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The Green Vase Zelkova – 5 Caring tips & Propagation Method

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The Green Vase Zelkova (AKA The Japanese Zelkova, or Zelkova Serrata) is a relatively medium-sized tree that may reach heights approaching 20 metres in height. With erect trunks, it develops a wide-spreading habit with a curved crown, making it the ideal showpiece tree for the landscape.

As a member of the Elm family as well as a native of Japan9, Taiwan, and eastern China, it is often touted as a Dutch elm disease alternative because of its excellent resistance to the illness.

Younger Zelkova plants are relatively quick to grow and will tolerate virtually all soils, although it performs best in a wet, well-drained environment. Because of its adaptability to urban environments, it is an excellent option for street planting.

Zelkova is highly regarded in Japan for its ability to produce commercial lumber. In addition, it serves as a symbol for numerous Japanese cities. According to research conducted in Korea, Zelkova trees account for the majority of plants around 500 years old, with ten of them being designated as natural relics.

Green Vase Zelkova
Green Vase Zelkova – via Wikimedia

The Main Characteristics of a Green Vase Zelkova

Foliage | Flowering

Insignificant blooms develop in spring, followed by little flightless drupes that mature in October. The notched oblong-ovate foliage is soft green in spring and early summer, changing orange-ish-red in fall. The sleek dark grey bark matures to display gorgeous orange spots.

Size | Dimensions

At maturity, your plant will reach about 10 to 12 meters in height. This, however, is not a fixed rule. The Green Vase Zelkova plant has been known to even approach heights up to thirty or forty meters.

The plant’s elongated light green leaves grow up to a length of 14 centimetres when the plant approaches maturity. This, too, will vary from plant to plant.

How to Care for a Green Vase Zelkova – 5 caring tips

Now, let’s discuss the most crucial caring tips you need to be mindful of if you decide to get it for your indoor garden.

Watering Needs

The Green Vase Zelkova plants require a lot of water to grow properly. This is true for both plants that are young and in the process of establishing themselves and plants that have matured and become well-established. Of course, as you might expect, matured plants require more water for optimal growth than the younger Zelkova plants.

To ensure that your plant receives ample water, here are a few tips you should follow:

  • First, draw a ring of soil around your plant. This will act as a water reservoir – it will help by ensuring your water doesn’t run off away from your Green Vase Zelkova.
  • Another important point is to adopt the practice of watering your plant slowly but deeply – if you water your plant with too much pressure, you’ll blast away its surrounding soil.
  • While it is recommended to water your plant every 3-4 days, you shouldn’t follow this rule blindly. Instead, it would be best if you adopted the practice of listening to the specific growing needs your plant is trying to communicate to you.
  • For example, if you notice that your plant’s leaves are wilting, take this as your sign to water it more frequently.

Planting your Green Vase Zelkova

A prerequisite to properly being able to take care of your plant is learning how to plant it in the first place properly. Here are the steps you need to follow to plant your Green Vase Zelkova correctly:

  • Start by digging out a hole that is about half a foot in width and depth.
  • Place your young plant into the hole such that the upper surface of your plant’s root ball is about an inch above the surrounding soil line.
  • Next, cover up the remainder of the gap by moving the surrounding soil into the gap between your plant’s root ball and the surrounding soil.
  • Pluck out any dead/ weakened branches or leaves to keep your plant healthy.
  • An optional step here would be to give your plant some rooting hormone to stimulate growth.
  • Keep your plant under its required optimal conditions, and your planting exercise will be a success. 

Lighting Needs

This plant requires exposure to the full sun for about 6 to 7 hours every day. This isn’t necessary, though; your plant will also do well when it is kept under the partial shade where it receives bright, indirect sunlight.

How to fertilize your Green Vase Zelkova

Although this plant does not depend on fertilizer for its proper growth, using a bit of fertilizer from time to time will do no harm. In fact, if you fertilize your plant properly, you can bring its growth rate to optimal levels.

To do this, fertilize your plant before its growing cycle starts (right before the spring season starts). Choose a liquid fertilizer with a decent nitrogen composition for best results.

Alternatively, you can also use granular fertilizers for this plant as well. In this case, though, you should water your plant thoroughly after you’ve fertilized your plant.

Pruning your Green Vase Zelkova

The Green Vase Zelkova grows at a relatively average pace. This means that you will, from time to time, notice branches and leaves protruding from your plant and ruining its shape. If you want to keep your plant tamed down to a certain shape, you should prune these branches and leaves out.

In addition to pruning away outgrown leaves and branches, you should also make it a point to remove any weak, dead or pest carrying branches or leaves.

Doing this will be important to keep your plant healthy. Dead organs can hinder your Green Vase Zelkova’s growth. Prevent this from happening by pruning your plant every couple of months.

Propagating a Green Vase Zelkova – A step-by-step Guide

Here are the steps you need to follow to conduct the germination of your Green Vase Zelkova plant:

  • The Green Vase Zelkova plant’s leaves ripen during Autumn. These seeds are about a quarter of an inch wide and are shaped like a kidney bean.
  • Start this process by soaking your seeds in lukewarm water for a day or two.
  • After this, keep your seeds stored inside a refrigerator for 1.5 months.
  • Once this waiting time has passed, take your seeds out and bury them (not very deep) into sterile garden soil that is optimized to the plant’s needs.
  • The surrounding temperature of your pot should be about 67 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit
  • After about two months, your seeds will germinate.
  • Continue the caring process from that point on until your plant is able to establish itself fully.


The Green Vase Zelkova is a tall plant typically used for shade in home gardens. This easy-going plant does not have many demands when it comes to its proper care. Water your plant thoroughly, prune every few months and keep it under the full sun for at least 7 hours a day.

To propagate this plant, use the seed germination method we’ve outlined above.