Newbie to forum & Bonsai: To be or not to be a Zelkova?

Ingvill

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Hey guys!

I'm new to posting on the forum and new to bonsai.
I have enjoyed reading (and laughing) on this forum for a lil while now.
I love the way this forum keeps a sense of humour and that the tone is always friendly, even to us "annoying lil rookies" lol.

I've always thought bonsai trees were beautiful and have done a bit of reading up on them over the years, but never dared buying one until a couple of weeks ago. I went to our only bonsai selling garden center and picked out the cheapest (and ugliest) tree I could find.

I named it "Intro", drove home and proudly announced to my husband that we have a new family member!
His face turned into an expression of horror and disbelief, thinking I was coming home with a stray dog, donkey or child. He was so releaved to see Intro was "just a green flower thingie"...then he saw the price tag and his expression went back to horror and disbelief...
(Yep, I love torturing my husband whenever I can :-D )

Anyways; I was hoping you guys could help me out with identifying my dear, ugly tree.
The shop owner has been keeping bonsais for many years, he's taken classes abroad etc, so I was sure he would know what he was talking about. But now I'm not entirely sure.... I said I want an indoor tree to start with cause it's already fall and temperatures are dropping to freezing rapidly. He shows me the selection of trees that are both indoor/outdoor and tells me the easiest one (and cheapest one) for a newbie would be the Zelkova that I in fact ended up buying.

(I actually bought two Zelkovas; one additional tiny lil baby that I named "Index" :p)

I had never read up on the Zelkova before, so I immediately go online to search for information.
First thing I read is that it is in fact NOT an indoor/outdoor tree....but also that Chinese Elms are often deliberatly sold as Zelkovas cause they are prohibited in many countries (mine included).
I really wanna know what I have as the two species, tho similar, have slightly different needs and traits.

I have been looking at pictures of the two species trying to determine which one I actually bought, but I can't tell for sure.
I think it looks more like a Chinese Elm than a Zelkova when I study the leaves, but I just don't know...what do you guys think?

Thanks in advance for any input on this, "Intro & Index" will also be grateful I'm sure :)
 

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KiwiPlantGuy

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Hey guys!

I'm new to posting on the forum and new to bonsai.
I have enjoyed reading (and laughing) on this forum for a lil while now.
I love the way this forum keeps a sense of humour and that the tone is always friendly, even to us "annoying lil rookies" lol.

I've always thought bonsai trees were beautiful and have done a bit of reading up on them over the years, but never dared buying one until a couple of weeks ago. I went to our only bonsai selling garden center and picked out the cheapest (and ugliest) tree I could find.

I named it "Intro", drove home and proudly announced to my husband that we have a new family member!
His face turned into an expression of horror and disbelief, thinking I was coming home with a stray dog, donkey or child. He was so releaved to see Intro was "just a green flower thingie"...then he saw the price tag and his expression went back to horror and disbelief...
(Yep, I love torturing my husband whenever I can :-D )

Anyways; I was hoping you guys could help me out with identifying my dear, ugly tree.
The shop owner has been keeping bonsais for many years, he's taken classes abroad etc, so I was sure he would know what he was talking about. But now I'm not entirely sure.... I said I want an indoor tree to start with cause it's already fall and temperatures are dropping to freezing rapidly. He shows me the selection of trees that are both indoor/outdoor and tells me the easiest one (and cheapest one) for a newbie would be the Zelkova that I in fact ended up buying.

(I actually bought two Zelkovas; one additional tiny lil baby that I named "Index" :p)

I had never read up on the Zelkova before, so I immediately go online to search for information.
First thing I read is that it is in fact NOT an indoor/outdoor tree....but also that Chinese Elms are often deliberatly sold as Zelkovas cause they are prohibited in many countries (mine included).
I really wanna know what I have as the two species, tho similar, have slightly different needs and traits.

I have been looking at pictures of the two species trying to determine which one I actually bought, but I can't tell for sure.
I think it looks more like a Chinese Elm than a Zelkova when I study the leaves, but I just don't know...what do you guys think?

Thanks in advance for any input on this, "Intro & Index" will also be grateful I'm sure :)

Hi Ingvill,
Welcome to the nut house.
Your suspicions are correct. Looks like a classic Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) and although they can be inside at times, these will do much better outside
Zelkova have only one edge serrated not both I think.
Try a Ficus as an indoor plant as they are more suited to indoor harsh environment.
Charles
 

petegreg

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I'm second it's a chinese elm and you picked a nice one. I like the trunk movement.

Welcome.
 

sorce

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Nice.

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

GrimLore

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Ingvill

Shohin
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I have studied the leaves some more now after reading all of your replies, and I do in fact think you are right Grimmy;
The leaves on my trees are very rounded in shape as the Zelkova's are from your link, no doubt.
They are not elongated as the Chinese Elm seen in your picture.
In my first picture they do actually look a bit elongated, but that's probobly just the camera angle versus leaf angle misleading us.

Thank you all for your input and warm welcomes, it's very much appreciated :)
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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Hi Ingvill,
Welcome to the nut house.
Your suspicions are correct. Looks like a classic Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) and although they can be inside at times, these will do much better outside
Zelkova have only one edge serrated not both I think.
Try a Ficus as an indoor plant as they are more suited to indoor harsh environment.
Charles

Hi Ingvill,
Ooops I got that wrong. Oh well, proves we all learn something new every day.
I think the Zelkova is sometimes referred to as the Japanese Elm.

I hope you enjoy your Bonsai quest as much as mine has ( all 1 year of it lol)
Charles
 

petegreg

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I have no problem if proved wrong, a path of learning.
This is how the leaves of my zelkova look this time of year:
2017_1010_08380200.jpg

In any case, their care sheets are very similar if not same. Happy growing.
 

my nellie

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Hello @Ingvill
Wellcome to B-Nut!
Your new member of family is not that ugly as you think it is. Looks like that because it is unkempt. A haircut here and there and it will look much much better soon!

Zelcovas and Ulmus are in the same family, so no big difference in culture, like @petegreg Peter said above.
This tree requires full to partial sun and needs good drainage, moist but well-drained.
Hence I use a higher % of organic in the substrate.

Seeing you are in Norway I wonder though regarding its hardiness (which is zone 5-8) Perhaps you will need to overwinter in a sheltered place...
 

Ingvill

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Thank you My Nellie :)

I need to keep my trees alive indoors until I can put them outside in May next year I'm afraid:-(
They have been grown in greenhouses all their lives (I was told by the seller), and I assume they will die pretty fast if I put them outside now.
Temperatures at night are now around freezing point, and during the warmest hours of the day it peaks at 5-10 C (40-50 F).

So I'm just monitoring their condition on the windowsill (big south facing window), and reading up on how I can best help them survive until spring.
I have found some very useful information from Jack Winkle and Jerry Meislik, but it's not specifically aimed at Zelkovas/similar elms.
So any tips from are most welcome :)

In the future they will spend the winter in our basement, or possibly in the garage or on the porch with some insulation and extra sheltering.
Some winter days can get as cold as -25 C (-13 F), so the Zelkovas will definetly need extra sheltering from what I've found out so far.

On the upside; I never have to worry about strong summer sun scorching our trees here :p

Thank you, guys :)
 

my nellie

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Do you have a FB account?
I do not :)
On the old IBC days :( I have known a lady from Denmark, Mrs. Yvonne Graubeck (...not sure of surname spelling) who was growing ficus under lights in her cold country. She has been awarded for one of her trees!
She now joins FB and you might find her posting there if you are interested.
On IBC though, you might want to read this thread of her's [url=http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t4687-ficus-in-the-cold-north-denmark]Ficus in the Cold North[/URL]
There is a lot of information there regarding lighting and other set up.
 

petegreg

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Thank you My Nellie :)

I need to keep my trees alive indoors until I can put them outside in May next year I'm afraid:-(
They have been grown in greenhouses all their lives (I was told by the seller), and I assume they will die pretty fast if I put them outside now.
Temperatures at night are now around freezing point, and during the warmest hours of the day it peaks at 5-10 C (40-50 F).

So I'm just monitoring their condition on the windowsill (big south facing window), and reading up on how I can best help them survive until spring.
I have found some very useful information from Jack Winkle and Jerry Meislik, but it's not specifically aimed at Zelkovas/similar elms.
So any tips from are most welcome :)

In the future they will spend the winter in our basement, or possibly in the garage or on the porch with some insulation and extra sheltering.
Some winter days can get as cold as -25 C (-13 F), so the Zelkovas will definetly need extra sheltering from what I've found out so far.

On the upside; I never have to worry about strong summer sun scorching our trees here :p

Thank you, guys :)
For all subtropicals I use a frost free cold room (2-8 ℃) in winter. So far so good. Been keeping one CE on E-facing window sill in my kitchen for eight seasons (with cold wintering), SFSG.
 

Ingvill

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Peter:
Thank you for great tips!
May I ask; do you put them in that cold room after the trees have lost their leaves?
Mine have all their leaves, can I still put them in a cold room ?
(I have a basement where temperatures would be around 5-7 C or so. One room has quite good natural light, the other almost no light.)

My Nellie:
That article and forum discussion were really interesting to read, with great details.
Impressive results she has achieved indeed :)
I do have FB, so I will try to look her up. Thank you :)

Thank you for the welcome, Giga!
I wear steel-reinforced work boots, so my toes can get stepped on quite hard before I squeel ... :p
 

petegreg

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Peter:
Thank you for great tips!
May I ask; do you put them in that cold room after the trees have lost their leaves?
Mine have all their leaves, can I still put them in a cold room ?
(I have a basement where temperatures would be around 5-7 C or so. One room has quite good natural light, the other almost no light.)

My Nellie:
That article and forum discussion were really interesting to read, with great details.
Impressive results she has achieved indeed :)
I do have FB, so I will try to look her up. Thank you :)

Thank you for the welcome, Giga!
I wear steel-reinforced work boots, so my toes can get stepped on quite hard before I squeel ... :p
Well, I've got few elms on my balcony, they're left there till first light night frosts appear. Then they're moved to the cold room. That one kept indoors goes there at the same time with almost all leaves. Some of my elms drop all leaves some hold a few. Interesting that that one not prepared for change drops all leaves, it means it's dormant. When in dormancy, trees do not need light. They have plenty in my cold room, so when days start getting longer and temperature goes up they wake up slowly and naturally. And that's the time when some good light levels are beneficial.

Many people say CE are full hardy and withstand overwintering outside. But I haven't seen any growing here... And many people swear cold hardy potted trees should experience some light freezes in winter and then be kept in an environment right above a freeze point to protect roots. Many approaches, I beg not all will agree.
 

Ingvill

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This was very helpfull!
Thank you so much for taking the time to give good details, Peter :)
 

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