Native to South Africa, this evergreen is best grown inside, never being exposed
to temperatures less than 41 degrees. The trunk of the Jade Tree is thick with a
branch structure of dense, elliptic leaves that are gorgeous. In fact, when the
leaves are provided with adequate sunlight, they will turn red around the
outside edges while the tree produces beautiful blossoms of star-shaped white
flowers in the fall.
Although the leaves will grow up to two inches, you can train them to stay
around one-half inch through consistent pruning. While a number of styles look
great on the Jade Tree the clump and informal upright are the best choices.
Jade Tree bonsai enjoy being grown indoors in warm temperatures. While this tree
will tolerate poor lighting, it much prefers a lot of natural sunlight. Another
important fact about the Jade Tree is that it naturally holds water in the
leaves. Therefore, it can easily be over-watered. Because of this, only lightly
water the Jade Tree, allowing the soil to dry out in between watering so the
roots will grow strong. By allowing the soil to dry, this also helps eliminate
top-heavy foliage. Typically, you should only water in the wintertime every two
to three weeks.
The Jade Tree needs a balanced fertilizer for vigorous growth. In addition, new
growth needs to be pinched back to encourage stronger growth toward the bottom.
While some types of bonsai do not do well with trunk reduction, the Jade Tree
does, often healing from wounds in a matter of one to two weeks. To train the
Jade Tree, it responds quite well to wiring, often within about three weeks.
Just remember if bent too far, the bark will snap. Finally, you want to repot
your Jade Tree bonsai about every two to three years, using inorganic compost
for the best result. The best mix would be 75% inorganic matter such as grit
with 25% organic or peat compost.