succulent bonsai

dutchiebonsaiDecember 10, 2013

Hi there,

Last year i started a small bonsai collection, of decidouis an evergreens.
When i visited my grandma this weekend, she had a large succulent, which looked really promissing to me, and was to big for her. But when and where should i prune it? I have done some pruning already, but i lack experience with succulents.... The plant is about 50 cm tall.

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That's a classic bonsai subject (at least as far as succulents go - nontrad. bonsai to begin with). It's a Crassula argentea, and very common everywhere. You can root each razor sliced off leaf by letting it dry overnight on a shelf and then sticking it in appropriate soil, or cut a stem and essentially do the same thing, OR you can go to your nearest supermkt etc. and just buy a small one! The pieces will take some time to root, so why not get a head start, though I understand you're trying to help your grandmother. Wherever you slice it, use a very sharp ... something. These trees are not trained the same way e.g. junipers would be - any wire will cut into the stems, but the plants will grow towards the sun in time and that can be used as directional help, plus prior to stems becoming very woody, you can use weights to encourage some to bend lower, but the essential architectural nature of the tree, with smart pruning, becomes an 'automatic' bonsai if you do it right.
I personally wouldn't touch your tree tho', except to take off a leaf or two - perhaps do a bit of branch pruning, but it's so nice as is!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Thank you moochinka! I'll restrict the pruning to the longer top branches, so they will get a bit stiffer, in order to give it a bit more of a "tree" feel. Again, thnx for the answer!
Ps new foto is from the same pruningstage, yet from a better viewpoint.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Sorry... can't delete on this site, didn't mean to post twice.

This post was edited by moochinka on Sun, Dec 15, 13 at 9:06

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 4:40PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, it is the classic Jade plant - and the current nomenclature is Crassula ovata. I would not do any pruning right now, but would wait until Summer when the resulting new growth will be more compact.

Check out this Thread, featuring a few varieties of Jade as bonsai and pre-bonsai specimens: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics


    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:15PM
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These plants are so easy to grow and start from cuttings! I have a few plants that I easily grew from cuttings. Will try to take some pics and post them tomorrow.

I prefer stem cuttings over the leaf because you get quicker results. Try experimenting shaping the pieces you pruned by removing unwanted leaves or branches then stick them into the ground to root.

Have fun...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 1:32AM
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Wow... what a specimen! Would love to see what you do with it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:49AM
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Very nice jade! Any chance of a pic that has something near the jade to give a size reference? I can't tell if it's huge or just the photos that are giving me that impression.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:40AM
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Awesome jade tree!I have a few myself dont not to cut the leaves in half to make them grow smaller i've tried it and the leaves only get wrinkely and light green but the tree is still alive after about a month and try branch trimming and plant the branches to make more of them wich you could use as bonsais

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 5:13PM
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I have just givin it a little bit of pruning today, since the weather in the netherlands is great for the time of year, and because it stands in a greenhouse at work, whith temp over 20 degrees Celsius. I will post a pictute later on. Someof you asked about the size, at the moment it is about 60 cm tall. The next step is to find a bonsai dish that is suitable....the pic is of my others projects.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 1:33PM
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Dutchie you sure have made me a jealous man! All of your specimen look vibrant and the greenhouse is very cool as well.

What do you grow at work? I have had the good fortune of making good friends with a fellow from your region (now residing in Eindhoven, Netherlands) that worked at a Tropica DK. We used trade, id send him some rare tropicals and he'd send me some Tropica plants and goods. Actually I set up an international group buy for Tropica Plant Nutrition+ which isn't available here in the states! I'm sorry for rambling but those were good times and I have great memories of some of the cool stuff my Nordic pal sent!

Tell me your last name isn't Van Den Hoven? :)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:46AM
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