A Jade plant is quite similar to a money plant or a dollar tree but its specifications differentiate from such plants. Normally it is not very difficult to have a Jade plant as a Bonsai, unless you already have such a plant in a dwarfed form. There are two different species of jade plant – Crassulas and Portulacaria, both inhabitants of South Africa.
Bonsai Jade Plant, also known as elephant bush, acquires a height of 2 meters or more with thick trunk and branches. It grows well in favorable atmosphere where the temperature is between 41-45o Fahrenheit. The branch size is generally 6-8in while the leaves are 1-2in, but can be reduced to half inch with regular trimming.
Leaves of the Bonsai Jade Plant are rounded, growing in opposing pairs, green in colour with the occasional red touch due to favorable sunlight. These leaves turn brown upon maturity, which should be taken into consideration. In the proper environment, you can find tiny white and pink star shaped flowers on the plant, which further magnify its appearance.
Bonsai Jade Plant has a unique feature – it can hold water for 2-3 weeks, so it needs very little care on the part of the gardener. However, the life of a Bonsai Jade Plant is short – just about three years, after which it needs to be repotted with a mixture of organic and inorganic matter.
While once a month dosage of fertilizer is very important between spring and summer, sunlight too plays an extremely important role in the dynamic growth of this plant. You cannot expect to grow a good Bonsai Jade plant in the absence of sunlight.
A Bonsai Jade Plant requires timely care for strong growth and achievement of desired leaf size. When you trim it regularly, the gash resulting from trimming causes the plant to grow new branches promptly within a short period of just 1-2 weeks. Even detachment of individual leaves spurs the growth of a Bonsai Jade Plant.
Perhaps the best feature of a Bonsai Jade Plant is that it is extremely moldable – you can easily shape it into your desired form in a period of just about 3-4 weeks. With careful and proper use of the wiring procedure, you can quickly and efficiently shape your plant into the shape you desire. Wiring works best at the very initial stage of cultivation of your Bonsai Jade Plant as its branches tend to become hard with watering. So if applied early enough and then watered, wiring can easily give your plant a highly attractive shape and look.
Reproducing a Bonsai Jade Plant is also quite simple and quick; you can easily propagate these plants through their stems and leaves. You might be surprised to find fallen leaves taking hold on the soil and developing roots to start growing into an all new plant. This is one remarkable quality of this plant that makes it stand out from others.
The many marvelous qualities and the ease of maintenance of the Bonsai Jade Plant make it a preferred one for adorning your home or office space. It is not just attractive and simple, but also provides serenity and calmness to the soul.
Selecting and caring for the bonsai jade plant
Beginning Bonsai growers need a plant which is hardy and able to recover from the many mistakes novices tend to make. For this purpose the Bonsai Jade plant is an ideal choice, with its rapid growth rate and natural healing qualities it is drought tolerant and needs little sun exposure to thrive. So if you forget to water your new Bonsai, if you have chosen a Bonsai Jade plant chances are it will still be ok.
To begin with chose a small Bonsai Jade plant and as suitably sized container to match. Make sure the container is large enough as pot bound plants are a common cause of death amongst all Bonsai species. Chose a Bonsai Jade plant with a strong trunk and healthy, green and red foliage this will give you the best chance of success.
Your container should approximately match the following dimensions. Its depth should match the width of the trunk while the length of your new container would be approximately 2/3rds the height of your Bonsai Jade plant. The material of your pot is also important, plastic and ceramic pots retain moisture better then clay. Wood containers often rot and should only be considered if treated specifically to resist water damage. All pots need good drainage which is covered by a fine mesh to retain the soil.
Choose a rich soil, with sandy loam to help drainage. Bark should also be a component of the soil to aid with this also. Your Bonsai Jade plant will also require certain nutrients which can be found in a soil mix made specifically for Bonsai trees.
Make sure the mesh covers the drainage holes; line the container with your chosen soil mix. Place your Bonsai Jade plant in the desired position and fill around it. Push the soil down firmly to aid in holding your plant upright. Use tepid water to hydrate the plant, watch until the water begins to run through the drainage holes. A layer of stones or gravel on the soil surface will help in retaining moisture and adds to the exotic look.
Choose a location for your Bonsai Jade plant, a window sill or counter which receives at least 4 hours of morning sun. Try to avoid locations which receive direct heating or cooling from artificial sources such as an air conditioner as this will dry out the soil too rapidly.
Regularly use your finger to check the hydration level of your Bonsai Jade plant. Insert your finger 1 inch into the soil. If it feels dry water until a small amount drains from the base of the container. Over watering will cause root-rot to set in and can jeopardize your plant’s health. Keep an eye on the foliage, and sign of wilting is also an indication that the moisture level is too low.
Your Bonsai Jade plant will require monthly fertilizing during its growing months, during winter it does not require any care other than watering. Talk to your local garden nursery about specific fertilizers available. Use your fertilizer at half strength to avoid burning the roots.
More caring tips
Why people look at thrifty precautions, involved in raising a jade bonsai tree, and ignore it for the underlying difficulty? Understood, this is a slowly developing foliage which may require a lot of care just for it to attain a maximum height of 2 meters or something in that range. This tree based from South Africa is still a lovely option to grow in your home.
Let us discuss the points that go into its care. As a grower, one needs to take pains in training the jade bonsai tree that may not be outrightly declared as a tough to bring up foliage, just because it needs additional care. Of course, their stalks may even get withered off when forcefully touched, owing to their fragility, but the lovely sight that its leaves exhibit, makes up for the aforementioned defect. It goes without saying that you need to strike the right chord by excessively caring it, to make sure of the plant’s well being. Only a right pruning process may hold back the growth of its leaves to half an inch, which may extend up to a couple of inches.
Leaves of this jade bonsai tree are one of its kind and, undoubtedly, one of those aspects adding to its popularity. Many bonsai growers feel it is the leaves, which helps in identifying this plant even when it is surrounded by a number of other species of bonsai. Such a wonderful plant has a surprising element intertwined in its characteristics as well. This plant doesn’t take any longer than 20 years to get to its full shape, which is close to three feet. Only you should decide whether this span is actually very long or not.
Though this plant has a lot of special features to chat about, however, the quantity of water it might need is just similar to other ordinary bonsai plants. Therefore one must be doubly conscious while watering this jade bonsai tree so as not to water it more than the required level. As time passes by, a transition comes about in the edges of its leaves, which would be an excellent sight to revel. This happens only when the plant is exposed to enough light and such a change may even lead to blossom of a star shaped white flower.
While being potted in a ceramic pot, the jade bonsai tree doesn’t demand a grower to spend that extra time that he or she might have to spend, in any case, under normal conditions. The trunk which is notably thick may be yet another facet of this lovely plant which is attractively unique. However, for every one of the aforementioned unique features to come about, the plant must be taken more than good care during its tender age.
You should be patient enough to support its development if you dwell upon buying jade bonsai tree and nourishing it. Seeking assistance from those who already have experience in growing jade bonsai tree is a good thought too.
Watering, fertilizing and potting your jade bonsai
Jade bonsai is a native of South Africa. It is a glossy evergreen succulent that resembles a cactus, but without the spines. In the absence of bonsai techniques, jade can grow to a height of 2 meters. This article discusses ways of caring for this amazing bonsai species.
As with other succulent plants, temperature regulation is very crucial. You must grow your jade bonsai indoors. However, the warm temperatures of summer can be highly beneficial for this bonsai. It is therefore recommended that you place them outdoors during summer months. Your jade bonsai will record stunted growth if deprived of natural sunlight. To avoid this, you can place your bonsai close to a natural light source such as a windowsill. You can also place your bonsai under grow lights.
Jade bonsai captures a lot of water in its succulent leaves. For this reason, it should be watered lightly unlike other types of bonsai. This should be so to avoid rotting of roots and fungi attacks. Feel the soil by placing your finger an inch below the soil surface before watering. You should make sure the soil is dry between each watering. Otherwise, your jade bonsai will develop unhealthy root system. Watering from the top is recommended for this type of bonsai.
Your jade bonsai can greatly benefit from fertilizer. Well, strong light is as beneficial as fertilizer, but still it is wise to apply some fertilizer. Fertilizer has the best results when applied during the growing season that is between spring and fall. Fertilizer application should be done once per month to give your jade bonsai an added advantage. Commercially sourced liquid fertilizers are the best. They are well drained, neutral and slightly acidic.
Along with proper fertilizer application, you should regularly change the soil and the pot. If you want to keep your jade bonsai looking all charming and healthy for ages to come, change your pot to a larger pot every tow to three years. This gives your bonsai tree enough room to spread roots and anchor more firmly. For amazing results, use a mixture of compost and gritty soil that allows good drainage. It also has the capacity to retain the right amount of water.
Just like any another type of bonsai, jade bonsai requires pruning and sculpting to promote growth on the lower section of the trunk. You should use a specialized set of tools to achieve best results. By pinching off new growth, your bonsai will develop smaller leaves. You can change the position of your bonsai by wiring. It takes less than a month for your bonsai to assume the new position. With Jade, you need to be extra cautious when wiring. This is due to the fact that it has a very soft bark that easily bruise.
If you do all the above and your bonsai leaves keep falling off, make sure your bonsai is well potted; not too high as this can make it dry out fast. If you are doing everything right but things don’t seem to be up, it is always wise to cut losses and get yourself a new bonsai. Just don’t quit, it’s against the rules of bonsai.