Dwarf Jade Bonsai
Dwarf Jade Bonsai, known as Portulacaria afar (Elephant Bush) is a plant that is generally found in South Africa.
Jade usually grows to a height of around 12 feet in nature, but when carefully pruned and trained it makes an excellent bonsai material.
Jade has a very beautiful reddish brown trunk and branches with small thick leaves. The leaves are generally 2 cm thick; these features of the Dwarf Jade make it an ideal plant for bonsai training.
Dwarf Jade is a very hardy plant and can withstand relatively long periods of drought, they are also adaptive to different bonsai styles, hence the dwarf jade is a good choice both for beginners as well expert bonsai enthusiasts.
The leaves of dwarf jade are egg shaped and fleshy. They are also naturally small, hence reduce the pruning efforts. On the branch they generally grow perpendicular to each other. If the leaves turn yellowish in color or become pulpier, it indicates that the plant is not getting proper care.
Another interesting aspect of jade bonsai is that it has blooms of pink flowers during the spring season, albeit the flowers are very inconspicuous. This adds to the aesthetics of the plant when grown as a bonsai.
Dwarf Jade Bonsai Care
It is relatively easier to propagate this for bonsai by cutting from existing plants. The best time to carry out propagation is during the months of April and May.
Jade is relatively less hungry for water compared to other succulent plants. You may allow the soil to get dry before re watering.
Jade requires full sunlight to grow properly. Keep it at a place which gets direct sunlight for a good part of the day.
Proper pruning ensures that your Jade stays in shape. Being a succulent plant the stems tend to stoop with their own weight which makes them ideal for the cascade and semi-cascade style of bonsai.
It is of paramount importance to keep the jade bonsai in shape by constant pinching and trimming. You should consider drying out the plant before carrying out pruning and then water it again to help it grow back the cut parts.
Jade bonsai grows well when grown in a well drained soil mix. Use soil mix having 60% sand and 40% loam. You may also add some small stones to increase water drainage.
Jades are great for starters in the bonsai hobby. Hope you have fun with your dwarf jade bonsai.
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