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Facts About the Chinese Elm Tree

By Michelle Wishhart ; Updated July 21, 2017

The Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) is a deciduous tree commonly cultivated as a shade and avenue tree. A native of Korea, Japan and China, the tree is also grown as a bonsai.


Chinese elm grows to be between 40 to 50 feet tall, producing deciduous leaves and a mottled orange and gray bark that flakes off in sheets. Bonsai cultivars such as Hokkaido grow to be about a foot tall.


Chinese elm is a suitable landscape plant for USDA zones 5 to 9, where it will grow in full sun or partial shade. The tree is tolerant of a wide range of conditions, and will grow in poor, salty soils as well as fertile, rich soils.


Chinese elm is largely pest- and disease-free, although it may struggle with borers and chewing insects. Chinese elm is a prolific reseeder, and may become invasive in warm climates.


About the Author


Michelle Wishhart is a writer based in Portland, Ore. She has been writing professionally since 2005, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for City on a Hill Press, an alternative weekly newspaper in Santa Cruz, Calif. An avid gardener, Wishhart worked as a Wholesale Nursery Grower at Encinal Nursery for two years. Wishhart holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts and English literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.