How To Take Care Of The Zelkova Bonsai

Published: 22nd February 2011
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The Zelkova bonsai is a popular species, used by most cultivators, as it is a tough plant that is easy to grow and it has great resistance to diseases and other infestations. This bonsai plant is available in two varieties. One is the Chinese Zelkova, which has either a brown or black bark. The other popular variety is the Japanese Zelkova, which is slightly larger than the Chinese Zelkova. "Hokdachi" is the Japanese word for this type of broom style Zelkova that is the characteristic shape of this bonsai plant.

The Zelkova bonsai grows best, when it is exposed to full or partial sunlight, during the day. It requires plenty of sunlight to grow, so placement is important. Since too much sunlight can dry out the leaves, it should be kept in partial shade during summer. Marsh-reed screens can be used to shield the plant from receiving direct sunlight.

The plant sprouts out shoots in spring and these can be seen in the branches, as well as the trunk of the plant. To retain the symmetry and look of the plant, it is necessary to remove these shoots. These sprouts can be rubbed off gently, or cut, to prevent it from looking ungainly.

Sticks, strings and bonsai wires are strategically used to make the bonsai plant resemble a natural Zelkova bonsai tree. This helps the plant to grow in the direction that it is trained, so that it resembles a miniature Zelkova tree. Extreme caution is required, when handling the delicate plants with wires, to prevent damage.

Sandy loam is the best soil that can be used to grow Zelkova bonsai and this can be procured from the mountains or from cultivated land. First, the soil is sieved and well dried. The bonsai is then planted in the dry sand that is in the pot. The soil is put into the pot and then gently shaken to ensure that it settles around the plant firmly. Never try to press the soil into the pot. Use a watering can to water the plant.

When the tree is young, you will sometimes see the roots shoot up through the soil surface. Cover these lightly with soil to allow them to thicken. This will ensure that the roots develop to the required thickness. Once the Zelkova bonsai tree gets older, the roots that are exposed does not have to be covered, as they provide an ornamental effect.

A plant that is grown in a shallow container, needs to be watered more often, during summer. This is because the water dries out rapidly, so it is safer to water it twice a day in summer and once a day, when the sun is not so strong. In winter, water the plant on alternate days only. Ideally, it is advisable to use a deeper pot for the Zelkova bonsai. Make sure the soil is fertile and well-drained. Re-potting in the early years regularly in spring is ideal. After that you will have to repot once every two years. Use natural fertilizers from spring to fall to ensure proper growth. This can be done by using a half-dose of fertilizer for a Zelkova bonsai every week or a full dose once in two weeks.

Interested in learning more about the art of growing bonsai trees? Then we invite you to visit Paul E. Smith's website where you'll find tons of great information on how to take care and grow the most amazing bonsai plants and subscribe to his FREE 7 parts Online Mini-Course "Bonsai Masters Secrets" delivered straight to you inbox get learn all the basics you need to get started.

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