Cactus and Succulents forum→Has anyone made a Jade tree bonsai?

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Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
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bluegrassmom
Jun 28, 2021 2:31 AM CST
When I was a child my teacher had a huge Jade plant that I thought was the coolest thing! Anyone growing one in a bonsai pot? What medium did you use and how large is your pot. Thanks
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jun 28, 2021 4:35 PM CST

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I am also curious to see pictures if anyone has any.

I have grown a few jades here and there over the years, and tested the limits of how long they can tolerate being in a container that's too small to allow any real growth (mainly out of laziness). Smiling One thing you kind of have to consider before you get too far along is what you want to use for the starting material. Most of the larger, especially the stouter bonsai plants that you might see (the really impressive ones) were started as cuttings from a plant that was growing in a much bigger container, or the ground. Once a bonsai jade has been staged, it will put out new leaves but very little new stem. Starting from a small cutting or a plant in a tiny pot will change the outcome dramatically, and make it a lot harder to arrive at the sort of stout, low, wide proportions that look good for bonsai (in my opinion). So maybe think outside the box (literally) and start with something that already has some heft, in order to stack the odds in your favor down the road.

There's a great book called Bonsai Succulents (also known as Pachyforms II) by Philippe de Vosjoli and Rudy Lime which I highly recommend as a source for inspiration and ideas in this realm. They get into some really exotic species but the more common ones are also represented, along with lots of useful, helpful tips to make the most out of the discipline.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 28, 2021 4:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Teresa Felty Barrow
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies Region: United States of America Garden Photography
Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Bulbs Brugmansias Hostas Irises
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bluegrassmom
Jun 28, 2021 5:12 PM CST
Thank you
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Oct 18, 2021 3:53 PM CST
gee, I'd love to be able to find an affordable copy of that book!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 18, 2021 4:23 PM CST

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Oh, I see. It apparently has gone quite way out of print. Rolling my eyes.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Oct 18, 2021 4:45 PM CST
OMG - Amazon has it listed for $405 ! (shipping is free, however Big Grin )
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Weedwhacker
Oct 18, 2021 4:50 PM CST
This thread about "beginner bonsai resource information" here on NGA may be helpful: The thread "Beginner bonsai resource information" in Ask a Question forum
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Name: TJOE
Indonesia
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Kaktus
Oct 18, 2021 5:54 PM CST
I think what they did is to let the plant grow big in the ground, then cut the main root to allow the arial roots to grow, then chop the main trunk to allow the growth of small branches and small leaves, I tried to create those a couple of time, but usually they die when I moved them from ground to pot, with or without the cuttings. Some of them survived, ficus and bodhi tree, not the jades, I hardly can grow any jades, not to mention bonsai Glare
If they look healthy, do nothing
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Oct 18, 2021 6:55 PM CST
I do have a monster jade that I am gonna try something with...
if it dies, it's okay, because I have several monster babies of it Hilarious!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Weedwhacker
Oct 18, 2021 6:58 PM CST
Don't keep us in suspense, Dirt - what are you going to do to the jade?? I'm all ears!
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Utah Bee Lover Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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dirtdorphins
Oct 18, 2021 9:57 PM CST
Hilarious!
something...that involves extracting it from the giant heavy pot that's been relegated to a corner for the last six years (after the kitten used the plant as a jungle-gym and really messed it up--it's old, my original jade that I've had for some 30yrs), some more torture--pruning and re-potting one massive trunk that's been leaning to the light all this while and will maybe make a cool bonsai-esque shape once relocated to a better spot and guided.
It's big though--I can't even wrap my hand around the trunk and it's heavy, so I'm going for a smaller and shallower oblong pot but not really a bonsai dish, and I'm hoping that the window frame can help hold it up Rolling my eyes.
I don't know when I'm going to do it or what I'm really going to do...hatching the idea just now

Shrug!
Name: Bob
The Kau Desert, Hawaii (Zone 12a)
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OrchidBob
Oct 20, 2021 6:43 PM CST
Here is my attempt at a Bonsai Jade.
I have never pruned this plant. It has just remained small for its type.
So I chose to pot it in a bonsai type planter.
It has been in this pot for several years and in total it is probably 5-7 years old.

Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/831a0a
Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/42d496
Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/8f7d5c

I have another cutting which looks like it will make a good bonsai.
This cutting is already 3 years old and has stayed small.
All its siblings are two feet tall in gallon pots.

Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/118b71
Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/2bc2a0

I have no idea why these two plants decided to grow smaller.
They have a great root system and have received the same culture as my other plants.
Thinking
Name: TJOE
Indonesia
Cactus and Succulents Bee Lover Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Fruit Growers Composter
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Kaktus
Oct 20, 2021 8:05 PM CST
OrchidBob said:Here is my attempt at a Bonsai Jade.
I have never pruned this plant. It has just remained small for its type.
So I chose to pot it in a bonsai type planter.
It has been in this pot for several years and in total it is probably 5-7 years old.

Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/831a0a
Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/42d496
Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/8f7d5c

I have another cutting which looks like it will make a good bonsai.
This cutting is already 3 years old and has stayed small.
All its siblings are two feet tall in gallon pots.

Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/118b71
Thumb of 2021-10-21/OrchidBob/2bc2a0

I have no idea why these two plants decided to grow smaller.
They have a great root system and have received the same culture as my other plants.
Thinking

Wow, such a beautiful plant, I really hope I can have a 1 feet jade plant, especially jade gollum / hobbit like yours Thumbs up
If they look healthy, do nothing
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Utah Bee Lover Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Photo Contest Winner 2018 Photo Contest Winner 2019 Photo Contest Winner 2020 Photo Contest Winner 2021
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dirtdorphins
Oct 20, 2021 9:08 PM CST
I don't really know how you lucked out to get one, let alone two, that stay so small and cute either, but I sure wouldn't mind!
Name: Gary
Pennsylvania (Zone 6a)
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MochaJoe
Jan 15, 2022 7:50 AM CST
Thumb of 2022-01-15/MochaJoe/62b4ed
Thumb of 2022-01-15/MochaJoe/56b9f3
Thumb of 2022-01-15/MochaJoe/667ca9

Oh yes!
Name: Ricardo
New Jersey (Zone 7b)
subtropix
Jan 15, 2022 1:20 PM CST
I've seen big, gorgeous examples of Jade plants at botanical gardens. Nothing wrong with using them and experimenting. In fact, there are a whole range of tropical and subtropical plants that are infinitely better as "houseplant" bonsai specimens than a cold-hardy conifer, that hates our interior, winter, dry, heat. Some other commonly used subtropical and tropicals include; Ficus, Schefflera, Carissa (Natal Plum), Podocarpus, Polyscias (Ming Aralias), among many, many others.

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