Noobie with an indoor Chinese Elm

Whiskeypls

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Hi all, đź‘‹

I entered the Bonsai World in June and started with a Chinese Elm. I feel like I've succeeded in the first step, keeping it alive! I had a pest scare which was turning the leaves yellow, and black spots on leaves however treatment worked and its thriving with lots of daylight. It's completely indoors all year around in the UK.

I'm hoping for some direction on shape as its a little ugly right now. I've been pruning back every so often and have done some mediocre wiring to train some stray shoots.

Any help appreciated!
 

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sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

This is a good example of what people should be looking for of a "mallsai". Something with character!

I like it.

You have 2 appropriately proportioned segments of taper represented in green and yellow. The idea is to cut the trunk at the grey line, and use a resulting sprout in accordance with what is already present, a bit thinner, and a bit shorter than the previous segment.
Capture+_2021-11-18-11-37-46.png

Also then, in that you want your branches thicknesses to also diminish upon moving up the tree, I would allow the green branches to grow, hope for yellows, and keep that (later) apical branch cut back to allow the yellows to outgrow it to stay within good proportion.

Getting it into a wider shallower pot will help the base expand out too.

The only thing I would do right now, or next, soonest, would be cutting that branch back.

Then cut the trunk off midsummer so you get good budding for yellow branches.

Sorce
 

Whiskeypls

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Wow Sorce your advice is more than I expected thank you!

So we're saying cut the entire current apex off above the grey line? That's quite drastic but I can fully understand this will achieve balance and taper.

Would you suggest repotting right now seeing as it's indoor?
 

RKMcGinnis

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I don’t do indoor. But you have that under a grow light? I would imagine the tree will need a winter dormancy.
 

Whiskeypls

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I don’t do indoor. But you have that under a grow light? I would imagine the tree will need a winter dormancy.
No grow light there. It sits beside a frosted side window facing south west
 

RKMcGinnis

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RKMcGinnis

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I don’t know how well they do indoors. Mine are outdoor. But that link is just good for thought.
 

ShadyStump

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I hate your screen name.
I might have a problem.
Anyways....

Elms love sun, lots of full bright, direct sun.
I'm trying to grow stuff indoors all the time, so I'll never tell you not to try, but I don't think I'd try with an elm.
Add a hefty grow light to that window, and you may well just make it happen.

Also, adding your location and/or USDA growing zone to your profile will help cut back on confusion by letting us personalize advice to you're area and situation.
 

Tieball

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Welcome to Crazy!

This is a good example of what people should be looking for of a "mallsai". Something with character!

I like it.

You have 2 appropriately proportioned segments of taper represented in green and yellow. The idea is to cut the trunk at the grey line, and use a resulting sprout in accordance with what is already present, a bit thinner, and a bit shorter than the previous segment.
View attachment 408705

Also then, in that you want your branches thicknesses to also diminish upon moving up the tree, I would allow the green branches to grow, hope for yellows, and keep that (later) apical branch cut back to allow the yellows to outgrow it to stay within good proportion.

Getting it into a wider shallower pot will help the base expand out too.

The only thing I would do right now, or next, soonest, would be cutting that branch back.

Then cut the trunk off midsummer so you get good budding for yellow branches.

Sorce
The drawing…..looks like a quarterback end around. Although it could be a double pass in progress.
 

Whiskeypls

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I hate your screen name.
I might have a problem.
Anyways....

Elms love sun, lots of full bright, direct sun.
I'm trying to grow stuff indoors all the time, so I'll never tell you not to try, but I don't think I'd try with an elm.
Add a hefty grow light to that window, and you may well just make it happen.

Also, adding your location and/or USDA growing zone to your profile will help cut back on confusion by letting us personalize advice to you're area and situation.
Ah yes I will add location to profile. Well this Elm seems to be doing well. Budding like crazy and new growth shooting out non stop. I must add the house has alot of glazing, not just direct light from the window shown.

It seems a shame to remove the entire apex as the nursery price on height, but visually it will be more proportional and balanced. Does every agree with Sorce on this?
 

Tieball

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The drawing…..looks like a quarterback end around. Although it could be a double pass in progress.
Oops. I forgot that you’re in the UK. You might not have the football play slang in mind. It’s a good drawing by @sorce ……and it does resemble a U.S. football play diagram.
 

ShadyStump

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If you're looking to keep it going along the same line of styling, and just want to further perfect it, I believe @sorce has the right idea.
You have the option of heading in a completely new direction with it if you want, or even just letting it grow some and seeing how you feel about it, and what new options might crop up.
 

Mikecheck123

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Chinese elms can live indoors indefinitely. But they have a pretty hard ceiling.

Just keep doing what you're doing. I would trim it less often. Bushy growth helps out build strength.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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Would you suggest repotting right now seeing as it's indoor?

No. The fact that it's budding now may suggest some unknown "indoor" perils, which may have me put everything off till you sort what kinda winter is healthy for it.

Growth isn't always a sign of health.

Sorce
 

leatherback

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I would not work this tree until it is spring. Keeping this happy in summer and fall is the easy part..
In spring, seriously consider keeping it outside. Once you do you will know why people say outdoors is better.
 

Linn01

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I agree completely with leatherback. I kept some elms indoor in the past, but after a year the trees became unhealthy. It should go outside in spring if possible. You will notice the difference really soon.
 

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