My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

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My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  EpicusMaximus on Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:42 pm

I bought this little tree over the weekend.

I was wondering if anybody had particular advice going forward? I know this type of tree isn't a traditional bonsai, but I'm still a beginner and I read positive things about it.

I know it needs lots of light, but is it OK to keep it in direct sunlight? That's what I've been doing (outside during the day, and inside at night). I am gauging the watering needs by observing the leaves. Some started to show signs of needing water so I watered it. I know I have to let it dry out between watering. Should I next time wait until a majority of leaves show these signs, or just a few?

Thanks!



Last edited by EpicusMaximus on Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:45 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : specific title)

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:20 pm

Get ride of the spagnum moss. Are the rocks glued on? if so get them off, don't overwater, use a meat skewer in the soil to test for moisture. Most plants can take full sun, the danger comes when you give it too much sun too fast, whey do you bring it in at night? Actually some Jade have won awards as bonsai.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:29 pm

This Jade was recently voted out club logo tree.

This is NOt my tree.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  EpicusMaximus on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:06 pm

I bring it in at night in case of sudden temperature drops. Even though it's September the weather can suddenly drop to below 10 celcius during the night at this time of the year. A few weeks ago it dropped to 4.

The rocks are not glued on, and I will remove the moss. I was actually wondering about that yesterday since I figured it couldn't be good to have sometimes humid moss around the trunk.

I'll also remove the moss around my juniper then.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:25 pm

EpicusMaximus wrote:I bring it in at night in case of sudden temperature drops. Even though it's September the weather can suddenly drop to below 10 celcius during the night at this time of the year. A few weeks ago it dropped to 4.

Although as an American I don't equate Celcius to a real temperature, the Jade can probably survive 0 C without damage, but it will need protection from frost.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Justin Hervey on Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:54 pm

Hi E'Max, your tree will handle those temperature ranges with ease, frost will be more of a problem though.
These trees are as tough as nail so what you have been doing will be fine. I very rarely wire mine as the 'clip and grow' method works very well.
Good luck.



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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  EpicusMaximus on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:43 pm

Thanks Justin. I guess I'll leave it outside then, until temps drop lower.

About pinching leaves on this tree, I have pinched 2 only so far. In both cases I have used by thumb and index finger and on both occasions a very small piece of the leaf was left attached (probably the size of the head of a BIC pen). This little leftover dried up and the branch seems to be OK. Is this the right method or should I be using scissors?

Also, I had some concerns about watering. Is my method of judging by the leaves OK? And if so, how many leaves should be showing signs of needing water before I do indeed water?

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Ed Spaans on Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:39 pm

I water my Portulacaria Afra daily here in SW lower MI. Also, I cut the leaves off with a scissors. When the thing gets leggy, it's 30 years old, I completely deleaf it. The new leaves come in much smaller. In the winter, it lives under growlights.

Ed Spaans

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Andrew Legg on Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:13 pm

EpicusMaximus wrote:

Also, I had some concerns about watering. Is my method of judging by the leaves OK? And if so, how many leaves should be showing signs of needing water before I do indeed water?

As Justin says, Jade's are bomb-proof, so don't spend too much time over-analysing it. Relax and just enjoy the tree. Water it and let the growing mix almost dry out, and then water again.

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:15 pm

Ed Spaans wrote:I water my Portulacaria Afra daily here in SW lower MI. Also, I cut the leaves off with a scissors. When the thing gets leggy, it's 30 years old, I completely deleaf it. The new leaves come in much smaller. In the winter, it lives under growlights.

Ed Spaans

Watering can be very dependent on the growing media, a plant in well drained media can be watered daily, but one in a more moisture retentive media will die if over watered.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Velodog2 on Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:09 am

I also water my portulacaria the same as my other trees, pretty much daily. They do seem to do best in free-draining coniferous soil mix. However, I have had trimmings root and grow in plain gravel in a tray with no drainage at all with roots constantly wet and sometimes in standing water for days after a rain. It's a strange tree.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  EpicusMaximus on Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:48 pm

Thanks for all the advice.

The tree is producing a lot of new growth. How frequently should I go about pruning?

There are some branches with random leaves halfway on the branch, if I remove that leaf will many more sprout?

How much of a cluster of leaves should I remove?

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:19 pm

EpicusMaximus wrote:Thanks for all the advice.

The tree is producing a lot of new growth. How frequently should I go about pruning?

Prune as needed.

There are some branches with random leaves halfway on the branch, if I remove that leaf will many more sprout?

Maybe

How much of a cluster of leaves should I remove?

What looks good?

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:55 pm

http://www.bonsaimary.com/Jade-Bonsai.html

enjoy.
Khaimraj

[I grow my own in full sun ]

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  EpicusMaximus on Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:00 pm

So billy, what I gather from your post is that whatever looks good to me is OK with this tree?

What about branches, can those be pruned easily, is there a special technique to pruning jade branches?

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:10 pm

EpicusMaximus wrote:So billy, what I gather from your post is that whatever looks good to me is OK with this tree?

What about branches, can those be pruned easily, is there a special technique to pruning jade branches?

As long as you don't let it freeze you are OK. Just make sure you use a sharp knife or other tool and make a clean cut.
This is Jim Vanlandingham of Old Florida Bonsai in Vero Beach, FL working on a Jade at our BSOB meeting on 9/15/12.


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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  EpicusMaximus on Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:49 pm

Am I going to stunt the growth of the trunk or make it's growth extra slow if I keep it in Bonsai pots as it grows? My plan was to upgrade to larger pots as the tree grows.

I will fertilize once a month during the winter... is it twice during the summer?

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:48 pm

EpicusMaximus wrote:Am I going to stunt the growth of the trunk or make it's growth extra slow if I keep it in Bonsai pots as it grows? My plan was to upgrade to larger pots as the tree grows.

I will fertilize once a month during the winter... is it twice during the summer?

The smaller the pot the slower the plant grows, unless there is so much soil that the plant rots. So, Yes keeping it in a bonsai pot will slow its growth, the plant in the above photo is is a bulb pan that is 8 inches wide by 4 inches deep..

Fertilizer will determine growth also but in cooler weather or reduced light I wouldn't fertilize as much.


Last edited by Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:49 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected spelling)

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Sakaki on Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:54 pm

Hi EpicusMaximus

Listen for what Mr. Rhodes says. They really works!!!

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:31 pm

The grow pot can also be an earthenware pot and some of the Chinese bonsai pots are also glazed, but porous, earthenware pots.
Later.
Khaimraj

*Nice one Billy,hadn't thought of simply changing the diameter, but not the depth of an earthenware pot. Thank you.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:36 am

Guys guys guys, and garls ofcourse

We have to learn to get this right. Each continent cannot just name plants accordingly to the name they like.

Portulacaria afra is NOT a JADE tree
Its a PORK bush or ELEPHANT bush.

Crassula argentea is the JADE tree.

There is nothing 'Jade' about Portulacaria afra!

Love and light
Andre

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:29 am

As far as the Elephant Bush goes, what I really wondered about was the density of branchlet and leaf.

Every image I have seen of well trained shrubs, always ends up flattened and no one ever shows a view from underneath, or in some way shows the density that comes with advanced training/
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Sakaki on Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:42 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:As far as the Elephant Bush goes, what I really wondered about was the density of branchlet and leaf.

Every image I have seen of well trained shrubs, always ends up flattened and no one ever shows a view from underneath, or in some way shows the density that comes with advanced training/
Later.
Khaimraj

Dear Khaimraj,

What do you mean with underneath?

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:02 pm

Sakaki,

a look up into the tree from under the first branch. That would give a hint of the density.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:26 pm

Sakaki, I think what Khaimaraj meant is..... ( ooo sounds like the opening of a mills and boons paperback novel, with eastern ifluences ofcourse Smile )
.. One never sees the ramification of an Elephant tree,
I speculate that it doesnt form ramification so readily, or adall like other trees, because the branhces becomes heavy too quickly, and then bends down before ramification can occur. This is the way the trees propagate in nature. and where they touch the ground they form new roots and a new tree emerges. Trees hardly grow taller that 4 metres.

Two interesting facts,.. Sleep
The leaves are edible, and strangly, the one Elephant tree is more sour than the other, in my succulent garden, isnt that weird. You can toss the leaves in a salad...think about that next time you defoliate! hahahha

Portulacaria afra is also the one plant in World that absorbs the most Carbon from the air..... look it up on the net.... very interesting.

Love and Light

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

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