How to grow a jade plant into a tree. If you want to grow bonsai trees but are afraid of maintaining them or don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a mature tree, continue reading.
How to grow a jade plant into a tree
I’ll show you how to cultivate a fantastic starting bonsai—the dwarf Jade—from a cheap cutting to a magnificent tree using my simple procedures.
This lovely plant is one of my most forgiving and low-maintenance houseplants. It’s also my longest-living plant, and it’s a blast to shape and grow (and flaunt!).
The term “bonsai” literally translates to “placed in a shallow pot.” Bonsai trees are sometimes misunderstood as a specific species of genetically shrunken plant.
You can make bonsai out of almost any plant, although some are better suited to resembling small trees and thriving in shallow containers than others.
Choosing a Cutting
Find a cutting between 4 and 10 inches long and as thick as possible. The cutting can be a single trunk with no branching stems or a piece with branching branches. It’s entirely up to you!
If you fail in availing of a cutting from a friend or a store, you can usually find an inexpensive and cheery young jade bonsai tree. The trunks of these trees will be thinner and their shapes less established than those of mature trees.
That’s fine in my book because it gives you a blank canvas on which to practice pruning, learning about its growth habits, and honing your artistic vision for its form.
You have roots! It’s now time to plant your small tree-in-the-making into the soil. Bonsai soil is best (usually a mix of akadama, pumice, and lava rock), but I’ve never used it.
Instead, I used some cactus soil on hand, which worked perfectly. The most important consideration is to use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.
You must now select a pot. The container is something to choose with aesthetic intention and thoughtfulness for mature bonsai presentations. It is generally relatively shallow, but that doesn’t matter so much when you’re raising your little cutting.
Allow it to grow, allow it to thrive
Your newly planted jade bonsai prefers the brightest light possible and thrives in warm, low-humidity settings. Consider creating a desert-like environment in your home, as this is where jades originate.
However, our tolerant plant will thrive in medium light and withstand a cool draught if necessary.
Is it possible to maintain your bonsai outside? Jades are hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11, so if you live in one of those zones, you can give it a try — but I recommend keeping your delicate new tree indoors, away from the elements.
Pruning as a Prelude
The first of the prunes! Are you apprehensive? Don’t be that way. You can’t go wrong because the jade plant is such a fast grower that anything you cut away will regrow quickly!
When my plant is actively developing, I prune once a year in the spring or early summer. However, if you have a scorching climate in the surroundings, your Jade’s active growth season maybe winter.
In either case, your plant will let you know when it’s transitioning from dormant to vigorous growth, which is the perfect time to prune because it’ll have the energy to push forth new development after you’ve stripped it back to a twig.
It’s time for your Jade to have her first haircut! Trim between the bars/lines that wrap around the branches with sharp scissors or bonsai shears.
The stem will die back to the first line below your incision (dry out/seal up). The bars indicate where new growth is likely to occur.