Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:12 pm

Beginners Indoor Chinese Elm Questions

Hi there,

So I recently purchased a Chinese Elm.
I've had it for a few days, and although it's probably too early to make any serious judgements yet it seems to be in good knock - good clean green leaves, the soil is moist and there are very few (3 or 4) dying leaves.

This is my first bonsai so I'm a little unsure about a few things:
- I have the bonsai facing an Easterly Window. ( we don't get a lot of direct sunlight in Ireland, and the bonsai is a good distance away from the window to avoid the cold through the glass)

- I have ordered a full spectrum CFL bulb as I suspect I shall be needing some supplementary light, Should I set this on a timer to coincide with the daylight i.e. On 12 hours off 12 hours.

- I have an ultrasonic humidifier which I use near the bonsai every 3 or 4 days to keep the leaves moist

- I soak the plant in its pot in the sink once a week (with the water just below the rim) so it an suck up some water through the roots

- I water whenever dry

I guess I'm wondering if anyone could comment on if what I'm doing is good / okay or what improvements I could make to my care.

Thank You all very much in advance :)


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

Re: Beginners Indoor Chinese Elm Questions

See my response about Chinese elms here: ... lm#p375974

Chinese elm is a subtropical tree. As an indoor tree it is sometimes treated as evergreen. But if outdoors or indoors with not enough light, they will act like a deciduous tree -- drop leaves and go dormant. You can try to decide what you want, but sometimes the tree will decide for you. If it starts dropping a lot of leaves, it has decided to go dormant. In that case you should find a cool, dim indoor space for it and give it no fertilizer and very little water. Let it rest until late winter when the days are getting longer.

If you want to stay evergreen, you will definitely need that supplemental light. The light needs to be right down close to the tree:



Light should be on 16 hrs a day. 12/12 wouldn't synch with daylight anyway. Currently you are getting about 8.5 daylight hours (so 15.5 dark) and that will be getting less for another month. If you were to set your lamp to correspond with daylight hours, you would be telling your tree it is winter and time to go dormant.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: Facebook page I manage for them: Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Return to “Indoor Bonsai”