Bonsai

Zelkova and ulmus

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Question: elms and zelkove

I would like to know if the zelcova and ulmus bonsai is the same plant. Thank you


Zelkova and ulmus: Answer: elms and zelkove

Dear Carla,

the trees of the genus ulmus and those of the genus zelkova belong to two different genera, in fact, however, these are two genera belonging both to the Ulmacee family, they are therefore closely related, and this is noted both in appearance and in cultivation needs.

Both genres are used to prepare bonsai, and therefore in general it happens to find ulmus and zelkove called with the common term elm, although zelkove are often called Japanese elms.

The zelkove are trees, widespread in Asia and southern Europe; there are less than ten species, both deciduous and evergreen, that is, they lose their leaves only in case of inclement weather; they have fairly minute foliage, and are very suitable for growing as a bonsai.

Elms are instead deciduous trees, widespread in Europe and Asia, commonly cultivated throughout Europe as trees in parks and as road trees.

The confusion between elms and zelkove also derives from the fact that bonsaists tend to cultivate species with particularly minute leaves, such as ulmus parvifolia, and zelkova serrata (or zelkova nire), which have many physical similarities between them.

The elms are outdoor trees, and even if cultivated as bonsai they must be kept outdoors, in the garden; having very small pots, which can be completely frozen by the cold, during the winter months it is advisable to place the pots in an area sheltered from frost, and sunny; or cover the pot with non-woven fabric, in order to preserve the soil from the most intense and persistent frosts; the zelkove, especially zelkova nire (the most widespread species in Italy as bonsai), withstand drought very well and tend to maintain the foliage if grown at mild temperatures; for this reason these ulmaceae are often grown as apartment bonsai.

Growing them at home it is good to keep the humidity high, often vaporizing the crown; while the watering will be reduced during the cold months, even if the weather is hot; this is because the few hours of daily sunlight (that is, the very short days) push the saplings to go into semi-vegetative rest, even if the climate is warm and mild, with temperatures close to 20 ° C.

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