Green Jade bonsai shed all leaves-help

greenygrowSeptember 23, 2009

My green jade otherwise healthy tree has shed all its leaves and the top branches are drying up too. I am worried.

This summer as planned I didn't get a chance to repot or fertilize.

I am worried now do I need to do an emergency repotting.

Any suggestions please help.

Also any ideas where and what is a good bonsai place to get involved in Dallas. I just moved here.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Howdy! Welcome to the Forum!
First of all, let's determine what sort of plant you have.
Is it the succulent Jade, Crassula ovata?
Or perhaps a Portulacaria afra, the Elephant's Food Bush?
Or is it a different tree entirely?

How large of a pot?

What kind of soil?

What kind of sun?

In Texas, your plants will dry out very quickly!

What can you tell us about the plant's living conditions?



    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 9:51AM
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Thanks for the welcome and very relevant questions seems I have come to the right place.
Well my bonsai is a portulacaria afra, it is a 13 inch tree with a trunk radius of about 1 1/2 inch. The pot is a two inch deep and 9 inch oval ceramic one. The soil in the pot looks like it has small pieces of gravel in it. My plant was repotted two yrs ago at a nursery in Boston. So far I have sat it next to a sunny window and now in Texas there has been no dearth of sunlight. I gave it sun for about 6-8 hrs a day. The watering schedule was immersion in a sink for about 25 min at a sitting. This was needed about once in four days in the summer but rest of the yr it has been around once in 8-10 days depending on the drying out of the soil. I live in an apartment and so at night my bonsai sits on a book shelf in a well lit and airy area. Also in the summer I tried to give the tree some time outside a couple of hours on the balcony.
All was going well until two weeks ago athe leaves starting dropping off. Now my beautiful broom style tree is bare of leaves and has a network of branches, the tops of which are shrivelled.
I suspect root damage and am wondering if I should go ahead with an emergency repotting.
PS- I also nuture my plant with songs and loving words

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 11:09AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, do an emergency re-potting...
At the very least, give the roots a close inspection.
It sounds to me as though your plant is actually too dry.

In Texas, you'll probably have to protect your plant during the hottest part of the day. In a small container, those roots will be bone-dry or steam-cooked in short order. Morning sun would be good at this point, while you give it a chance to recover. Perhaps shade the container.

I grow both the straight Port. afra and the variegated form. I have found that they will lose their leaves if I don't keep them moist. I made the mistake of treating them like Crassula ovata when I re-potted, and I lost nearly every leaf on my three plants.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 2:33PM
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My green jade bonsai is almost gone. I repotted it and surprisingly the root system was good and not rotten like I had thought. Instead the entire tree has rotted under the bark. The brown bark looked okay but when I peeled it it was black inside.
I am so confused what happened to my plant. I hoped the repotting would help but the bonsai expert just repotted and didn't give a verdict.
Now I am wondering what bonsai to have in Dallas, but right now I am in mourning.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 11:04AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Shoot, that is disappointing. I'm sorry to hear about the tree. I guess you can give it a bit longer, just to see if the roots will put out some new growth.

As to which plants will grow well in Dallas, I would look to the drought-tolerant, sun-loving plants...that can also handle a bit of cold.

One of my favorite trees is a dwarf olive, Olea europea, 'Skylark.' I grow mine in a mix that is almost entirely gravel and bark, with a bit of pumice and a handful of bonsai potting soil for moisture. I really let it dry out between waterings, the dry hillsides of Spain or Italy or the Holy Land....

That said, I think you should try your hand at a Portulacaria afra again. In the right potting mix, in an appropriately sized container, I think you'll have great success!


    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 11:57AM
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I'd like to share that I'm experencing the same issue with my portucacara afra. I purchased it at a Bonsai show and was told it was great for beginners. But I'm down to a skeleton and I'm losing 10-14 leaves a day! Some of the leaves shrivel and turn brown but others are plumb green leaves, plus I've lost a couple of the top stems. I've only had the plant for about 6 weeks and am not a green thumb kind of person. I've been watering once a week. And I've got it in my office under artifical light but about 7 feet away from a south facing window. I had it right by the window for about 3 weeks but it was only a foot away from the A/C vent and I was concerned it would get to cold.

I'm feeling defeated with what I thought was going to be an easy transition into growing an indoor plant. Heavy sigh!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 6:57PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It needs much, much more light than that, I'm afraid.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 8:40PM
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