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 The Jade Tree Bonsai

 By Erik A. Olsen

Interestingly, many people never think of the Jade Tree as a good option for bonsai. While it can be trained, there are special considerations. For instance, the leaves are beautiful and succulent but because the stalks are extremely soft, they can be damaged easily. Therefore, if you decide you want to try training a Jade Tree bonsai, you will have to be extra careful and patient. As a member of the evergreen family that is native to South Africa, the Jade Tree is very hearty with a thick trunk. This particular tree is capable of holding large quantities of water due to the thickness of the leaves, which means you do not have to water as often as you might with other types of bonsai.

The Jade Tree Is a great choice for both low and high light conditions, it is literally a maintenance free choice, and grows to about seven inches tall and seven inches wide when planted in a ceramic pot and trained. The shape of the Jade Tree also makes it an interesting choice since it is a little different from other shapes you would typically see used for bonsai. For one thing, the Jade Tree is a single trunk so the final look is unique but still beautiful. Even the leaves are unique from other types of trees used for bonsai, which makes it a real conversation piece.

In the wild, the Jade Tree will easily grow to heights of four to six feet. If you grow this type of tree outdoors, you want to keep the spacing between 24 and 36 inches apart. In addition, this particular tree needs full sun and when it produces blooms, you have magnificent color of pink, purple, and white or off-white, which appear in the mid-winter months, usually around the Christmas holiday. Again, because the Jade Tree is so good at maintaining water, you want to take extra care not to over-water. Additionally, remember that this type of tree grows extremely slow. In fact, it can take up to 20 years just to reach three feet tall. Now, while you will not be growing the tree that tall for bonsai, it does show the amount of patience you will need during the training process.

If you want your Jade Tree bonsai to bloom, which most people do, you need to keep in mind that the shortening of the days is what triggers this reaction. Therefore, if you grow the plant inside where the lights are turned off at night do not be surprised if the tree fails to bloom at all. Instead, if you want to enjoy the gorgeous blooms of the Jade Tree, try to find a better place where it will get plenty of natural sunlight starting in the early autumn months, typically around the month of late September or early October.

Some people who use the Jade Tree for bonsai will place it in a greenhouse after it has been kept indoors. With that, you would often see a beautiful red on the tips of the leaves and lots of brilliant growth. Most people who grow this type of bonsai agree it is a magnificent, impressive plant. Unfortunately, when grown outdoors, the Jade Tree is highly susceptible to aphids so you have to keep a close eye on pests. As you begin to train the Jade Tree bonsai, you will fall in love with this plant, especially when the blooms begin to appear.

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