ees27
Full Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:14 am

Jade into a bonsai

i just recently received a jade plant in a very small container. It has about five different shoots. I was hoping to take one of the shoots and turn it into a bonsai tree. how would i go about doing this? Is it harmful to pull one of the shoots away from the rest of the roots? I would appreciate all the advise i can get. Thanks =)

kdodds
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Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

It's not harmful to do this, or even just take a cutting if the plant is big enough. The only problem with this is that, if you want something that looking even remotely like a bonsai, you're going to need a LOT of patience. Cuttings and divisions from small plants are going to need YEARS in training before they even begin to look like a bonsai. Jade bonsai starters (those that have already been "trained" for a couple of years) are pretty inexpensive. You might want to try going this route. If not, you'll need to take a division and pot it up (or a cutting, and root it and then pot it up). Once the main trunk has estended to maybe 10 or 12 leaves (5-6 pairs), you'll want to cut it back to 2-3 leaf pairs to encourage branching. And so on... I would expect the you'd *probably* be ready to get it in a training pot somewhere around the 2-3 year mark. It will take another 2-3 years, at the very least, to get it into any kind of nice looking style, but it certainly won't look like an older established tree. That'll happen around the 8-10 year mark.

ees27
Full Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:14 am

Thank you. Do i need to use special bonsai soil or can i just use a regular miracle grow type soil like the one it was bought in?

Also i would like to know if this plant should be grown outside or will it do fine on a window sill? I live in Arizona so the temperatures can get pretty outrageous here.

kdodds
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Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Most sellers of indoor "bonsai starters" will sell them growing in plain old potting soil in 2" or 3" pots. So, there's no harm in growing it in potting soil. However, you do have to be aware that once you put it into a shallower (bonsai) pot, "training" or otherwise, you'll need to switch over. Because the composition of the soil is so different, the tree may experience shock moving over. I personally have found that it's easier to do this as soon as possible, waiting no more than half a year, to do so. Smaller, younger trees are going to be more resilient than older, more established trees, especially trees that are already being trained, when it comes to such vast changes in growing conditions. I also prefer a more free-draining mix for succulents anyway, and, at most, even if growing as a housplant, I would use no more than 50% potting soil to sand (or other aggregate).

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