Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baby Jade Bonsai

By: William Jones

Interested in growing your own bonsai? The first step is to choose the right type of plant.
Baby jade is a succulent bonsai that is also known as the Elephant Plant, Elephant Bush, or Small Leaf Jade. It is native to South Africa and makes an excellent bonsai for the home or office. It has thick pale-green leaves that are almost round. Water is stored in the fleshy branches, trunk, and leaves.

In natural environs the baby jade grows up to 3 or 4 meters in height. It is a newer specimen to be used for bonsai and is a good plant for beginners, because of its ability to survive for long periods of time without any water. It grow very quickly and can be adapted to any style.

When young, its bark is green, but then it can turn from reddish brown to slate gray. It is smooth and shows leaf scars conspicuously. Its fleshy leaves are almost circular and are about 1.5 cm in diameter. They vary in color from pale gray to pale gray-blue-green to dark green. The stems are reddish, and each pair of leaves is at a right angles to the next pair. The small pink to purplish flowers are star-shaped.

Baby jade can be grown outdoors in full sunlight or indoors with good lighting. It is a tropical plant and can withstand a variety of growing conditions, though it needs to be protected when the temperature drops below 50 F.

The soil needs to be almost dry before you water it. The trunk and branches have a tendency to droop from their own weight and are lovely for long cascades.

Drastic cuts can be made when styling this plant. Let the soil dry completely before removing heavy branches or roots. Water the plant sparingly until it recovers. Remove the terminal bud from any branch that you want to keep from growing any longer. You can shape the tree by pinching off buds and branches that are not growing where you want them to. This plant grows fast and needs to be pinched back frequently in the growing season.

When creating a small bonsai (mame), you can use 1 mm aluminum wire to rotate leaves and branches, though wiring is not as effective as it is with hard-wood species.

Spring is the best time to re-pot, though it can be accomplished at any time in the tropics. The soil needs to be fully dry before re-potting is done. The plant then needs to be kept in a shady spot until new growth appears again. Once new growth appears it can be watered again.

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William Jones writes for several web sites, on home and recreation topics.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Important Activities To Grow Bonsai Successfully

By Cindy Heller

The Chinese were the first people who grow bonsai plants
. Later on it spread to Japan and Korea before Western countries started learning the technique. There are many types of trees that can be made into bonsai and you need to know them if you want to grow bonsai. After you identify the tree that will be made into bonsai, there are certain monitoring and caring techniques that should be implemented to keep the tree grows healthily.

In general, the main purpose of many people in growing bonsai trees is to decorate their house and garden. Bonsai basically has the same characteristics as the ordinary trees, while the main difference is obviously its size. There is certain knowledge and experience that you should have to grow bonsai because the way to grow bonsai is not the same as growing ordinary trees.

Many people are afraid to grow bonsai trees because they think that it is a challenging thing to do. It is true that growing bonsai is not walking in the park activity, but there are certain steps that you can follow. When you understand these steps and have sufficient experience, you will realize that growing bonsai is fun and relaxing. If you still feel uncomfortable, then you should start with beginner bonsai trees to practice and gain experience. Do not be afraid to make mistakes because bonsai making is an art and you will learn from those mistakes.

For beginner bonsai trees, you may want to try growing juniper bonsai. This tree is easy to grow and train, but also has a pleasant appearance. Another alternative is the Japanese maple. You can get these trees from nurseries or buy online. It is better if you buy from nurseries so you can check and be sure of the condition of the tree. If you select a healthy plant in the beginning, you will decrease a lot of problems in the future.

Activities in growing bonsai

There are several activities that you should be aware of in growing bonsai trees. The first is that you should repot the tree every one or two years, preferably during early spring. Potting compost with a mix of sand or grit should be ready at hand to replace the soil. During repotting, it is a good idea to prune the roots of the tree as well. Bonsai grows in a small pot and over time the roots can become compacted inside the small pot. Therefore, you should prune these roots to release the pressure and also to keep the tree small.

Proper watering is another key activity in growing bonsai. The soil of most bonsai trees has to be kept moist all the time because dry soil will kill the bonsai easily. However, too much water is also harmful because it can rot the roots and kill the plant. Finding the balance is essential in this case. In addition, bonsai pots should have sufficient number of drain holes so water can drain properly.

Bonsai also needs sufficient amount of sunlight to grow properly. It is recommended that it receives three to six hours of sunlight everyday. The last activity that you should know is pruning the crown of the bonsai. The main attractiveness of a bonsai is its appearance and thus you should maintain its beautiful appearance by pruning the crown regularly. This pruning is also important to restrict the growth of the tree.

About the Author

Cindy Heller is a professional writer. For more tips on growing bonsai trees, please visit indoor bonsai care.