Swaddell15
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HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Hello,
I purchased a Dwarf Jade Tree in the first week of April of 2014. For about the first two months it seemed everything was going fairly well, the plant was healthy and showed no signs of anything being wrong with it. The last week in June things started to change with my tree though. Almost all the leaves have fallen off except for maybe Id guess twenty toward the top region of the tree. I have checked the tree for bugs and there seems to be none that i can see. I think the problem is that i may have over watered and it may not be getting as much sunlight as it should. I don't know if these two things would cause almost all the leaves to fall of the tree, so if anyone has any knowledge to inform me of or suggestions on what i should do I'd very much appreciate it. I would be so sad if my Jade would happen to die, I'm just out of ideas on what to do to help it get back to a healthy state.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Hi and welcome to the Forum! In order to be able to help you, we need a bit more information. A couple pictures of your tree would really help. Where are you located? Have you been keeping your tree indoors? What is the soil like that it is in? You think you might have over-watered. Tell us more about how you water and how often. There are some very knowledgeable bonsai people around here (not me! :) ) and they can probably give you good advice, if you give them enough to work with.
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Gnome
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Swaddell15,

I assume that you are referring to Portulacaria, is that correct? I have been growing these for several years now and have found them to be fairly forgiving. The only difficulty that I have encountered is that by the end of winter they begin to look pretty rough. They bounce right back once I get them outside though. Are you keeping it inside or outside?

Norm

Swaddell15
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Hi Norm,
Yes, you are correct that is what i have. I have read all over that it is very forgiving but i can't seem to get new growth back on the limbs that have gone bare. I have it indoors, facing the west near a window. I have been thinking about moving it outdoors, but i didn't no if it was healthy enough to do so, fearing it would get infected with some sort of bug.

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DDMcKenna
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Hey Swaddell, I'm right there with you. My son got me a little Juniper Bonsai for Father's Day so it's not quite a month old, (for me). I've never tried to grow anything like this before but like you, I really want to try and do my best to keep it healthy.

I believe there are a lot of friendly folks here that can give you a lot of good advise on how to care for your little tree. But I suspect keeping it "inside" might be one of the worst things we can do. Little or not, it is still a tree no matter what. And trees live outside. I'm not sure where you live but the only reason I can think of to bring it inside would be to prevent it from freezing in the winter time. Other than that, I'm guessing it needs to be outside and even though I don't give my baby as much sun as it probably needs, I think all trees require sunshine to do what trees do.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope your little tree comes around.

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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Swaddell15,

If you are able and willing I would strongly suggest that you get it outside ASAP. Find a sheltered spot for it for a week or so in order to acclimate it. Take this opportunity to shorten any leggy growth, Ports respond well to pruning and should back bud readily.

Make sure to allow the soil to dry completely between watering. A plant with compromised foliage will not use water at the same rate as health one so be careful. Once you see some fresh growth begin to fertilize with a balanced NPK formulation. At this time it should be in open sun and you can begin to water a little more freely while still allowing the soil to dry.

Using a free draining medium really helps in this regard so when it's time to re-pot (probably not this year) use a bonsai/cacti mix. Check out the learning library section for threads about soils and re-potting.

Norm

tomc
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

A northern temperate tree lives in a wide temperature range but a narrow (and fairly high) humidity. It is washed regularly by rainfall. It gets a LOT more sun than sitting near a window.

Unless that office desk that you want your tree to live near is in the greenhouse. it bound to be too dark, dry, and breezeless. A commercial green house may wear a veil of a shade cloth in summer, but its vented open and has both a fury of fans and a mister...

A succulent or a tropical tree is even more likely to be light starved and struggling to fight off mummificacion indoors.

Either you meet the horticultural needs of your trees, or they will suffer.
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Swaddell15
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Thank you all for the very helpful information. I have taken my tree outside in a shady area for the mean time to let it adjust. I have just a few more questions. I am still a little confused on how to properly prune this tree. I have tried cutting back branches to promote growth, but nothing is popping up. Should i completely cut off little stems that come out of the main branches that no longer have leaves from them falling off? And my last question is pertaining to watering the tree. I know you can't give me a set number of days to wait to water the tree because it depends on many factors, but if i water the tree till water is dripping out the drainage holes, about how many days should i wait to water again?

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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Swaddell15,
I am still a little confused on how to properly prune this tree. I have tried cutting back branches to promote growth, but nothing is popping up. Should i completely cut off little stems that come out of the main branches that no longer have leaves from them falling off?
As I mentioned earlier, now would be a good time to shorten weak/leggy branches, before stronger ones come in. It seems that you have already done this, so lacking a visual (pictures please) it's probably best to leave it as is for now.
And my last question is pertaining to watering the tree. I know you can't give me a set number of days to wait to water the tree because it depends on many factors, but if i water the tree till water is dripping out the drainage holes, about how many days should i wait to water again?
You seem to realize that we can't, so I won't. Instead learn how to judge this yourself. Read this thread to learn about the chopstick method.

With this species over-watering is much more of an issue than under-watering. Always soak the soil then wait until it is dry, and in this case I mean dry, A few days without water will not harm this succulent. Always err on the side of drier rather than wetter.

Once it is out in the open and growing well this species is capable of using a surprising amount of water for a succulent, but again, I stress that you are not there yet.

Norm

Swaddell15
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Ive attached some photos of the tree, I know it looks pretty rough, but if you see anything that stands out about it that may help me out, let me know. Thanks again for all the help!
Attachments
photo_3-2.JPG
photo_2-2.jpg
photo_1-2.JPG

tomc
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Welcome Iowan.

Once your succulent gets some summer sun new leaves should erupt.

I have a brain of swiss-cheese so Its only a vague reccolection that its home range is something like South Africa. Iowa sun is a weak sister compared to back home. Give it a week and then move it closer to more sun.
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

Swaddell15,

The soil looks OK from here. It's not just a top-dressing is it? No mushy portions and some foliage, all of this bodes well for its speedy recovery.

If it were mine I would not hesitate to shorten the leggy growth, the more ruthless you are now the better off you will be in the long run. Since this is a new plant for you I understand if you are somewhat hesitant and you may not have any ideas about styling yet. Prune as you see fit and then spend the rest of the summer growing it back out.

You will need supplemental lighting this winter, just a heads up.

Norm

chrisp1
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Re: HELP NEEDED WITH DWARF JADE BONSAI PLEASE!

A month ago I acquired a Flowering Dwarf Jade. It has purple flowers and is about 5 in from soil to top. I was told it was NOT an indoor plant and that I should place it in full sun and water only when soil becomes 'bone dry' ... It is doing fine so far but I admit I am not sure about pruning. i.e. When to and how to!

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