Monday, February 9, 2009

My little Jade Bonsai

Bonsai is one of those plant sub-hobbies that really interests me.  I enjoy the simple, pristine artwork that combines nature and creativity to create something that, in the end, looks like a miniaturized version of nature itself.  Bonsai is a lot like some of the other plant sub-hobbies that I enjoy.  Just as I enjoy setting up terrariums and aquariums, little worlds of life - bonsai mimics nature on a small scale.

I haven't really had much experience with bonsai, but I do have a couple of empty bonsai dishes.  Those containers are reminders of gifts that didn't work out.  Twice I have received small Gardenias that were formed like bonsais and I lost them both.  I decided I simply don't have the right growing conditions for Gardenias. Having these great shallow pots, I decided to try starting a bonsai myself.  After reading through a really informative, short book (Bonsai: 101 Essential Tips by Harry Tomlinson) with lots of pictures for inspiration, I thought I would like to try a small cotoneaster.  I knew that the local Lowe's store carried these during the growing year.  I bought the smallest cotoneaster I could find in the fall of 2006.  I think it was in October, maybe.  I cut back the limbs and roots as I had been instructed in the book I read and potted the cotoneaster in my bonsai container.  Unfortunately, I think the little plant had already gone dormant and it was really not a good time to be doing any pruning.  I didn't ever see any life out of him.

I decided the next time I try a bonsai, it will be from a seedling or a very young plant that is healthy.  Either that, or I will purchase a bonsai that has already been started.

So, when my mother-in-law gave me a handful of Jade plant pieces that could be rooted, I knew that I had a good candidate.  I chose the smallest little piece and potted him very carefully  in one of my bonsai containers.

My little Jade bonsai start
I have seen some really nice Jade bonsai trees in books and on the internet.  I hope to gradually learn more about the art of bonsai as this Jade plant slowly grows to size.  I can shape and prune the plant carefully and hopefully end up with a strong, thick-trunked little Jade bonsai tree in the future.

Jade bonsai inspiration - from
Jade bonsai inspiration - from


  1. Hey Zach, Good luck with the Jade, I have a 15 year old
    Jade Tree. When you have Jade cuttings, leave them out
    for about 4 days before planted them into a pot. When
    Succulents scabs on the stems they take root at a faster

  2. That's adorable! I think a jade is a brilliant candidate for bonsai - because they don't mind going dry. I'll bet that's how the gardenia was lost. I have a tiny lime bonsai at home and it's a bugger to remember to water it about every 5 minutes!

  3. i have a couple of jade trees as house plants they are virtually indestructible,you often see them in liberarys and staff rooms abandoned but thriving.a piece of advice:
    let the soil dry out then water them from below.what i mean by that is put them in a saucer then fill the saucer with water. have no idea why this makes a difference but it does.i gave my neighbour a plant and saw it submerged in a saucer water the next day and so i told him it did not need that much water,but lo and behold it works the cutting i gave him is now bigger than the original.also pick out the growing tips every 3 months this always causes fresh branches and smaller leaves.

  4. I've just purchase a Jade and planted it in a small bosai dish with bonsai soil and spagnum moss and somewhat large rocks. So, not sure how I'd like it to to look as the days come. If I could attach a pic I would. If you would let me know how to send a way how to send a pic I will.

    I'm interested in how to feed it. For now of course 20-20-20 to begin with.

    Interesting site.

    Thank you.
    Joe Bellinger