Chinese Elm leaves all shriiveled up and fell off

Lynn NevinsJune 16, 2013

I bought a bonsai online and paid about $70 for a Chinese Elm. At the time it was in good condition. The website indicated this plant was intended for INDOOR use.

I am a pretty good gardener and know how to listen to my plants to know what they need. I generally don't 'kill' plants. ;-)

I kept the plant in a West facing window that gets full sun on the 4th floor.

After about two months or so, suddenly all the leaves dried up and fell off. When I called the company, they seemed apathetic and their response was 'yeah, maybe it will do better outside...we recommend you put the plant outside in the Summer' (even though they sell the plant as in INDOOR plant!). Anyway, I expressed my displeasure with the whole process to the manager and he replied 'there's nothing wrong with the tree...put it outside and you should see new leaves soon'.

Well it's been about three weeks now since the leaves fell off. No sign of life.

So....what do you all think? Any chance it will come back? And once I return it to the West-facing window, do you think it will do ok? I have NO desire to keep this plant outdoors... Could another bonsai expert potentially revive this if I gave it to them? Or should I just trash the thing?


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Give the trunk a slight scratch with your nail to see what color it is underneath. Green means it's still alive, anything else means it is no longer alive.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:18PM
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Lynn Nevins

I gave the trunk a good scratch sort of towards the base...I had to scratch it quite a bit in order to see the trunk...I hope that won't damage the tree there a way to 'seal' the scratch?

In any case, I think it may still be alive. Under the bark, while it wasn't green, it was more like a yellow with a tinge of green,,,and it felt smooth...not dry...

So ....if it IS still alive, is it normal that 3-4 weeks after all the leaves fell off, no sign of new leaves? I HAVE continued to water the plant every other day or so...a full soaking.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 12:14AM
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Lynn Nevins

Anybody want to chime in on this again?....checking under the bark, I think the tree IS still alive...but would it be taking so long to produce new leaves? would it help to trim back some of the smaller offshoot branches?


    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 8:43PM
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