Sambonsai
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portulacaria tips

[img]https://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad197/sambo1984/DSC_2831.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad197/sambo1984/DSC_2830.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i935.photobucket.com/albums/ad197/sambo1984/DSC_2829.jpg[/img]

i recently purchased this plant and fell it could use some pruning. i pruned the roots about 2 weeks ago. I don't agree with the lines created by the branches. I have several questions:
This plant was root bound when purchased. i trimmed the taproot but not to much. the soil used was typical potting soil not fit for bonsai. i changed it to hoffmans blend as i felt i lack the skills to mix my own soil.
1)how long should i wait before placing this plant in full sun?
2) should i water more frequently?
some of the leaves are beginning to get wrinkley is this ok?
3) where should i make these cuts and how can i encourage ramification?
thanks guys
oh yeah the tree is supposed to be 10 years old

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Zootenval
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Hi:

I love Portulacaria, one of my favorite bonsai species. Here is a nice primer from Bonsai Clubs International:

https://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/portulacaria.html


A detailed monograph on Portulacaria afra may be seen at: https://www.phoenixbonsai.com/Portulacaria.html

Sambonsai
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Thanks for
The links. Any suggestions on shaping it?

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Gnome
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Sambonsai,

I shape mine through pruning, sometimes called the 'clip & grow' method. The way they grow, opposite but then alternating, means that by choosing where to prune you can determine whether the new growth will be left & right or up & down.

If I want to simply extend a branch then pruning to a set of leaves that are up & down is OK, especially if you want to lower a branch and then retain the lower shoot. Usually though, I prune to a set that is left & right. This turns one branch into two which is known as ramification.

If you don't like the structure it presents you can prune the branches back hard and expect a good outcome. Try to count backwards from an existing set of leaves and follow my suggestions above regarding choosing where to cut. Make a clean cut just beyond the node you wish to work from. I usually prune the whole thing at the same time.

As far as styling or the direction you want to go with it, that is up to you. Styling is something I'm still working on with my own stuff.

Norm

Sambonsai
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Thanks alot

Gnome wrote:Sambonsai,

I shape mine through pruning, sometimes called the 'clip & grow' method. The way they grow, opposite but then alternating, means that by choosing where to prune you can determine whether the new growth will be left & right or up & down.

If I want to simply extend a branch then pruning to a set of leaves that are up & down is OK, especially if you want to lower a branch and then retain the lower shoot. Usually though, I prune to a set that is left & right. This turns one branch into two which is known as ramification.

If you don't like the structure it presents you can prune the branches back hard and expect a good outcome. Try to count backwards from an existing set of leaves and follow my suggestions above regarding choosing where to cut. Make a clean cut just beyond the node you wish to work from. I usually prune the whole thing at the same time.

As far as styling or the direction you want to go with it, that is up to you. Styling is something I'm still working on with my own stuff.

Norm

Sambonsai
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I recently pruned the roots too and a couple of the branches have leaves that are kinda wrinkly. I water once a day or every other day. Am I going to have to prune back those branches or should I increase my watering?

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djlen
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The odds are it's just reacting to the root disturbance and will come around in time. I don't prune the roots on mine at all unless it's absolutely necessary because the plant can get way top heavy very easily and I like to keep the root structure intact as much a possible for support. I treat all my succulents this way for good balance.
I would not water more than once a day, but would shade it for a while after pruning of any type to allow it to recover.
BTW, all my Ports came from Gnome's plants. He is the man when it comes to this species.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Gnome
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Sambonsai,

I think you are, as they say, on the horns of a dilema. Wrinkled leaves indicate not enough water but watering more frequently will set you up for problems as well. Len has a good point concerning the recent root pruning.

I suspect that the root pruning has left the plant with less ability to take up water. But rather than try to water more to compensate I think you just have to wait it out. If you have moved it to full sun I would consider moving it to a more sheltered one for now. Eventually the the roots will recover and the plant will settle in to the new pot/soil.

The soil on this plant should be allowed to dry before you water it again. I water mine more agressivley during summer when they are outside and in active growth. Even so, I can easily skip several days with no ill effect. Remember succulants store water for dry times so they are well adapted to drought.

Len,

Thanks for the vote of connfidnece. I take it that your Ports are doing well.

Norm

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djlen
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The Ports are doing very well Norm! I really appreciate having them and am very grateful to you. They are especially fun to watch in the Spring and Summer when they are very active.
My biggest issue is keeping the dang squirrels out of them. As with most succulents, they tend to grow top heavy and are easily dumped over if not protected. I don't like to re-pot them during the growing season as it slows them down and also makes them even more vulnerable to the varmints.
I've come up with a workable solution. I put several of them, pot and all, into a large flat of similar depth as the pots they are growing in and fill in around each pot with extra growing medium, thus keeping them stable and free from being knocked over. In the fall I will simply pull the pots out of the flats and bring them inside for the Winter. So far this has worked well with them and other succulents that tend toward top-heavyness. :)
Even with Oreo on the job I find it a challenge to keep up with the squirrel population. They are very clever and very destructive and keep her and I very busy.

Oreo:
[img]https://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c145/djlen/Puppies/IMG_1572.jpg[/img]
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Sambonsai
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Thanks for the tips guys. Ok. So if I wait it out and a portion of my plant "wilts" so to speak, prune it and learn from my experience. Thanks so much again

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Gnome
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Sambonsai,

Still water it as usual, just don't try to overcompensate. The wrinkled leaves should eventually recover. Although some may fall, this plant is very forgiving and new growth should occurr. Just avoid keeping the soil wet, always allow a dry period between waterings.

Norm

Sambonsai
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I've noticed some aphids underneath some leaves. Is there a safe way to get rid of these?

bonsaibp
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Sambonsai wrote:I've noticed some aphids underneath some leaves. Is there a safe way to get rid of these?
Spray them off with a burst of water from a hose.
Don't worry about the wrinkled leaves just cut them off.
If you did not trim the tree when you cut the roots it may be a good idea to do so. That way there will be a better balance between the roots and the foliage which support each other.

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djlen
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Or.......I use a combination of 1 1/2 tsp. Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, 1 tsp. of Neem Oil or Vegetable Oil combined in a 32oz. spray bottle as a mild and effective bug spray/fungicide.
This combination is environment friendly and just as importantly, very effective on ants, aphids mealy bugs etc. And when I bring the plants inside for the Winter I can use this spray without fear of poisoning myself...lol.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
_________
How To Post A Picture

Sambonsai
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Could you tell me which branches I should prune. I've been getting lots of new growth near the top right of the tree. As viewed from the pics.

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djlen
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I like to keep it in bounds by pinching back the new growth to shape and keep it from getting all gangly. Also, allowing the plant to grow gangly will put a lot of pressure on the trunk(s) so I let them develop and thicken before allowing the tree to get too big. You will see a definite thickening of the trunk(s) over time. As they get thicker they will be more able to handle the weight above.
This plant can be shaped by pinching and does not need to be wired. Just pinch the growth in the direction that you want a particular branch to take.
For instance, each node has opposite leaves on it. When you pinch back to a node you will get new growth out of each side of the node by the leaves. If you want the branch to take a turn to the left or right, up or down, just pinch off the new growth in the direction you DON'T want the branch to go in.
I hope this helps.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
_________
How To Post A Picture

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