beddog58
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Jade Bonsai questions

I have recently (Yesterday) been given a Jade Bonsai. I am very new to bonsai and am not sure where to begin with this plant. I have read many different posts on jade bonsai, so I don't feel completely in the dark about it, but I do have several questions about taking care of it.

#1- I'm not sure what species of jade the plant/tree is. The leaves are quite small, less than an inch in length and quite sparse. How can I find out which species the plant is?

#2- I'm also not sure how old the plant/tree is. The trunk of the plant is quite thick, over 2 1/2 inches wide and about 8 inches in circumference. Do these measurements indicate how old the plant is?

#3- I feel the plant is in need of some maintenance (i.e. pruning and such). I would like to figure out a certain shape for it. Right now it's upright with three distinctive trunks emanating from the bottom of one main trunk. The tree is 18 inches tall and on the back side is a large "scar" that looks as if a large branch of the tree was "ripped" off long ago. The "scar" is completely healed and kind of gives the tree a distinctive "feel" or "look" to it.
If I can figure out how to post a picture of it, I'll do that, that way it may help with the process of figuring this tree out.

Anyway, any help with this tree would be appreciated.
Doc

beddog58
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Pictures

I figured out how to post the two pictures of my jade bonsai. Here they are. Please let me know what you think. Thanks again.

https://img140.imageshack.us/i/bonsai001.jpg/

https://img848.imageshack.us/i/bonsai002.jpg/
Doc

Justin088
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I would definately read up on just keeping the plant alive and healthy. Work on growing the tree first then start cutting and pruning the tree. Any work you do now might be mistakes when you actually get into learning about shaping your tree. I know it's basic advice but I probably wouldn't do anything to the tree until i've kept it alive for atleast a year.

Justin088
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For the age of the tree. The only way to tell is the chop the trunk in half and count the rings. I don't think dimensions really help in that dept. My best guess would be from 5-7 years old.

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Gnome
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Doc,

Hello and welcome to the forum. If you would be so kind as to try again with your pictures, I seem to be unable to enlarge them and can't really tell much from the the thumbnails.

From your description (The leaves are quite small, less than an inch in length) there is a possibility that you actually have been given a Portulacaria, sometimes called 'Baby Jade' or 'Dwarf Jade'.

Here is a thread that has pictures of a Portulacaria.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=182120#182120

And one of mine that is a Jade proper or Crassula.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=137218#137218


Norm

beddog58
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Jade Bonsai questions

Thanks Norm and Justin,

I'll try uploading new pics again a little later. After looking at the Jade tree again I think you might be right Justin, I should probably try to keep it alive over the next year before messing around with it.

I do have two other bonsai I've kept alive for a couple of years, a Juniper and a Chinese Elm.
The Elm seems to be doing fine, although dormant now, the Juniper looks a little "battle" worn. I got too aggressive with it when I first got it and messed it up some so I'm letting it be for now hoping it will recuperate.

Everything I've read so far about Baby Jade seems to suggest that they are a hearty plant. They seem to be able to bounce back from either neglect or aggressive pruning. This one certainly appears to have been beat up in the past. I'll be kind to her and see where she goes this summer. Thanks again folks.


https://img40.imageshack.us/i/bonsai001.jpg/

https://img845.imageshack.us/i/bonsai002.jpg/
Doc

Justin088
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Location: Coppell, TX

Honestly the plants are very resiliant. Let him grow for a good year and maybe repot him next spring and you can check up on the roots and such then. Maybe even start shaping after you see the plant has bounced back. Also a good dose of superthrive wouldn't hurt. Though def not necessary.

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froggy
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Location: Toronto, ON, zone 5a

You can use the code provided under: 'embed this image'-'forum'
that'll actually show the images like so:

[url=https://img40.imageshack.us/i/bonsai001.jpg/][img]https://img40.imageshack.us/img40/1317/bonsai001.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://img845.imageshack.us/i/bonsai002.jpg/][img]https://img845.imageshack.us/img845/4370/bonsai002.jpg[/img][/url]

hope this helps...
;)

kdodds
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Looks like a VERY nicely matured Portulacaria to me. Other than taking off the pendulous branches, there's not really anything I'd do to this tree at the moment. I'd let the right side top catch up to the rest of the tree, long term, but there you're talking a couple of years of growth, at least. So, enjoy it as is for a few months, read up on pruning, and decide how you want to proceed. Just taking away those drooping branches (just the ones growing pretty much straight down) should clean up the tree's lines a lot, and satisfy any need to cut you might have. That huge scar was probably the branch that filled in the right side. Especially, do NOT trim any new growth going in that direction until you're ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE you wan't need it.

beddog58
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Thanks all for your advice, I have noticed something today that I'm a little concerned about, the plant seems to be dropping what leaves it has. I have only done one thing that I'm aware of differently since I received the plant a few days ago, and that is, that I put it outside yesterday and the day before because the weather was nice and the sun was out. Today it seems to be dropping it's leaves.
Anything I should be concerned about?
Doc

kdodds
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Most of the time when I see jade's dropping leaves it either because of underwatering (they'll shrivel first) or overwatering (probably root ?rot? related) and they'll just kind of keep dropping. I don't know what it was like in CT yesterday, but it was only mid 50ºs (F) here. I wouldn't place a jade directly outside in 55ºF when it's bben it's whole life indoors or in a greenhouse.

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Gnome
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Doc,
kdodds wrote:Most of the time when I see jade's dropping leaves it either because of underwatering (they'll shrivel first) or overwatering (probably root ?rot? related) and they'll just kind of keep dropping. I don't know what it was like in CT yesterday, but it was only mid 50ºs (F) here. I wouldn't place a jade directly outside in 55ºF when it's bben it's whole life indoors or in a greenhouse.
I have more than a few of these and I'm ashamed to say that I sometimes neglect the younger ones over the winter. They seldom die but often tend to drop leaves when under watered. So what kdodds wrote is similar to my experience with this species. Low light conditions indoors do them no favors either. I have found that they rebound quickly if given proper care.

I doubt that you have been able to cause root rot in a day or two so unless it was in distress before you acquired it I suspect it needs a good soaking. Can you describe the soil, is it dense and wet or gritty and dry?

Norm

beddog58
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The soil is very gritty and dry, it seems to be very hard packed as well, it's very difficult to even poke a finger down into the soil. Today in Ct. it's very nice out, about 75 degrees and sunny, I think I'll take it outdoors and give it a good soaking. Sound like a plan?
Doc

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Gnome
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Doc,

Sounds good. Remember when you water it to really soak it well, especially of it is as dry and compacted as you say. I think I would even water it by the immersion method at least once to ensure that the soil is saturated. Try to find a partially shaded spot to begin to acclimate it to direct sunlight. Eventually you should shoot for full sun if you can. I keep mine outside during the summer and they do well.

Norm

beddog58
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Thanks Norm,

Yea, I just got done with the immersion thing, I immersed it up to the bottom of it's trunk for a good hour or so. I took it out an put it on a tray to drain outside on my little back deck NOT in direct sunlight. The temperature here in Ct today was in the mid to upper 70's, a very nice day. Hopefully that helped that plant out. My wife and I just got done planting some other flowers in our window boxes on the little deck railing. Days like this tend to give me the "itch" to plant things, hehehehe. I'll keep you posted as to how that plant is doing, Thanks for the help all. Happy Easter!!!!
Doc

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