Portulacaria Afra

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Portulacaria Afra

Post  Zootenval on Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:44 pm

Of all of the different plant species available for bonsai, I think my favorite is Portulacaria Afra, or "baby jade".  This is due to 1) the very tiny leaves, 2) the wonderful texture of the bark as they age, 3) the superb nebari that can form, and 4) the trainability of limbs.  I am not a pro at all, and I probably don't follow a lot of prescribed rules for bonsai.  That being said, I enjoy it immensely.  I have found a local source of some wonderful old (30+ years) specimens of P. Afra for quite reasonable cost.  Here is a picture of one of my favorites.  This started out as a limb lopped off of another plant 7 years ago.  They are pretty easy to propagate from cuttings.  This tree, which is about 30" tall soil to top, has tripled in size from 7 years ago.  I'd appreciate your comments.



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Re: Portulacaria Afra

Post  beer city snake on Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:20 pm

these are what got me going in bonsai 4 1/2 years ago... someone gave me 2 2" cuttings in january of 2012 and both have become beautiful trees (each having won an award in a "contest") and have led me to many other species (more suitable to my climate)

as i am fond of saying, if someone had given me a 2" pine tree, i doubt i would have fallen head over heels for bonsai, but as you said; these babies grow quick and they are very satisfying to work on as they respond well to bonsai techniques.

in regards to yours, have you considered cutting it back and chasing things further back in toward the trunk in order to make a more compact, and a little less leggy, tree ? (particularly in the upper regions)

using only the downspout as scale, i am guessing that one of mine has a similar diameter trunk, but is only about 12" tall...

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Thanks for the reply

Post  Zootenval on Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:58 pm

I really have not thought about it that much. In fact, over the last year or so, other than watering and feeding them once in a while, I had kind of neglected my trees....i had really gotten more into my other passion, which is cooking, and never found enough time for my trees. I made a commitment last weekend to re-pot all of them, which was badly needed in most cases. Mission 90% accomplished, will finish this weekend.

As I said in my initial post, I am self "taught", and really don't follow traditional bonsai techniques. I do what looks pleasing to me (and my wife). I have never really been interested in the local bonsai society or classes, or showing / entering my trees. They have always been, and will always be, a means of relaxation and connecting to nature. I post pictures of some of them from time to time, but I bet I have only shown them to half a dozen people over the years in person.

I'll keep your suggestions in mind. In total, I have 6 good sized P. Afra specimens, some of them quite large, and you have given me something to think about...

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Re: Portulacaria Afra

Post  beer city snake on Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:32 pm

i am the same way in that rules dont mean much... re: showing them, its nice if your vision is recognized by the judge, but if its not, it bothers me not at all...

luckily for you, spekboom like tight feet !!!

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Re: Portulacaria Afra

Post  AlainK on Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:24 pm

I find it surprising that you leave such long shoots, for instance just a few, but IMO there are many other shoots that should be trimmed:


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Re: Portulacaria Afra

Post  Zootenval on Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:04 am

Thank you for your comments.

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Re: Portulacaria Afra

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