Facts About the Chinese Elm Tree

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.