Ulmus parvifolia 'Frosty'

Frosty Chinese elm

CODE: 0A2-0001
ZONE: 5a
PRICE: $10.00
POT SIZE: 4.5"sq x 3.5", 475 ml

I've had a difficult time establishing the actual size of this remarkable elm. Krussmann lists it as under a meter in height in his 'Manual of Cultivated Broadleaved Trees & Shrubs', whereas Bean calls it a 'dwarf, bushy shrub' in 'Trees & Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles'. Yet the 'American Horticulture Encyclopedia of Garden Plants' says that it reaches heights of 8'.

I tracked down the original grower and finally have confirmation -- after 10 years the parent plant has reached 13-15 feet and grows more like a tree than a shrub. It is expected to reach 15-20' at maturity.

Size issues aside, this extraordinary elm is consistent with all expectations in terms of other features. The lustrous dark green leaves are trimmed with silvery margins, with the variegation slowly receding as the season progresses until nothing more than the teeth along the edges are white. And like the straight species, the bark becomes characteristically mottled and attractive with age.

The small size, fine texture, and multiple seasons of interest make this a perfect specimen tree for many sites. It grows well in sun to light shade, tolerates a wide range of soil types, and is drought tolerant when established. Its adaptability to pruning and small leaf size also make it a perfect candidate for bonsai.

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Gary J. Kling