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Water Elm
Planera aquatica

Family: Ulmaceae (ulm-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Planera (PLAN-er-uh) (Info)
Species: aquatica (a-KWA-tee-kuh) (Info)




over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage


Other details:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Stockton, Alabama

Gainesville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Benton, Kentucky

Quitman, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 25, 2005, kikisdad from Spring Hill, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

we are "blessed" with 3 water elms as ornamental plantings at our Southern property. originally ,as purhased, the property had 4 water elms but one was cut down due to its intrusion into the septic system! fast growing shade providers thse trees can become a nuisance


On Oct 10, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Water Elms are fairly uncommon here in West Ky, as we are at the Northern edge of their range.

Manly a tree of the damp bottomlands, it can occour in the upland areas also.

If seen in swampy areas, it can have an enlarged base to it's trunk. This is not a true Elm, but is usually documented along with this family.