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Zelkova bonsai

Zelkova, the Japanese elm

Zelkova Bonsai, also known as Japanese elm, is a plant native to Japan and China and belongs to the Ulmus genus, the same as European and American elms. It is a deciduous plant, that is, in the unfavorable season it loses the leaves which will then appear again in the season of vegetative restart. In nature it is a tree that can reach thirty meters in height characterized by a very dense and basically roundish crown, whose leaves are oval and serrated. During the vegetative period they have the characteristic green color, and then change, with the arrival of autumn, to the yellow-orange color, a phase that precedes the imminent fall of the same. It has a greenish bloom of little relief.

Zelkova Bonsai


Zelkova Bonsai, as well as elms in general, are perfectly suited to cultivation using the Bonsai technique. It is in fact a very resistant and undemanding rustic plant. It adapts to both indoor and outdoor cultivation and is hardly attacked by parasites, whether of a vegetable nature or belonging to the animal kingdom. Its adaptability allows it to tolerate and possibly react quickly even to any cultivation errors of less experienced bonsai enthusiasts. Last but not least, there is the beauty factor. Its elegant bearing and the softness of its forms make it a fascinating specimen even in the period of nakedness from the leaves. The combination of all these characteristics could not fail to make the Zelkova a must for all bonsai lovers,

Indoor and outdoor display


As already mentioned previously, Zelkova demonstrates a high adaptability to various factors, including those of a climatic nature. Precisely for this reason it manages to live well both if kept inside and outside. However, considering that usually the bonsai we buy at nurseries have grown and used to winter indoors, the best solution is to keep our plant indoors during the cold months and then expose it to the open air in the warmer months. With the arrival of spring and the consequent vegetative restart, our Zelkova Bonsai will need a lot of sun which will guarantee it the right energy for the production of new leaves and robust branches. Therefore, in this period, exposure in full sun is recommended. In summer, on the other hand, when temperatures rise, it is preferable to shaded exposure to avoid suffering for the plant. During the cold months we keep the bonsai indoors, guaranteeing both a lot of light, preferably placing it in front of a very bright window, and the right degree of humidity by inserting wet gravel in the saucer.

Zelkova bonsai: Watering, fertilizing and repotting


The right amount of water is the fundamental element for a healthy and strong bonsai. In the case of the Zelkova it is good to have a watering can with small holes and sprinkle it. The operation must be carried out at least a couple of times at a distance of a few minutes so that the whole soil can get wet. For the frequency of watering, you can adjust by checking the soil: when it is almost completely dry we will proceed again. The best time to repot is winter. We proceed to the reduction of a third of the root system and the replacement of the soil. Prefer a draining soil rich in organic substances, which in any case will be fed during the vegetative period of the plant, ie from March to mid-October, with fertilizations, preferring slow-release fertilizer.

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