Bonsai trees are a great way to have a healthy thriving plant as well as exercise some of your creativity and one of the best plants to start with is the Baby Jade. A Succulent bonsai, this plant is sometimes called the Elephant Plant or the Small Leaf Jade and is native to South Africa. It is quite tolerant to under watering and is a good beginner plant for home or office.
Baby Jade is a rather new bonsai which develops quite quickly and, unlike other types of Bonsai, can go for long periods without water. It can grow to 3 or 4 meters in the wild and being a succulent, it stores it’s water is the trunk, branches and leaves.
This lovely plant is easy to care for and style and great to look at too! The young plant has green bark which turns reddish brown and then slate gray as it ages. It has fleshy round leaves that range from pale gray to blue-green to dark green which are complimented by reddish colored stems. It blooms with tiny star shaped pinkish purple flowers. The trunk and branches can be droopy and make lovely long cascades.
The Baby Jade Bonsai is a tropical plant the doesn’t do well in climates that get below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a warm climate it will do well outdoors in full sunlight, but if you are in a colder area it is best to keep your Bonsai inside in the winter and Baby Jade will the fine as long as you provide it with enough light. Watering should be done regularly – water until the soil is moist and let the soil dry between waterings. Don’t add too much water so that there is a standing puddle in the pot.
Pruning and shaping your bonsai is part of the fun and you should be sure to let the soil dry before you cut off roots or heavy branches. After you have made any cuts, water sparingly until the cut heals over. If you want to stop a branch from growing longer, remove the terminal bud. To shape the tree, pinch the buds and branches that are growing where you don’t want them. Be sure to pinch gently with your fingers. Baby Jade is a fast grower and will need to be pinched quite frequently during the growing season. Use a 1mm aluminum wire to rotate branches and leaves.
You should repot your Baby Jade bonsai every 2 years. This is best done in the early spring. Befor repotting, dry the soil out thoroughly. After repotting, keep Baby Jade in a shady spot until you see some new growth and once you do start to water it again as usual.