A Bonsai Tree for the Novices

images (26) Bonsai trees can be quite challenging to grow and maintain especially if you are a beginner and know nothing about them. However, there is one particular favorite bonsai well suited for neophytes that is the Jade Bonsai. Also known as the Small Leaf Jade or Elephant Plant, this succulent plant is native to South Africa.
The Jade tree bonsai develops more quickly than other types of bonsai. It has a very extensive trunk and can grow up to 3 to 4 meters in the wild. Because it is succulent, it has a great capacity to hold water in its thick leaves, branches, and trunk, meaning it doesn’t need often watering compared to other types.
The lovely tree is easy to maintain and it looks great. While the plant is young its bark is green but it eventually turns reddish brown to slate gray as it matures. It has fleshy leaves that have a blue-green color and produces bunches of star-shaped pinkish to purple flowers during autumn. Its thick and slender trunk and branches make beautiful cascades. The Jade Bonsai is beautiful as a home or office ornament.  Although the Jade Bonsai is easier to maintain unlike the other types, it still needs proper tailored care. Being a tropical plant, it can’t tolerate very cold climates. So if you live in a cold region, it is best to keep it inside as an indoor plant. Meanwhile if you are in a warmer area that is full of sunshine, the plant will do better outdoors. You should still water it regularly but be careful in adding too much water. Just remember to keep the soil moist.
Like in any other bonsai, pruning and shaping is part of its care. Pruning is needed for stronger truncal growth and for reducing the leaf-size. Reducing the trunk encourages new growth from the wound after a week or two. Be sure to pinch gently on the trunk and branches since the Jade tree is soft and delicate.
The Jade tree responds very well to wiring and can be contoured in new shapes within three to four weeks. Be very careful in wiring because the branches can snap if they are bent too much. Because the branches become turgid when full of water, be conservative in watering the plant prior to wiring it so decrease the chances of snapping it.
Your Jade bonsai also needs repotting every two years. Done early in spring, it is important to dry the soil fully before repotting. Then, place it in a shady place until you see new growth. After that, water it as usual.

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