Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:54 am
Location: UK

Bonsai tree turning yellow. Please give me some advice

i bought a bonsai tree coming up to a week ago and the leaves are starting to turn yellow and fall off. would you possibly be able to tell me some care tips please? This is my first bonsai tree

its a 4 year old bonsai zelkova

here is a picture of it.

thank you

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

At a fast guess (and a guess only), your soil retains too much water, your tree is indoors with too low of light level.

All ulmus are outdoors trees.

Here's hoping an more experienced hand, over rides my opinion.

User avatar
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


Hello and welcome to the forum. First you should know that your tree is not a Zelkova it is a Chinese Elm. It is not uncommon that this species is misidentified, presumably to circumvent a restriction on the importation of Ulmus.

Here is a side by side of Zelkova and Chinese Elm.
The Zelkova is on the left. A US quarter Dollar is about 24MM

Chinese Elms also have some variation in leaf shape, here are some examples.

I agree with Toms likely Diagnosis regarding low light and poor drainage. I would not however place it outside just yet. Once the weather warms it should go outside if you have that option. I grow Chinese Elms and manage the, for the most part, as deciduous trees. This means allowing them a dormant period over the winter.

Chinese Elms have a wide distribution and are actually considered sub-tropical. Some do keep them indoors but this requires a greater effort on the part of the grower, far easier to keep them outside.

Here are two articles that should clear this up a little.


Green Thumb
Posts: 469
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 1:15 pm
Location: NJ

now the experts have commented, I would like to commend you and the tree. Nice trunk on that bonsai =)

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”