Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:43 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Chinese Elm help

I have a young Chinese elm bonsai that can't be older than 2 or 3 years. I've had it in more or less the same conditions since early fall. I live in Oregon, and have kept it indoors since october. Planning to take it outside in the spring.

It has been healthy for the fall and started dropping leaves in the winter, which hasn't concerned me. However after a trip over the holidays (a friend was watering it for me) I arrived home and found a fungus growing on the soil surface. Along with this there was a considerable amount of leaf drop (browning fully and partially depending on the leaf). I did a quick repot and made sure that there wasn't any root rot.
Since I repotted I thought it was doing quite well. There has been a lot of buds breaking, which seems unusual for january, but it has been a sunny winter. But today I noticed that the new leaves have slowed growth and are starting to brown on the edges.

Most of the leaves have fallen off the tree, and I'm not sure if these new ones are going to make it. Should I be concerned, or is this standard chinese elm behavior this time of year?

Any help would be much appreciated. I just want to make sure she doesn't die on me!


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2661
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

If your elm lives through this winter, don't keep it indoors over the next winter. Its a deciduous tree that needs a winters dormancy.

Its too late for this year, but your tree won't survive a second.
Think like a tree
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Greener Thumb
Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:28 am
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Your climate in Portland is ideal for Chinese elm - outdoors of course. Like tomc says it will not survive in the house.

What to do now? I would start by keeping it cool (a cold greenhouse would be ideal-but who has one?). An unheated garage would work. As Winter ends get it outside when there is no danger of hard frost. It needs to acclimate to outdoor conditions over time. A protected spot, out of wind, MIGHT bring the tree around again - but no guarantees. We don't truly know the condition of the roots or the health of this tree. It has been stressed and confused.

Winter dormancy of temperate deciduous trees is a part of their life cycle.

Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:43 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Thanks for the replies. I'll try to get it outside in early spring.

Any suggestions on direct or indirect sunlight at this stage?

Senior Member
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:54 am
Location: Michigan


I keep my elm out doors I'm in Michigan. I just protect it from wind and that's it. Mold may have been due to no air circulation.
There is no such thing as too much bonsai. Just not enough room!

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