Indoor small-leaved elm - capricious and majestic
Ancient giants of elms are plants that are difficult to imagine in miniature form. But thanks to the complex long-term formation and careful care, these trees are found today among indoor plants. Bonsai art creates elms from living elm real art. Growing them in living rooms is not easy, but with diligent care, elms will become the pride of any collector.
Small-leaved elm - indoor mini-version of an ancient Chinese legend
In nature, these impressive and beauty, and the size of the giants with one of its kind are admired. Even in garden form, elms are luxurious woody only for very large areas. Not surprisingly, elms that can be grown at home always seem like a small miracle, a truly exclusive plant. Bonsai art helps “tame” the ancient beauties, while preserving the key features of these trees - a beautiful silhouette and unusual foliage.
Distribution has received only one species - small-leaved elm (Ulmus parvifolia). The genus belongs to the Vyazov family of the same name. In room culture, small-leaved elm is also known as Chinese elm, elm, and birch bark. This is the endemic of Southeast Asia, most common in China.
Indoor elms seem to be ancient and very old trees in miniature. Perhaps it is difficult to find another plant that is so vividly showing the effect of aging as elm. It is the small-leaved elm that allows novice lovers to succeed, and bonsai masters to fully demonstrate their skills and create the most bizarre silhouettes and curvatures. In height, such small-leaved room elms are limited to 15-80 cm, which with "initial" sizes up to 25 m seems simply amazing miniature.
The main characteristic of elms, which made them indispensable plants for bonsai, is their uniquely dense branching and small foliage, which allow you to create mini-copies that are as close as possible to decorative plants. A gray, smooth, tan bark with red young twigs underlines the complex structure of the tree. With age, the bark not only crackes, but also peels off. Scars remain in place of strong pulling with wire, sometimes they are created specifically for greater naturalness.
The leaves of small-leaved elm are indeed very small: in a room culture they rarely grow more than 2 cm. A flawless ovoid or oval shape, a solid edge, a dark but not pale green color and bright shine emphasize the beauty of elm greenery. The leaves on the shoots do not sit tight, branches are perfectly visible under them, which allows you to fully appreciate the beauty of silhouettes and lines. Almost always, winter elms drop leaves, which significantly reduces the decorativeness of plants, but the resting period of elms lasts only until February, when new shoots begin to actively develop. Yes, and at room temperature, elm can preserve foliage until new shoots grow, then quickly and rapidly renewing itself (in fact, when a winter is warm, the plant behaves almost like evergreen).
The flowering period of elms in room culture is determined by its "habits" and temperature conditions. Elm usually blooms in late summer or fall. But if the wintering temperature does not meet the requirements, flowering can not wait, observing it at different times from traditional. Small-leaved elms bloom very beautifully. Miniature, graceful flowers, which I just want to see through a magnifying glass, seem precious in combination with small leaves. And when much wider fruits gradually ripen after flowering, the plant even reaches the peak of its decorative effect.
Home Elm Care
Small-leaved elms are not the most difficult types of bonsai. It is believed that this plant is reconciled well even with improper care, but such a statement is not entirely true. For elm, it is necessary to guarantee not too hot conditions, and steadily bright lighting, and constant access to fresh air. The plant does not like waterlogging. But it is not easy to choose a comfortable watering regime, and often the elm prepares unpleasant surprises, then dropping the leaves, then surprising with its lethargic appearance. Therefore, it is better to start this bonsai for gardeners with experience, for those who can assess problems and take timely measures to correct the conditions of its maintenance.
The hardest part about growing elms is the right choice of plants. Most bonsai obtained from small-leaved elm are street-grown plants that winter in the cool and decorate terraces and gardens. It is these elms, native to the Japanese mountains and the northern regions of China, that show off with bronze young and autumn leaves that fall at the end of the garden season. Only elm trees originating in southern Japan, southern China and Taiwan, which are more heat-loving, discard or partially discard leaves only in the cold winter, are not considered indoor, not showing off with a spectacular autumn color. By clarifying the origin, you eliminate the risk of buying a street bonsai that is less adapted to the rooms.
Lighting for small-leaved elm
The level of illumination directly affects the decorativeness of elms. And it needs to be kept stable throughout the year without exception. Elms are light-loving plants, but glossy leaves are better protected from direct sunlight. To maintain the usual regimen in winter, plants need to be moved to brighter places and windows or additionally illuminated. Elm does not like full artificial illumination, but additional illumination has a good effect on the condition of the plant while maintaining the leaves.
Small-leaved elms are perfectly adapted to more poor lighting only in nature, in the form of bonsai they are hypersensitive to insufficient lighting.
Small-leaved elms are well tolerated with temperature differences, which, in principle, is not typical for most of their competitors used to obtain bonsai. But such adaptability and resilience has its own downside. Elms do not really like heat and feel better in cool rooms even in summer. During the heat, the leaves of the plant become unpleasantly sticky, the plant seems to attract dust to itself, and may completely drop the leaves. Content below 5 degrees of heat room elm small-leaved in the form of a bonsai will not stand, but otherwise it will suit any temperature up to 22 degrees of heat. In winter, it is desirable to provide a temperature drop of several degrees, but the elm can come to terms with the usual temperatures.
It is believed that the dropping of leaves directly depends on the temperature of wintering, in warm rooms foliage may remain until the crown is updated in the spring, but in fact this factor is very conditional: the origin, the growing area of the original mother plants, and the features of temperature conditions also affect dropping or preserving the leaves. in the early stages of bonsai formation. When buying, this parameter is always better to clarify, as well as the minimum temperature that elm in the form of bonsai can withstand (elms from northern China are street and even bonsai withstand frosts down to -5, unlike indoor ones).
The most difficult thing in choosing the conditions for small-leaved elm is sensitivity to stagnant air. Elm is not only better to move to fresh air, to the balcony or even to the garden throughout the warm season (when the temperature is above 8-10 degrees at night), but also put it in a place where the plant will have the opportunity to enjoy frequent airing.
Watering and humidity
Elms need very careful watering. The plant does not tolerate waterlogging, overflow of water, stagnation of water in the pan, but at the same time likes a fairly high humidity of the substrate. During irrigation, water is poured in small portions, checking how wet the substrate is. Between these procedures for elms, you need to dry the soil almost half. In winter, watering is reduced, soil moisture should be low rather than medium, the soil should remain dry all the time, regardless of air temperature.
Indoor elms are undemanding to air humidity. Only if the plant is in heat, is it better to provide a strong increase in humidity.
Bonsai Elm Dressing
Unlike many of its competitors, popular in the form of bonsai, elm love fertile soils and are quite demanding on top dressing. The plant is fed not with special fertilizers for bonsai, but with conventional universal fertilizers for indoor plants, alternating them with organic fertilizing, if possible.
Top dressing is carried out throughout the year, even in winter. For elm, the classical frequency of these procedures is suitable - 1 time in 2-3 weeks. For the rest period, the frequency of top dressing is reduced to 1 time per month. Reducing or stopping top dressing in August or September allows you to get brighter, not yellow, but bronze colors of autumn leaves, but you can resort to this trick only with a future winter in cool.
In room culture, elm need not just pruning at will, but regular formation and containment. The plant withstands radical haircuts, especially if there were omissions in the regular procedures and the plant was too long or expanded, lost a beautiful silhouette. Elms are cut from spring to autumn, focusing on the growth rate of the plant itself, but such regulation is permissible only for young shoots. Old and thick twigs are pruned only in late autumn or during the winter. For the elm, each shoot is allowed to grow no more than 4 internodes, after which it is shortened to the first or second leaf.
The silhouette, the direction of growth, the curvature of the branches and the trunk are controlled by stretch marks and wire wrapping. On elms, wrapping and limiting is not traumatic, so it is at its discretion during the period of active growth. Wire or streamers can be used during the dormant period, from November to March.
Transplant and substrate
Elms, even at a very young age, are transplanted not every year, but every two years. Adult plants are transplanted as rarely as possible, waiting for signs of lack of free soil.
Small-leaved elm in the form of a bonsai can be transplanted only in the spring.
For this plant, as in the case of fertilizers, it is not necessary to look for a special substrate for bonsai. Elms are grown in a universal substrate - light, loose, nutritious and of high quality.
When transplanting, for any Chinese elm, roots must be pruned. Elm roots are very thick and tangled. They are cut off, restraining the size, growth and giving them a beautiful shape.
Diseases and pests of small-elm
Pests of small-leaved elms are considered atypical for indoor culture. The greatest danger to bonsai is represented by grinder beetles and graphiosis, which are almost impossible to control with indoor plants. Infections almost always occur prior to purchase. Much easier to deal with red root ticks, rust, caterpillars, which are struggling with standard insecticides and fungicides.
Propagation of small-leaved elm
Indoor elms are propagated only by cuttings. Regular pruning allows you to get material for rooting constantly. Elm cuttings are traditionally treated with growth stimulants, planted in a nutrient moistened substrate at an angle, and rooted in heat under a hood. Rooting is not a quick process, but young plants develop very actively. Formation begins after the elm forms a third pair of leaves. Cuttings are planted in individual containers with root size control immediately after rooting.