This Zelkova, originally from Japan and China, is related to the Ulmus genus, which is the genus of the European and American elms. The Zelkova is in fact quite similar to the Ulmus (the Chinese elm), but it has single-toothed leaves whereas the Ulmus has double-toothed leaves. The Zelkova leaves are ovate, toothed and pointed.

If you need help identifying your tree, try our Bonsai tree identification guide.


Specific Bonsai care guidelines for the Japanese Elm (Zelkova)

Position: Although an outdoor tree, when acclimatized to indoor conditions (often the case when bought in a garden center or so) it should be kept indoors at least during the winter. When placed outside however, protect the tree well during the winter. The tree prefers much light, not necessarily direct sunlight.

Watering: Water Japanese Elm Bonsai regularly.

Feeding: Fertilize the tree once or twice every month from spring till autumn.

Pruning: Allow shoots to extend at least 3 nodes then prune back to 1 or 2 leaves. Larger-leaved Zelkovas respond well to leaf cutting (defoliation) in summer.

Repotting: Repot the Zelkova Bonsai tree once every two years, less often when the tree matures, using a basic Bonsai soil mixture.

Propagation: Use seeds or cuttings.

For more detailed information on these techniques, try our Bonsai tree care section.



Example of a Zelkova (Japanese elm) Bonsai tree

Zelkova, Japanese elm Bonsai