Please help with recovering Chinese Elm

HeroAKKD

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Hi everyone,

About 6 month ago, I have bought a 7 Year old Chinese Elm from a Bonsai. As it was from a nursery, its soil was very compact. Given that I am very inexperienced, whenever I was watering the bonsai, I was not watering it enough. So all the water that I have watered the bonsai with, was just running down the sides of the soil and no water was getting to the roots. As this continued, after approximately 2 months, the bonsai had lost all of its leaves and looked as if it was dead... Then, I still had no idea why this had happened.

About a month ago, I have met a person that is much more experienced with bonsai then me. He had told me that I am most likely under watering the bonsai and that no water is getting to the bonsai roots. He had then recommended for me to insert a wooden stick into the bonsai's soil and to regularly check if the stick still has some moisture. If not, then to water the soil very thoroughly to ensure that the roots get water. After approximately 1 week of doing this, new leaves started to grow on my Elm! I was very excited! This continued for about a month and the bonsai had more and more leaves.

However, very recently, I had picked up the bonsai and many leaves dropped at the same time... Since then, I have been keeping a close eye on it and had noticed that once again it is loosing more and more of its leaves. Some leaves before the fall off have a yellow pattern on them which can be seen in one of the photos.

Some additional information:
- I am keeping this bonsai indoors in London, my room temperature is about 18-19 degrees
- The bonsai is kept approximately 40cm from a big window (2m by 2m)
- I had not fertalised the bonsai for some time now as I was told that I should not fertalise weak bonsai as this might harm them

As for the photos, the first 2 show how the bonsai looks in general. The next one shows its healthy leaves. The next two photos show an unhealthy leaf. The last photo shows a branch at the very top of the tree that has recently lost all of its leaves.

Any advice on what is happening to the bonsai, what is the cause of it and what I should do is much appreciated! Wish everybody a great day!
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Zach Smith

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The answer is pretty much the same as for the privet you asked about. Chinese elms don't belong indoors. They'll muddle along for a while, pushing bouts of growth and making you think they're recovering, but it's just the tree in its death throes. If you can't get your tree sited outdoors soon, there's very little chance it'll return to vigor. As a beginner, you don't yet have the experience to maintain even tropicals indoors (the only ones that do reasonably well). Wish there was another answer for you, but there's not.
 

Shibui

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Chinese elm are actually deciduous trees. In warmer area they can act as evergreens and the leaves do not fall off until they get too old. In some places the leaves stay green on the tree until close to spring then they drop to make way for the new leaves.
It is possible that your Chinese elm is just going through a natural cycle dropping older leaves at the end of winter.
I also agree with Zach. It is possible to keep Chinese elms indoors but only with extremely good care and conditions. The vast majority of Chinese elms kept as indoor bonsai eventually die - some quickly, others more slowly like yours.

The new shoots show that it is trying to survive. To keep it alive you will need to vastly improve care and conditions but I can't help with indoor care. All my trees live outside where they are supposed to be all year round.
 

HeroAKKD

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I will put my privet outside as recommended on the other thread.

As for the Elm, is there any advice anyone could give about how I could improve the care and conditions for it indoors? I would really like to keep the Elm indoors as outside I will see my bonsai very rarely and bonsai bring me a lot of pleasure.
 

StoneCloud

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Can you put it outside that window this way you can still see the tree?

Maybe add a ledge and secure the tree to the ledge.

But as Everyone will tell you it's dying inside. I'm sorry it's just the way it is.

But trust me we all love trees. Shit if I could I would turn my house into a green house :p:p:p
 

rockm

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I will put my privet outside as recommended on the other thread.

As for the Elm, is there any advice anyone could give about how I could improve the care and conditions for it indoors? I would really like to keep the Elm indoors as outside I will see my bonsai very rarely and bonsai bring me a lot of pleasure.
Same advice as per the privet...NOT an "indoor" plant. you may want to keep them indoors to admire them, but they will not stand up to your wishes. They can't. My bonsai also bring me pleasure, but I understand they cannot and will not tolerate my needs. I have to adapt to theirs'...
 

sorce

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is there any advice anyone could give about how I could improve the care and conditions for it indoors?

Better light.

What kind of heat do you have?
It's worth considering.

There is a big difference in water retention between radiated heat and forced air.

It shouldn't be hard to get it to do OK inside, the problem is mostly it was in a bad condition in the first place.

A healthy plant is hard to keep indoors.
An unhealthy plant dies indoors.

Sorce
 

HeroAKKD

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Better light.

What kind of heat do you have?
It's worth considering.

There is a big difference in water retention between radiated heat and forced air.

It shouldn't be hard to get it to do OK inside, the problem is mostly it was in a bad condition in the first place.

A healthy plant is hard to keep indoors.
An unhealthy plant dies indoors.

Sorce

Sorry for the late reply but I was away and did not have internet access. I have underfloor heating.
 

sorce

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. I have underfloor heating.

I'm coming over for a nap!

That'll make a difference. As, you can set your pot on the ground with light above, and be better off than most.

Sorce
 

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