My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  my nellie on Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:24 pm

Andre, I am still confusing portulacaria and crassula...
Can you tell me their main difference, please.
Thank you
my nellie

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:16 pm

Dear Nellie

Crassula has a much larger leave. It wont get as big as Portulacaria afra. Will only grow to max 2m, but thats rare. The flowers comes in clusters, could be from white to pink. The white flowering form glows Jade just before the flowers open, hence its name. its got the peculiar habit of dropping whole branches in times of drought, then only the stem remains. I've seen a Jade tree that was only 52 cm high with a trunk diameter of 41cm. It was sitting the middle of a area filled with Jade trees, as big as an average house. On the verges the trees were young. They were ALL clones form the same Jade in the middle. As the branches fall off in dry times, they also root and grow again, in time the Jade 'forest' expands.

Sadly this Jade forest is now gone to heaven,.....Urban developement.. Arent' we amazing. us Humans.

Portulacaria afra has tiny leaves, and tiny pink flowers.

Carssula argentea is much more popular as it is being sold as a House potplant all over the world for years.
Andre Beaurain

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  MikeG on Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:30 pm

Thanks for the clarification Andre. I was starting to wonder lately what, if any, the difference between the two were. People seem to mislabel and switch the two names regularly just because the leaves look similar. Only took a little research to see that there is quite a difference between the two. Crassulas seem way more popular here, probably cause like you said, they've been sold here as houseplants for a long time. But It seems to me Portulacaria are the better bonsai material. Smaller leaves and a more woody appearance.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  Sakaki on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:18 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote: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

Thank you for clarification Andre.

But I think that this is under our control!
As you've said, if you leave it to grow freely, then this problem easily occurs.
The followings are my 2 p. afras under training:

First one:

BEFORE (May 2012):

AFTER (August 2012):

I did let it grow freely, and as you can see - the branches became heavy quickly (within 2-3 months), then bended down before ramification as you've mentioned.

HOWEVER, second one:

BEFORE (MAY 2012):


In this second p. afra, I kept it under control continuously! I only allowed specific branches to become longer and thicker by defoliating and by pinching continuously!
After I'm satisfied with the thickness of these selected branches (enough to load foliage), now I let it grow and ramify freely, and I dont think that these branches can be bend easily now.

And this is the third one for which I followed same method:
May 2012:


Last edited by Sakaki on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:26 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

Post  JMcCoy on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:25 pm

Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)
Andre Beaurain Today at 3:36 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

THANK YOU Andre!! It's a pet peeve, but I get so frustrated when folks call Portulacaria a "Jade". Especially those who should know better. Two completely different species, with different growth habits and requirements. "Jade" is a fragile succulent that never seems to form a woody core, Portulacaria on the other hand is a much more durable plant with woody fibers and makes a much better Bonsai.

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Re: My mini-jade bonsai (Portulacaria Afra)

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