Species Profile and Care Guide:

The Yatsubusa Elm is a rare species of elm in the bonsai hobby but is widely sought after for its beautiful dark green serrated leaves and incredible corky bark. This species of elm is a dwarf species with a very short internodal distance. Nodes tend to have more buds than usual, which results in dense foliage growth. The short internodal distance allows for excellent ramification and structure. Yatsubusa makes exceptional bonsai and is a personal favorite. The tree seems to tick all the right boxes when it comes to bonsai.

Yatsubusas are slow-growing and take a long time to develop-Before selecting a tree. Therefore, pay special attention to the trunk shape and thickness of this dwarf tree. It prefers full sunlight and can tolerate both dry and wet conditions. However, standard bonsai watering practices apply. Do not allow your tree to become waterlogged and use a rich but well-draining soil for repotting. Root development is slow so expect to repot your tree every 3-4 years. Repotting can be done in late winter or early spring.

The small serrated leaves of Yatsubusa elms are gorgeous and ornamental. They become golden in autumn, showcasing the real beauty of this species. The leaves shed in winter, exposing the gorgeous, highly-textured cork bark and branch structure. Winter adds another season of showiness, making the Yatsubusa elm an excellent display tree all year round.

This dwarf tree is prune tolerant and readily back-buds, making branch selection and development a breeze. Wiring this species of elm is also rather easy, and many styles can be achieved, with the most common seeing broom style and pine style Yatsubusa elms.

Elm Ulmus Bark
Elm Ulmus leaves

Recommended soil
Any standard bonsai mix that drains well.

When the soil feels dry, as needed.

Potting season
Every two years when the tree is young. As needed every few years when the tree grows older.

Shaping and pruning season
Prune as needed. Trim larger branches during late autumn.


Survives in any level of light but benefits from sunlight exposure.


Use plenty during warmer seasons when the plant is growing. A balance of solid and liquid fertilizer works best.

Propagation methods

Cuttings work best. Seeds are viable, but require detailed care.

Pests and diseases

Scale and spider mites.