Dwarf Jade Bonsai Help

canadianlights

Seedling
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Hello everyone! I am new to this forum and I am looking forward to growing bonsai and joining the art.

Recently, I was given a Jade Bonsai by my younger brother as a gift. However online, there is so much different varying information and I don't know what to follow in terms of care.

First of all, I am located in Canada. The sunlight I have right now at where I'm living doesn't provide enough light, but I got a grow light for the plant. My question is how long the grow light should be on, whether a grow light is sufficient for the jade, and how high the light should be situated in front of the plant.

Second of all, it is currently winter, but does that affect an indoor plant? If temperatures and the amount of light are kept consistent, does the season affect how the plant grows even though it is indoors? And if so, should I water the bonsai every three weeks?

There is also a lot of discussion about watering techniques. Some people say to submerge the pot, others say to water from the top. In this case, what would be the best method for watering this specific plant? Jade bonsai are easily overwatered, so should I wait till the leaves start to wrinkle a bit or should it be based on a schedule?

Finally, in what way do you guys best see fit to begin styling once that time comes? I am new to this art and want to know what would be a good way to head and what resources I can use to learn more about bonsai (specifically indoor). Here is a picture:
IMG_8115.jpg

Thank you for all your help, and if you guys have any other tips or advice for the future that would be fantastic!
 

canoeguide

Shohin
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Hi and welcome. I'll take a stab at answering your questions.

Recently, I was given a Jade Bonsai by my younger brother as a gift. However online, there is so much different varying information and I don't know what to follow in terms of care.
The common name of your tree is "Dwarf Jade," but this is problematic to use as an identifier, because there is an entirely different species (Crassula ovata) that is also commonly named "Jade". If you want the best advice for your tree, know that it is a Portulacaria afra, and only use this to identify it, or to search for help/info.

First of all, I am located in Canada. The sunlight I have right now at where I'm living doesn't provide enough light, but I got a grow light for the plant. My question is how long the grow light should be on, whether a grow light is sufficient for the jade, and how high the light should be situated in front of the plant.
The grow light can be on for between 12 and 16 hours a day, which will mimic a day/night cycle, which plants generally appreciate. If you have a south-facing (or any east, south, or west-facing) window, this can also help and your grow light will be supplemental. The light should be over the plant, and within a few inches is best. If it's further away than that, it's going to do dramatically less for the plant.

Second of all, it is currently winter, but does that affect an indoor plant? If temperatures and the amount of light are kept consistent, does the season affect how the plant grows even though it is indoors? And if so, should I water the bonsai every three weeks?
Portulacaria afra comes from Africa, which is close to the equator, which means that they don't really experience summer and winter in their native habitat. Generally, when growing tropical plants like this indoors as far north as you are, their growth will slow dramatically during the winter, based on the light they are receiving indoors. Even supplementing window light with a grow light, will still not come close to the light of the full sun in summer. Generally, we treat tropicals like this: they live indoors in the winter until temperatures are consistently above 50f outside, then they go outside into full shade for a week or two to get used to the brighter light outside without burning the leaves. Gradually eased into full sun, they will grow most rapidly during these summer months outdoors. Then in the autumn, when temperatures start to drop below 45f at night, they come back indoors to good windows or grow lights for the winter, where they will grow much more slowly. Don't, during any season, water on a schedule. See below.

There is also a lot of discussion about watering techniques. Some people say to submerge the pot, others say to water from the top. In this case, what would be the best method for watering this specific plant? Jade bonsai are easily overwatered, so should I wait till the leaves start to wrinkle a bit or should it be based on a schedule?
Never water on a schedule. (And again, don't call this plant a Jade since that is confusing.) You can top-water, or submerge the pot and it generally makes no difference. Submerging is just done when (for various reasons) it is suspected that the soil isn't getting wetted thoroughly during top-watering. It's fine to do, but you don't have to. You can wait to water until the leaves start to wrinkle a bit or the plant starts looking a bit sad. Keep in mind that this plant is a succulent, and stores a bunch of water in its leaves and trunk, so letting the soil go dry for a while (in winter, even a couple weeks) is fine and encouraged. A lot will depend on the soil that this is planted in: If it's well-draining (water should run right through quickly and out of the drainage holes of the pot) that's good. If you water it and the soil is staying wet for days and days, that's a problem and you'll have to water more carefully. Basically: Portulacaria afra don't die from much, except overwatering.

Finally, in what way do you guys best see fit to begin styling once that time comes? I am new to this art and want to know what would be a good way to head and what resources I can use to learn more about bonsai (specifically indoor)
For now, just focus on caring for it and let it grow. It will only improve and give you more options as it grows larger. Spend at least several months just looking at it before you do any "work." This site has a ton of info... search here, or just on google for "Portulacaria afra bonsai."
 

cmeg1

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Cool.I just bought one at Walmart today.
At this moment it is getting super duper hydroponic treatment....just to see what may happen....Jade on bio-stimulants? and co2 fertilization😆
Repotting......no dirt allowed in the hydro room!
 

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