Dwarf Jade Bonsai

Does anyone have any advice on training a dwarf jade plant? This is one of my first trees and I haven’t been able to find much information on training them for bonsai, or any other succulents that would be comparable.

The one that I have has an inverse taper at the base of the trunk. I thought that since these plants propagate from cuttings that I could stimulate root growth at this taper by mounding soil around it and establishing a new base slightly further up the trunk where it is wider. It seems like a good idea to me, but being that this is my first one I’m not sure if it will respond how I want it to.

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I have Jade. Treat them more like a cactus and they will love you for it. They are one of the few that can live indoors, but like all trees they want to be outside. Most people that kill them over water them, or let them freeze. They are tropical so protect from temps less than 40F or 5C. Adam is a tropical guy I enjoy reading, he’s a funny guy. You can search his blog for Jade info. He has tons of useful information.


Thanks a lot for the info! I’m pouring over Adam’s blog now. Just found out this tree likes to be pruned often and is edible. It’s a win-win!

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Post a photo. The reverse taper might not be a problem.
I have several smallerl portulacaria bonsai. Not my favorite. OK for indoors. Loves outside sun.

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After teasing away the soil I found there’s a slightly swollen base. After reading Adams blog I’m wondering if that swollen section will disappear as the trunk thickens.

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The reverse taper doesnt show…probably needs to store some water…
I’ll cut mine back before putting out for summer. Really liked full hot sun and organic fertilizer…

The article from Adam is really your best bet. I’ve kept a few jades alive and growing because of what I learned from him.

And I really do have to emphasize that the easiest way to kill them is by over watering.

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Thanks for the advice. I pruned a few branches to get the structure that I wanted to start with, otherwise it’s in the same soil and pot that it was in when I bought it. It’s currently in what looks like standard potting soil. I’ll keep it out in the sun, fertilize and after it drys out and shows new growth and recovery from the pruning, repot in a better soil mix. It’s getting into the 80’s during the day here in Texas.
I want to let it grow and thicken this summer. Should I keep it in this larger pot to give the roots more room to grow if I want to get a thicker trunk and branches?

I also pulled the moss and threw it in with some other trees. Didn’t seem like it’d be useful or appropriate for an arid species.

They can be defoliated for drastic internode reduction. The responding flush of growth will look more like little BBs than leaves.

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Hello everyone. First time here. Just revisiting this old thread because I recently watched the new archive video on succulent repotting. I have been working with Portulacaria Afra for about 7 years now and they are great trees to work with. Ryan mentioned being able to treat the whole tree as if it was a cutting and I can confirm this is entirely possible. About 7 years ago I purchased a tree with lots of potential but really hated the base. It lacked any real nebari and the look of stability but more importantly it had an ugly large overlapping root that I knew had to go. I had made new trees from branch cuttings but had no clue if I could flush cut everything off and it produce roots like a smaller branch. In theory it had to work. I risked the operation and it turned out better than expected. The last 6 years of the tree developing new roots from the cut site has created a large flaring Nebari that I’m very proud of. This same technique would definetly help reverse taper near the soil level. I thought I had a picture of the actual cut site but couldn’t locate it. I found one old picture and zoomed in on the base for you to see the before. Front



Sorry. It would only let me put one picture in a post. Here is the most recent picture from a similar angle.



Wow! Really looking good. I have the same species. A big mother plant from which I’ve cut some branches and easily got new plants. But, still afraid to cut the trunk completely like you did.

Same. @Kerria I made a lot of shohin trees from this one. I would say if you are thinking about doing it. Make sure the tree is in great health with no major work done recently. Once cut I made a frame to support it in the pot with dry soil and waited until I started to see root growth to water.


I can confirm both the water issue and the large tree “cutting” possibilities. I had a nice large ( 3 inch base) stock plant that I worked on and potted. It was doing ok, and then one day saw it in the pot a little crooked. Could I have not tied it in we’ll? Was it loose? I took the tree and started to adjust it and the entire tree came off in my hand. Oops. Root rot post potting/pruning. So I let the tree dry a day or two and sunk it deep in a nursery pot of straight small haydite. It rooted fine. Not the way I wanted to go about doing it, but it was a save.


Nice! It’s crazy what these are capable of. Makes them a fun and interesting species to work with.