Chinese Elm bonsai not budding back?

ryan_tree(7aVA)April 11, 2009

Hello everyone, I received a chinese elm bonsai as a gift around Christmas time and it was one of those mallsai trees. I repotted it and did everything I could to save it, but it lost all of its leaves. I know these trees are deciduous, but my bonsai has not gotten any leaves back yet. We keep it inside nest to our windowsill like Lowes did, but why hasnt it gotten new leaves yet?

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Have you tried the scrach test yet?? scrach the bark up in the top of the tree if it is green it is still cold is it there if above freezeing put it outside in the sun do not over water but not dry out either.with no leaves less water because of root for leaf buds..hope this helps john ...where is LUCY???

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 8:13PM
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Oh its green and alive alright. Good question, where is lucy to save the day?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 9:00PM
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Well there's also a lot that we don't know about the tree as well. These are fairly hardy trees to begin with. I will suspect that one reason for leaf drop is 'shock'. Removed from where it was, transported, moved into a new envoronment etc.. How was it re-potted? Slip-potted or put in a larger pot? Are there buds showing?

I would treat it like any tree that's been shocked...water it up once and put it in a semi shaded area with protection from direct sun and leave it alone for a while...a few weeks...and see what happens.

I also suspect that it's spent most of it's 'Lowes' life indoors in a greenhouse environment. Allowing it to be outside much under 40-50 degrees will probably kill it.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 9:53PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Why would spraying water on the leaves help?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 11:06AM
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Oh I remember these beginner days. Now, time to forget them. I've ditched outdoor trees and moved on to indoor ones, anyway....

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 12:39AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Ryan,

I have been following your threads for some time now..Looking and learning from you and others here, especailly enjoyed the transformation on your Ficus trees..

Can i ask you where you live in Virginia? Im from Va too! Actually Virginia Beach...

I enjoy reading your post and was wondering if you were from northern Va,

Thanks for any helps that you may want to share with me...

Take care,


    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 2:40AM
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Hi Laura,

Thanks for the compliment about my trees.

I live only an hour or two from you, over in Gainesville, about an hour outside of D.C.

Welcome to the group!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 10:29AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Thanks Ryan,

I tried to email you, but for some reason it wont go through...

I just wanted to know if you were close to Vienna? Have you ever visited Wolf Trap Nursery? If so, would you reccommend me traveling there. It would be a long road trip. but sometimes i am up in northern Virginia and im not real sure about this Nursery? Have you been there?

Thanks for any advice.

My email can be found on My page..

Thanks Ryan,


    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 2:07AM
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I'm going to post a picture later in the day. I have a Chinese elm bonsai and it's definitely not dying, but I have a few questions. One, it looks like it needs a bit more soil and I have bonsai soil at my house, but I'm afraid yo add it it looks far too dry, sandy, and rocky. Number two- the tree is bare in some spots and a few of the branches had leaves that died off (just a little) and are Browning. I didn't prune the tree (because I got it in te winter) and was told to prune it once it was spring time and thriving. So once I post a picture could someone let me know if I should cut off the dead-ish branches so new leaves could bud. Any help would be appreciated!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:02AM
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Hi - the idea of the 'dry' soil is so that you can water at will (or within reason actually) without being afraid of drowning or rotting roots, but with a C. elm, it's acceptable to replace some of that with e.g. 1/3 soil.
Btw - a good idea would have been to start a new thread so we wouldn't have had to plow through the old stuff ('09) to get to yours...
Pruning is done to achieve certain effects, not just 'because', so until you know why you want to prune anything, and where the results will lead, I'd advise not doing it (except perhaps to de-bush things a bit, neaten them up) until then.
Without knowing more about e.g. temperature the tree's in, whether you're using a humidity tray that's NOT allowing water to wick into the pot, how many hours of light it gets daily, and how often it is watered and how much, it's hard to advise more.

This post was edited by moochinka on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 17:26

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 5:24PM
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