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Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

Posted by benst (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 5, 13 at 12:32


there is often the discussion if you can use Jade trees for bonsai. In my opinion they are suited quite well ... especially for african style bonsai like peernef or baobab style. However, when googeling for crassula+bonsai you only find very few good examples ... most of the pictures are from still relativ small speciments with a bad leaf-size to trunk-size ratio.
In this thread i ask you to show pics of your jade bonsai, just to get ideas what you can do with this species and it cultivars.
To start, here some pics of my largest jade trees, not yet in typical bonsai pots ...

"Hummels Sunset"

normal green Jade

"Skinny Fingers"

C.arboreescens Silver Dollar ... due to its big leaf size this cultivar is not perfectly suited for bonsai, however just want to give it a try. Maybe if the plant is very big one day i will work.

The best Crassula ovata cultivar for bonsai seems to be the small leaf variant "Crosby's Compact".

... finally a project that i started five years ago with a small cutting of crosby's compact. The goal is to produce a strait main stem of around 60 cm with an umbrella shaped top. To get the strait stem with no bigger wounds i cutted away all developing new site branches just when they started to develope, only allowing the main branch to grow. Additionaly to get very short internodes, which later should give an interesting branch structure, i never fertilized the plant and grew it under quite hard conditions with lots of light and little water. I know that it will take very, very long to get a nice plant, but if you compare the internodes to the skinny fingers that was started in a dutch greenhouse and was very fast growing in its first years, i think it might be worth and one day could produce an outstanding bonsai. Right now the stem is about 45 cm ... so maybe two more years until I will allow the developement of the treetop ;)



Looking forward to see pics of your jade tree bonsais

Best regards,

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

Cheers, Ben!

I fully agree that these succulents make excellent candidates for bonsai...but, as you note, certain varieties lend themselves better to bonsai presentation. Your Crassula are brilliant!

I was so eager to get some pics to add to this Thread that I was rather sloppy with my camera work. But I hope these give an idea of my various plants in progress...not even close to being "finished."

Let's start with the largest leafed and least likely to have good proportions when small, Crassula arborescens "Silver Dollar Jade."

RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

And a shot of the same plant in the hand....

RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

A very poor picture of Crassula ovata 'Gollum.'

RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

And a very poor picture of Crassula ovata 'Skinny Fingers.'

RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

Hi Josh,
thanks for the pictures. I especially like your "Skinny Fingers" ... it already has a very nice shape.

It is always interesting how the same cultivar could look under different conditions. Whereas your Skinny Fingers has more shorter tubes, mine developes very long and thin tubes ... although it is grown in full sun.

However maybe there are also other reasons for, like the high mutability of this group of cultivars ...

There exist a nice overview article about the Tolkien-group of jade trees where they note ... "This chameleon seems to change its form readily and the mutated branches can be easily propagated to produce a new cultivar." (Crassulacea No. 2 - Jan. 2013 - Crassula ovata Tolkien Group)

You can find the article here:


RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

Thank you, Ben, for the nice comments and the article address! Also, thanks for advising me on my oblique leafed Jade...had you not, I might have continued to remove those variegated leaves!

When I purchased my 'Skinny Fingers' Jade, it did have longer leaves...but I've grown it hard, and the leaves have shortened. This is the same with my other 'Gollum' and 'Hobbit' Jade sports. If I re-pot them, I think they will grow more lush. That said, these are indeed very mutable sports, and a variety of leaf-forms appear on each from time to time.


RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

  • Posted by whip1 z5 ne Ohio (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 2, 13 at 11:11

I have a couple of Jades that I'm working on. This is the best looking one at the moment.
 photo 002_zps7510f710.jpg

Ben, Thanks for starting this thread. I'm a big Jade fan, and I enjoy looking at others pictures.


RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

Hey, Rob, sorry I didn't come back to this Thread sooner.
The Finger Jades ('Gollum' and 'Skinny Fingers') make the best "instant" bonsai, in my opinion. Great plants.


RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

All these are great! I am new to bonsai and taking care of plants in general but i picked up a few jade plants for cheap over the past year and have been perusing the internet to see the possibilities. I will post pictures this week of what I have so far and maybe you lovely folks can give me some tips on how to best achieve a more presentable bonsai.


RE: Jade tree (Crassula ovata & arborescens) as bonsai ... pics

Sure thing, Brian!


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