Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

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Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  artao on Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:44 am

So this is about 7 months growth, mostly outdoors. Summer extended into late September this year, so I didn't bring them inside until then. I've got them under a fluorescent grow light. The soil is sand/pearlite. I intend to transplant them into bonsai soil and a more appropriate bonsai pot in the spring.
I'm thinking it's about time to prune them back to force some branching to happen, as I want the main branches' widths to be pleasantly comparable to the trunk width. I'm thinking I should prune them back leaving only 2 maybe 3 nodes (and then obviously re-plant the cuttings. Can't have too much jade, right? Wink ) My ultimate goal here is a small jade forest, probably with just those main three bigger ones. I intend to keep them small, no more than maybe 10 to 12 inches tall.
I know it's early December, but it's my understanding that, being indoor jades, it's okay to prune these back at any time of the year. Clearly they're pretty vigorous and doing well. If I'm wrong about timing, I'm wrong, and will wait til spring.
Thanks Very Happy

artao
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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  Kev Bailey on Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:12 pm

I've grown these for a long time. It is going to develop trunk girth, which is the first goal, more rapidly if you allow it unrestricted and unpruned growth. If it is warm over winter you can continue to water,  a little, and slow growth will continue. So that it doesn't become etiolated or stretch for the light, it needs to be in the brightest spot possible. Two or three years growth and the base will look more like a trunk and can then be cut back.


Last edited by Kev Bailey on Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:12 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  artao on Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:35 pm

Okay cool, thanks.
So I shouldn't concern myself right now with branching at all, the plants will do it on their own when they're ready? Fair nuf. Cool

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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  Kevin S - Wisco Bonsai on Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:15 pm

Vaughn... these look more like Portulacaria (Spekboom) than Crassula...
You say these are cuttings...
Can we see the parent plant ?

Spekboom makes far better bonsai than crassula Wink


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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  artao on Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:24 pm

Kevin S - Wisco Bonsai wrote:Vaughn... these look more like Portulacaria (Spekboom) than Crassula...
You say these are cuttings...
Can we see the parent plant ?

Spekboom makes far better bonsai than crassula  Wink

Really? hmm .... They're kinda young to tell maybe, but I guess I was assuming crassula due to leaf size. Aside from leaf size on more mature plants, I don't (yet) know how to tell.
No pics of the parent. I was simply given these as small cuttings that weren't doing that well. TERIIBLE soil, pretty much mud with a few rocks thrown in. And they'd been overwatered. I'd posted on the local facebookie buy/sell page, looking for jades and ficus. A lady contacted me and we met up. She said it was her daughter's science project for elementary school.
I'd be quite pleased if it turned out these were portulacara rather than crassula Very Happy

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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  artao on Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:19 pm

Further question:
Say I wanted to keep one of these as shohin or even mame? (I've been thinking about it)
What timeframe would I want to let them just grow before pruning to encourage branches? Same?
Thanks. Very Happy

artao
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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  Kevin S - Wisco Bonsai Yesterday at 12:26 pm

hard to give a time-frame on something like that as it all depends on the growing conditions and growth rate,
but in essence, nothing will get any girth to it if not allowed to get any girth to it - sounds like circle talk, but its not...

for example, in only 6 years, my first 2 spekboom are are pretty damn beefy, while a friend of mine, who excels at "real bonsai" can not get his spekboom to fatten up and its not because he isnt trying... (i am actually baffled by that in his case)

even a shohin sized tree with a fat trunk was at one time anything but, shohin sized in height Wink

and in regards to the plants you have, it will depend on what they actually are (and my bet is still on spekboom based on the pictures you show)
If i were you, i would do some google image comparisons between what you have and representative samples of both portulacaria and crassula as young plants

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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  artao Today at 10:25 am

Boy, I just dont' know now. I'm finding it difficult to find pics of plants as young as mine.
Some of the leaves on mine seem rounder than crassula, but some of them are more ovate like crassula. None of them have the "heart shaped" indentation I'm reading about that portulacaria gets.
Also, in the pics I'm seeing, portulacaria seems to have purplish stems. Mind do not have that. However, not all the portulacaria pics I'm seeing have that.
I just don't know. Will have to wait til they're older to get a 100% positive I.D. methinx. Shocked

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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  BrendanR Today at 3:21 pm

The trunks will thicken only if there are loads of healthy roots in the pot. If you over water it the roots will never develop. Hence the trunks will never develop.

Water very sparingly to promote root growth. THis is a succulent - it sends out roots to find water. If there is a lot of water it needs no roots. Let the leaves go slightly wrinkly before watering.

And when you do water use very diluted food say every third water - which would be about every second month in winter.


Too early for me to try an ID on them - but yes I'd say c.ovata not p.afra?

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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

Post  artao Today at 3:46 pm

Yeah, I've been letting the leaves "deflate" before watering. They feel quite firm in the soil, so I think they're rooting nicely. Very Happy
I haven't been feeding 'em, because the pearlite I bought (the only stuff available locally) is pre-fertilized. I forget exactly what it is, but it's an even NPK ratio.
Today I lowered my grow light to be around 6 inches or so from the plants. (fluoro, so I'm not concerned about heat) Also cuz my basil isn't lookin too hot, and I think it'll benefit from the light being closer as well.

artao
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Re: Time to Prune Back to Force Branching? Crassula Ovata

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