Frogman
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Elephant Bush Bonsai-

I've been searching for some good bonsai material and came across some Elephant Bush in a pot today at a hardware store.

I have 6 little plants all around 4-5" tall. Not very thick or hard at all of course, but I was wondering how I should thicken and train them as bonsai.

First question being what should I plant them in? Right now they're in 2" shallow pots. Will that be enough to thicken and develop them in for awhile?

Thanks!
-Adam

tomc
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Re: Elephant Bush Bonsai-

Frogman wrote:I've been searching for some good bonsai material and came across some Elephant Bush in a pot today at a hardware store.

I have 6 little plants all around 4-5" tall. Not very thick or hard at all of course, but I was wondering how I should thicken and train them as bonsai.
Your (succulent, not bonsai) likes its soil to dry some between watering. "Full" sun is also recommended. So growing this tender plant indoors is going to need a significant amount of supplimental light, until you put it outdoors again in the spring.
frogman wrote:First question being what should I plant them in? Right now they're in 2" shallow pots. Will that be enough to thicken and develop them in for awhile?
The pots are probably big enough to hold your portulacaria afra till a spring repotting when they go back outdoors.

I would use a cactus (or bonsai) mix, of primarily inorganic sand-gravel to repot.

Here or on just about any other bonsai forum there is a FAQ, which will among other things describe how to use a chop-stick to check your soil for wetness.

Soil made of primarily loess or peat, holds too much water, and too little air, leading to root rot. Please refrain from using bargain potting soil made of loess or peat. Either blend your own, or buy cactus mix...
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rainbowgardener
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Your elephant bush (aka baby jade) is a succulent, which can be treated as a bonsai:

[img]http://pics.davesgarden.com/pics/2008/12/04/palmbob/a33253.jpg[/img]

But if yours are just 4-5" tall, they are babies, probably with hardly any trunk diameter.

Everything tom said is accurate, but if you want them to thicken up, when you repot in the spring, I would put it in a bigger pot, nursery size. It's difficult to get trees/shrubs to thicken up growing them in a bonsai pot. Bonsai pots are for when it is just needing some styling.
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Frogman
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:47 pm
Location: Washington

Okay great, I've got some cactus soil I can use. I will plan on repotting in a decent sized pot to help thicken it up over time this spring. As for full sun, that's probably going to be pretty hard due to not having any plant light things.
Any recommendations for the necessary lighting?

tomc
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Frogman wrote: As for full sun, that's probably going to be pretty hard due to not having any plant light things. Any recommendations for the necessary lighting?
Florescent light will do if you set the bulbs close enough to tree.

It sounds like your on a pretty steady buying pattern. Just know trees and soil are not the biggest expense.

Benchs, lighting, soil, pots, tools. costs will outstrip the cost of rooted cuttings.

And still all of these will not prosper indoors the year round. Tender trees and all ulmus need to live outdoors.

Elms live outdoors year round...
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djlen
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I acquired a few of these wonderful succulents from one of, our more prominent members a few years ago and can't say enough good about them.
They do well under fluorescent light but not too close to the plants or they can burn the leaves. My 4' tubes are about 30" above the plants and they seem to do best for me that way.
I also keep some mame Ports on a south-facing window sill and they love that direct sunlight and cooler night time temps close to the windows.
Regards,
Len

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