Chinese Elm Varieties | Bonsai Guide

Chinese elm, aka lacebark elm, is native to Southeast Asian regions. Due to their hardiness, Chinese elms are suitable for tough landscapes. It’s also resistant to the Dutch elm disease making it a popular choice for raising cultivars. In this article, we’ll discuss some of its numerous varieties.

Chinese Elm Varieties

Allee Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Allee’)

Allee elms are tall and have an upright vase shape. Their foliage is medium-dark green and glossy, turning yellow-orange to red during fall. It’s highly tolerant to Phloem Necrosis, Elm Leaf Beetle, and the Dutch elm disease. Its grandiosity will remind you of American elm. It has an exfoliating bark laced with orange, gray, and tan hues. It was first discovered at the University of Georgia, Athens campus by Dr. Dirr and later cloned.

Athena Classic Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Emer I’)

Athena elm is a broad and rounded Chinese elm tree. Its dark green and glossy foliage turns light burgundy in autumn. It will give you a great visual display all year round as its bark is a beautiful mosaic of gray-green, orange, and tan. When fully developed, it can reach a height of 6 m. It was originally cloned from a tree on the University of Georgia, Athens campus and is now widely available in North America. According to the Northern Arizona University trials, it’s not suitable for hot and arid climates. It’s also resistant to the Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis.

Bosque Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Bosque’)

The Bosque Chinese elm tree has an upright pyramidal to oval shape with a narrow crown. It’s ideal for planting on streets and parking lots and can grow up to 40-50 feet tall. It has a multi-colored exfoliating bark, and you can see its glossy dark green foliage turning yellow to orange in fall. It was first discovered in the Moon Tree Farm in Georgia in 1993. Bosque Elms are also tolerant to the Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis.

Drake Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Drake’)

Drake Elm is a fast-growing rounded tree with a max height of 45 feet. Due to its wide canopy, you’ll find it to be an ideal shade tree suitable for many landscapes. It has a multi-colored bark and dark green foliage that turns yellow during autumn. It’s susceptible to the Dutch elm disease, Texas root rot, Armillaria, Aphids, Beetle Borers, and Caterpillars.  

Dynasty Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Dynasty’)

Dynasty elms are fast-growing and broadly rounded deciduous trees with green leaves. You can see its foliage turning into a vibrant orange-yellow display in fall. It reaches a height of around 50 feet. They’re tolerant to the Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis and susceptible to twig blight, beetle leaves, and borer. This cultivar was first grown in the U.S. National Arboretum. It’s a highly pest-resistant variety and resistant to diseases like the Dutch elm and phloem necrosis.

Chinese Elm Varieties

Emerald Prairie Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Emerald Prairie’)

The Emerald Prairie Chinese elm cultivar was first raised by Kansas State University. Primarily found in North American regions, this cold and drought-tolerant tree can attain a height of about 13 m. It’s hard not to admire its great foliar quality with dark green and glossy leaves that turn yellow in fall. It’s resistant to insects like the Elm leaf beetle and tolerant to the Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis.  

Everclear Elm (Ulmus parvifolia BSNUPF)

Everclear Chinese elm is one of the most drought-resistant trees, thrives in heat, and grows rapidly in a uniform manner reaching a height of about 10 meters. It has a columnar narrow vase-like shape and is suitable as a city street tree. This cultivar was raised by John Barbour of Athena Trees, Georgia. You would notice that it has larger and darker leaves, transforming into yellow to purple in fall. It’s highly resistant to the Dutch elm disease, Japanese beetle, and elm leaf beetle.

Emerald Flair Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘JFS-Barrett’)

Emerald Flair elm is a vase-shaped tree with arched branches. You can’t help but notice its beautiful summer foliage with lush green leaves and bright red to orange fall color. It’s tolerant of the Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis.

Sempervirens (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Sempervirens’)

Also called Weeping Chinese Elm, Sempervirens is ideal for various landscapes. This deciduous tree grows rapidly up to 40 to 80 feet and produces a beautiful round canopy of shiny dark green foliage. In colder regions, you’ll be able to see its leaves transforming into vibrant shades of red, yellow, and purple during fall. It’s ideal for warm coastal regions like Southern California and Florida. 

True Green Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘True Green’)

True Green Chinese elm is a deciduous evergreen tree with a rounded shape. You can see them attaining a height of up to 50 feet and a canopy width of 30-40 feet. Its ovate deep green leaves transform into lovely fall colors in colder regions. It’s an excellent shade tree and great for climbing or installing tire swings. This variety is more suitable for the sun-drenched Southwestern climate.

Chinese Elm Varieties

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Ekta is currently living in Vancouver Island, Canada, famous for its natural beauty and gardens. Originally from India, she has also studied and worked in Scotland and England. She admires flowers and floral arrangements and loves to travel and spend time with nature.

She’s currently exploring the world of bonsais and is looking forward to growing a red maple and a rose bonsai. In her opinion, empathy is an important trait in understanding our surroundings and making the world a better place; and thus, it’s essential to keep an open mind to things and have a learner’s perspective.

She also likes spending time with dogs and has an inclination for creativity. Writing, to her, is a good mental exercise and a great way to inspire new ideas in the minds of readers.




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