Pruning a Chinese Elm Bonsai Tree

We have just received this question from Tom Currie about pruning a Chinese Elm bonsai…
Hello. I recently bought a Chinese Elm from you and I must say I was very pleased with what I got. It has adapted well to its new environment and is growing happily. It is growing so well in fact that I now need to give it a bit of a pruning but I’m not exactly sure how to do this. I want to make sure that I make the right snips in the right places. Could you please lend me your knowledge and guide me through this new and enjoyable process?

Bonsai Direct Reply:

Dear Tom,
Thank you for your e-mail. It is lovely to know that your bonsai Chinese Elm is thriving.

Your question is a really good one and we thank you for allowing us to use it on our website because I am sure other bonsai growers will have similar questions.

In answer to your question about pruning the Chinese Elm Bonsai:

The bonsai will have been styled and pruned prior to dispatch so you should notice that the new shoots are a slightly paler green colour.

The leaves grow in pairs either side of the small shoot.

You ideally want to leave one pair of new leaves on each shoot and prune off anything longer than this.

This stops the bonsai getting straggly and out of shape and maintains the shape of the bonsai but also allows it to grow slowly.

When pruning please use a very sharp pair of scissors or a pair of bonsai pruning scissors.

Sharp cuts heal quickly and prevent disease.

If the bonsai gets out of shape, spring and summer are good times to hard prune , the Chinese Elm is great at budding back.

Usually you will notice lots of new buds further back down the branches about 6 , 8 weeks after pruning.

The buds open and form the dense foliage pads that you are looking to maintain.

I hope this helps

Kind regards


Please keep in touch!

An eco-friendly bonsai tree from a small, independent UK business who are conscious about their sustainability and are helping to fight the fight for clean air.

If you are unsure about which bonsai tree is best for you, for your gift, or you have any other queries, please contact us and one of our friendly team will get back to you.

Make sure you sign up for our newsletter  (at the bottom of the page) for priority access to new products and exclusive offers. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest for behind the scenes, tutorials and lots of other care advice!