I remember after getting gifted my first bonsai tree, frantically looking through the guide to find out how often should you water a Chinese Elm bonsai?
A Chinese Elm bonsai flourishes when the soil is damp, not wet. The best way to know when to water your Chinese Elm is to push your finger into the soil and feel around for damp, if there’s no moisture then chances are it’s time to water your bonsai. Another way to gage if you need to water your bonsai is to look at the foliage, if it’s looking dry or discoloured, you should water your Chinese Elm.
So, let’s look into how to keep your bonsai perfectly watered all year round…
How To Water Your Bonsai Tree
There are two ways I water my Chinese Elm, I use a small watering can for the soil and a small spray bottle to mist the foliage.
I recommend using any gardening spray bottle, a brand isn’t really necessary.
It’s not too complicated in terms of actually watering the Chinese Elm bonsai, working slowly round the soil with the watering can is all I can really suggest to ensure the soil gets an even amount. For misting the foliage, hold your spray bottle about 6-10 inches away from the plant and lightly cover, this is especially important in the summer months.
Watering Your Chinese Elm In Summer/Spring
Like most plants, in summer and spring your Chinese Elm will need more water to flourish, than in the colder months. I recommend checking your tree daily for soil moisture, as well as the general health of the foliage.
During the hot months I water my bonsai daily, every evening, as well as spraying the foliage with a light mist of water to keep them looking healthy. To some extent it’s down to your individual plant but as long as you’re checking if your Chinese Elm needs watering daily, it’ll be fine!
Watering Your Chinese Elm In Winter/Autumn
In winter and autumn your bonsai will need a lot less water, so you need to make sure you’re attentive to the tree instead of just carrying on with the same watering routine as in summer.
So, how often should you water a Chinese Elm in winter?
The answer is, whenever it needs watering. Push your finger into the soil to check if it’s really dry. Also check the foliage, if it is dropping or looks dead, it is most likely time to water your bonsai. I learnt that it’s really important to not flood your tree in the winter, so water in moderation.
A Quick Tip On Maintaining Moisture Levels
When I first started really taking my Chinese Elm tree seriously, I noticed that it would dry out pretty fast. This isn’t really a problem but as I am out of town most weekends during the summer, I needed to find a way to keep moisture in the soil.
The answer, moss! After much research online I found that if you collect some small pieces of healthy moss, let them dry out then sprinkle it on your soil when watering, you can keep moisture locked in the soil. I found some moss in my yard and it’s done wonders to the health of my Chinese Elm, as well as adding to the aesthetic of the soil.
I Over Watered My Bonsai, What Can I Do?
Luckily, when watering your Chinese Elm bare in mind that it’s a very resilient form of tree. There’s honestly not really too much you can do to accidentally kill it, hence why it’s the tree of choice for beginners.
If you’ve over watered the bonsai I would suggest just keeping an eye on it and holding off on watering it for a short period, if you keep a check on the soil moisture it really shouldn’t be a problem – just try to not make a habit of it!
Please note, I am in no ways an expert in the art of Bonsai, I am just a normal guy who was once wondering, ‘how often should I water my Chinese Elm?’ and since finding the answer, I thought I would share it with you! My first ever Bonsai was a Chinese Elm I received as a Christmas gift from my girlfriend and I’ve since managed to keep it alive for many years, so hopefully my advice can help you do the same.