kept indoors. What happens is that once light levels drop during autumn/winter, the trees drop their leaves and bud. They may do okay for the first season. But, thereafter, they enter seemingly "confused" states of dormancy and active growth, one after the other, and sometimes at the same time. IMO, there is a case for keeping CEs indoors. HOWEVER, I would not attempt it again unless I could obtain one CERTAIN to be from a subtropical climate. And only then if I could provide similar light levels to what the tree would receive outside AND I could provide a cold room off-season.

Return to “Bonsai Identification”