Jade (Crassula Ovata) - Help Bonsifying

imhar5h

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Hello Fellow Nuts, First time posting on this forum.

I am super excited with this recent acquisition of largeish Jade (Crassula Ovata), and need some help on what to do as next step. Its 2.5ft tall and quite heavy so I am looking to figure out how best to reduce and style it. What would be your recommendation? I am watching some of the other threads on this topic and trying to find a direction for this tree.

Also, is there a way to reduce leaf size at all? They seem to be quite large on this particular tree. Maybe defoliate to start?

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The other side:
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Leaf Size:
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Nanuk

Shohin
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Well over the years I've owned three of those.
I managed to kill them all, so I won't give any advice.
It is a nice healthy looking plant though.

I will just say welcome to the Nut house.
 

Forsoothe!

Omono
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I don't think the leaves reduce much. The bark, such as it is, scars easily, so there are trade-offs in training by standard wiring verses taking what you get with guy wires. I haven't really been able or courageous enough to bend the heavy branches and have settled for clip & grow. They bud back well and you pick & choose what to keep.
 

gallina1594

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Mines definitely not as mature as yours, but here's a clipping that I've been training for 2 years. Here's some of the things that I've learned.

Leaf size: You'll never be able to keep the foliage small all year. The only way to "reduce" is to defoliate a single pad, or the entire plant, and the new foliage will slowly grow back.

Branch Structure: With this plant, you pretty much take what you get. Continually remove the shoots that don't fit your picture. Where you break off a leaf, chances are, two new shoots will come out from that point.

Branch Wiring: anything smaller than your pinky will surely break with any amount of pressure. For traditional wiring methods, I wouldn't suggest trying to wrap anything smaller than your thumb, even then don't expect to get very much movement.

My most successful method for moving branches is creating anchors to pull down a branch, or to hang a weight off of a branch. You have a lot of control with those methods, but you're limited to the styles you can create.

Hope that gives you a good start!
15608273163018940496186509517859.jpg15608273523991063924237778277682.jpg
 

imhar5h

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Thank you for your comments. That is very informative and the pictures gave me some inspiration on how to shape this tree forward.

I tried wiring one of the branches I wanted to remove and see how far I could push and it barely moved at all before snapping. I think clip and shape will be the method I will go with.
 

fredman

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WoW that is a good looking one. Main branches in all the right places already. Yeah as said above pull it down with wires. They do bend, but very slowly. Don't bend it all at once...bit at a time. Clip and grow works best on them. Where its trimmed, it splits into two. Remove one and direction is changed. The leaves won't reduce much... grow it big to compensate. Trim the roots back well and put it in a shallow pot with free draining soil. Over time that'll keep the leaves as small as they can go. Water very sparingly over summer and none during winter. Slow on the fertilizer (1.1.1). Give it lots of sun (not to much direct when in a pot) during summer and autumn. That will help with the flowering come winter. You'll know its happy when the outer edges of the leaves are redish tinted.
 

leatherback

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You have a nice plant there. Considering this plant makes a poor bonsai, I would recommend just keeping the plant as it is. Maybe thin out here and there but do not try any major styling. It is a succulent and one that does not build wood. As such, it will not stay in place after unwiring.
 

fredman

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Like this? I thought maybe the red was caused by too much sun.
Yeah that's the start of it. Not there yet, but a good start. Vibrant green leaves with just the edges red is the object. With to much sun the leaves go yellow.
In their natural state they grow in harsh sun and they show that colour scheme. Things are different for them when potted up though. That's where we need to experiment and find their sweet spot....just enough sunlight and they do flower and show off their colours.
 

fredman

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Considering this plant makes a poor bonsai, I would recommend just keeping the plant as it is. Maybe thin out here and there but do not try any major styling. It is a succulent and one that does not build wood. As such, it will not stay in place after unwiring.
Agree. They don't make the best bonsai, but still worth playing with when starting bonsai. With the clip and grow method and growing it big, they can make an attractive "bonsai"...but yeah you're right, they do not stay in place well when wiring or guy wire is removed.
They do make for a very good fake bonsai though...:p
 

kale

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Put it outside as soon as it warms up enough and then midsummer after its acclimated and growing vigorously prune it with reckless abandon. I have a similar one and after one year of this I can wait to go nuts on it again next year with more aggression!
 

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