Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) is a flowering plant species from the hemp family of Cannabaceae. This species has a scientific classification of Kingdom Plantae, Family Cannabaceae, Genus Celtis. It is commonly found in the regions of East Asia, such as Jiangsu, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Henan, Zhejiang, etc. This species is also found in the regions of Korea, Japan and Tiwan. Interestingly, the tree of this species is used for medicinal purposes, such as to treat lung abscess and menstruation. The trees are used in ornamental garden design in Asia. They are also sometimes found in North America as a non-invasive species, and in parts of Eastern Australia.

These trees are deciduous in nature and have a grayish colored bark. They provide both fruits and flowers through the year. Flowering season is generally between March and April, and Fruiting season is between the months of September and October.

Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees are great for bonsai culture, and are cultivated across many parts of Asia. The Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai tree grows in a twig like structure, where the twigs are very thin. The bonsai also gives fruits in the summer seasons and flowers in spring. The fruits of this bonsai tree are edible, and bright orange in color. The leaves are oval shaped. This species of bonsai thrives when kept outdoors, but they will also grow indoors, with proper care and maintenance.

Bonsai trees are popular among gardeners, so this field guide will be especially helpful if you want to grow and maintain the Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai tree.

How long does it take to grow Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai?

The Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai tree is a fast-growing tree. After propagation, they usually begin to grow rapidly within the same year. In fact, these trees need to be repotted once every year when they are young to ensure they are receiving adequate care and space to thrive.

Position and lighting

Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees love sunlight! Try to place these bonsai trees in natural sunlight where possible. But make sure they do not dry out on very hot days. If they are placed in direct sun light on hot days, ensure to water the tree regularly to avoid this issue. They can also be misted in the evenings during peak summer seasons. During the winter seasons the trees should be protected from frost. During these colder seasons, they can also be kept in well ventilated and well-lit greenhouses or conservatories to enable a healthy environment for growth.

Temperature requirements

This species of bonsai trees enjoy sunlight, and they are quite hardy. Because of this keeping them outdoors generally is sufficient for their growth. During the winter seasons when there is not much sunlight, place them under artificial light such as inside a conservatory or green house. They should also be frost protected if the temperatures are subzero.


Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees require good draining soil, as they have higher watering requirements. This will help avoid root rotting. Pumice is a better soil than Akadama for these trees but Akadama can also be used. The soil mixed with an organic grit would be the ideal combination for growth. Because this is a fairly hardy bonsai, it will grow without issues in either acidic or basic soil types. However, do not use organic soils on these bonsai trees.

Watering needs

The Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai tree species like a lot of sunlight. Because of this it is good to water them frequently. During their growing season in particular, it is important to water them daily. But the roots of these bonsai trees do not like water stagnation so ensure they are planted in well draining soil. During the summer seasons, the foliage of these trees can also be misted during the evenings to keep them cool. During the winter seasons a moderate amount of water should suffice.


These bonsai trees should be given nutrition for growth on a weekly basis, after the buds open for 4 to 5 weeks. Post that, they can be given nutrition every two weeks until the late summer seasons. Organic fertilizers are a good option for nutritional requirements for these bonsai trees. They should be provided with low nitrogen fertilizers during the growing season and kept completely nitrogen free from late summer until leaf fall. It helps to not give nitrogen during this period as it helps the tree prepare by storing starch for the following spring season.


The most common styles for Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees are either formal or upright styles. But these trees are adaptable to other styles too, such as half cascade, forest, or broom style. Because they have flexible wood, gardeners can experiment with different styles with this bonsai species. In the months of April to June, and in September, you can use aluminum wire to wire this bonsai tree. But you should be cautious of wiring to ensure it does not hurt the tree bark. But avoid wiring during the winter seasons as the wood tends to be brittle at that time.

How to Plant and Grow Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai?

The secret to planting and growing Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees is regular maintenance. They respond well to propagation and grow very fast. These trees need lots of sunlight and water. They also need soil that adapts well with their watering requirements. While these bonsai trees give both fruits and flowers in different times of the year, it is very important to make sure they have a dormant period too. This is because this species of bonsai tends to get exhausted if it doesn’t get a rest period.


Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees propagate easily from seeds. The seeds of this bonsai tree species should be stored in a cold location for a period of three months, and then sowed in well draining soil afterwards. They also grow without any problems from cuttings. Cuttings to grow Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees can be taken from twigs during the month of June.

Pruning and wiring

Pruning of Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees can be done during the growing season, where you can pinch the new buds to slow down the growth. In the month of June, it is ideal to collect cuttings so defoliation of twigs and cutting of tips can be completed then. During the dormant period when the tree is resting, other large branches can be cut off. Always make sure to leave a stump while cutting, and do not cut them too short.

Wiring is done usually in the summer months when the bark is strong and receptive to wiring. During the months of April, May, June, and September, wiring can be done while being careful not to injure the bark of the tree. Avoid wiring in the winter months as the bark is more fragile at that time.


Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees grow at a fast pace so frequent repotting is a necessity with this species. For younger plants, repotting is needed on an annual basis. This can be done during the months of March to April. But for a more mature bonsai tree, repotting can be done once every two or three years. While repotting ensure to use soil that works well with the tree. Pumice or Akadama soils are good, but do not use organic soils. They grow well with either acidic or basic soils.

How to Care for Your Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai?

Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees are flexible and hardy so care and maintenance of these trees is relatively simple. Some key things to remember while caring for this variety of bonsai trees is to pick good draining soil, and provide rich nutrition depending on the growth and dormancy periods.

These bonsai trees love sunlight and thrive outdoors, but be careful of over-heating or drying out this tree. Water regularly but they don’t like water stagnation at the roots so good draining soil helps overcome this challenge. A very important fact about Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai trees is they need a dormant period for rest during the year, otherwise they tend to get exhausted. Regular pruning, wiring, and fertilizing goes a long way to the care and upkeep of this bonsai tree.

They are also susceptible to a few pests and diseases which we will discuss next. But always stay vigilant for signs of either while caring for the Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai tree.

Pests and diseases

One common mistake most gardeners make while caring for the Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai tree is to overwater them. Overwatering especially when the tree is not planted in draining soil can cause rotting of roots. This is a serious concern so make sure to get appropriate soil while planting this tree, and water with care.

Another issue that can affect the health of these bonsais is red spiders. If there is insufficient air circulation or overly dry atmosphere, red spiders tend to attack these trees.

Caterpillars are also fond of the leaves of the Celtis sinensis (Chinese Hackberry) Bonsai tree, so make sure you keep an eye out for any caterpillar infestations.