Hornbeam (Carpinus) Care Sheet
Tips and Tricks for Caring for Your Hornbeam Tree
Hornbeams are deciduous trees belonging to the birch family. They have stunning trunks, vivid green leaves, and beautiful autumn colors. Because they are slow-growing and tolerant, Hornbeams are perfect for beginners.
Hornbeams prefer sunny, semi-shaded places outdoors. They need a place with good aeration and protection from the scorching heat of the afternoon sun. While they are frost-hardy, roots that are deep in the pot will need protected from harsh winter weather. Hornbeams will grow more slowly when placed in part shade.
They do best in zones 3 to 9.
Hornbeams can grow in a wide range of climates because they are tolerant of vast temperature differences and seasonal conditions. Hornbeams require a dormant period. Provide your tree with plenty of moisture. They do best with a lot of humidity.
Hornbeams thrive with moderate watering. While they can tolerate underwatering at times, do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Also, do not overwater. When the soil gets dry, your Hornbeam needs water. Less water is required in colder months. During the summer, you may need to water twice daily.
Less water is required during colder months. During the summer, however, you may need to water twice daily.
We recommend our Deciduous Bonsai Soil Mix for your Hornbeam. For the first month after bud burst, feed weekly using a solid organic fertilizer. During the growing season, fertilize every four weeks with a solid fertilizer or weekly if using liquid. Do not feed for two months after repotting.
Hornbeams need repotted every two years in the spring before new buds open. Once your tree has matured, it can be repotted less often.
Cuttings are the best way to propagate Hornbeams. Make sure to take from mature wood. Hornbeams propagated from cuttings are capable of flowering within a year or two vs. seven years or more for seedlings. Air layering and seeds are also ways of propagating Hornbeams.
Hornbeams are tolerable of heavy pruning but they cannot take defoliation. In the spring, before new buds open, prune larger branches. Please note that larger branches take longer to heal. Remove large terminal buds. If pruning in fall or winter, though, make sure to keep buds and twigs or they will dry back. When shoots have matured, shorten to two leaves.
Wiring is best done from spring to autumn. Make sure to use caution and remove the wire before it scars the bark. Sometimes you may need to use protection when wiring to prevent scarring. Guy wires or strings are a good alternative, and the clip and grow method is best for finer branches.
Mealy bugs, powdery mildew, scale, and various fungi can infect the Hornbeam. Usually this can be fixed by adding more light and air and using a pesticide specific to the infection. Root rot and chlorosis can occur but is managed by proper watering. Canker can cause infected branches to dieback.
Deciduous Bonsai Soil Mix
KIKU™ Aluminum Training Wire
Precision Bonsai Pruning Needle Nose Scissors