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How To Bonsai A Jade Plant
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How to Bonsai A Jade Plant

The Jade Plant is a tree that is native to South Africa. This is one of the best trees that you can grow as an indoor Bonsai. Because the tree evolved to survive in the warm South African world, outdoors isn't a great option unless you have constantly warm temperatures (as in, the temperature doesn't get below 6 degrees Centigrade or 42 degrees Fahrenheit). Here's how you Bonsai a Jade plant.

The plant must go in a small pot that is fairly shallow depending on the size of the tree that you eventually want. Not too shallow - but we want the root network to grow out rather then down. This not only produces a nicer base to the tree (looks 'flared) but also it will mean that you have a strong root network.

The main style for the Jade plant is the informal upright, but you can choose others. This style is as follows: the trunk wiggles its way up towards the top. Descriptive enough? Maybe not. The informal upright pretty much means you can do anything you like so long as the trunk if straightened out becomes a taper of some sort and the branches come out from the sides evenly. It's your choice, and there are plenty of pictures on the internet that can help you to see what you would like.

Watering your Jade plant is a little different to other Bonsai trees. If you overwater the Jade tree, chances are that it will grow a small root network and it won't be able to get the goodness out of the soil that it needs to. Let the soil dry between watering. I'm not talking about 'blow-on-it-and-it-spits-up-a-small-dust-storm', but doing this will encourage the tree to make a large root network and search for the water.

You will probably need to prune your Bonsai plant every week (at the minimum). This is an aggressive tree and it will want to do what it wants to do. Make sure that you keep it in check by pruning it often.

Wiring is usually required to get the tree into the shape that you want it to. Choose a thick gauge of wire and wrap it around the tree trunk and branches into a coil of sorts. Once you have wrapped the wire around the tree you will find it easier to bend the branch into position. You can also use weights if you like to achieve a most powerful bend. Tying a small weight onto the end of a branch (for example) can serve to get a sharper or a longer bend, depending on the image that you are after.

The Jade plant produces rather large leaves that can look out of place on the Bonsai. You will need to keep them in check by being relentless in your pruning and in your removing of leaves that are getting too big. Or you could let them grow and pretend it's a magical plant that only you know the secrets of :-)

Creating a Bonsai of a Jade plant is a great hobby. As I mentioned, this tree likes to live indoors where it is warm (make sure however that it has plenty of sun). The tree also produces a lovely flower as well that can serve to complement the overall leaf shape. A Bonsai of a Jade plant is a great activity and one which you will enjoy.

Image by Flickr user Emmanuelm.


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