Portulacaria Afra Progression

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340
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726
Location
St Louis, MO
USDA Zone
6a
#1
Inspired by @Gustavo Martins post on his P Afra, I thought I would share a progression of one of mine. There is some debate as to whether these are considered Bonsai. But for me, they are great way to learn because they respond to bonsai techniques and are very hardy.

After 3 years, I’ve learned there is a delicate balance as you learn. On the one hand, you want (and need) to try different techniques. There’s only so much reading you can do. Doing is the best way to learn. On the other hand, the learning from a tree stops after it dies. Keeping the tree alive over years is such an important step towards understanding bonsai and the training techniques.

The Portulacaria Afra offers the chance to apply several techniques (wire, pruning, clip and grow, etc) while being almost impossible to kill. If you are new to Bonsai, continue to chop up those nursery junipers, but I highly recommend adding these as well.

Now onto my progression!

Summer of 2015, As purchased from my local big box store:
20150826_144209208_iOS.jpg
Summer 2016, After one year of growth 20160706_232505099_iOS.jpg
Summer of 2016, first re-pot 20160816_202526102_iOS.jpg
Winter 2016, decide to apply to some Peter Adams techniques from his books on creating taper in deciduous trees Before: 20161208_234033915_iOS.jpg
After: 20170104_030940296_iOS.jpg
Again, let it grow, this is Summer of 2017, re-pot and cut back Before: 20170701_154721475_iOS.jpg 20170701_155858282_iOS.jpg
After: 20170701_164028725_iOS.jpg

Now the basic structure is beginning to take shape.

Summer of 2018, after another re-pot and into this Bokeno oval that fits better with the feminine design and works well I think with the bright green leaves. image.jpg
 
Messages
10
Likes
1
Location
Utah
USDA Zone
7a
#3
Looks Great!!
I have been experimenting with cutting of P Afra this year and got some cuttings to root by placing them in water, but i was also told that this was almost impossible. What techniques do you use to root your cuttings?
 
Messages
16
Likes
29
Location
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
#8
I've always just put them in a pot with a regular potting mix, leave for a week or so and then water. Have never not had one take - and these include some cuttings with circumference of more than 30 cm (I'm blessed to have a neighbour who has had a portulaccaria bush growing in her front yard since the 1960s - its a beast and an endless supply of cuttings!!!)
 
Messages
340
Likes
726
Location
St Louis, MO
USDA Zone
6a
#10
I've always just put them in a pot with a regular potting mix, leave for a week or so and then water. Have never not had one take - and these include some cuttings with circumference of more than 30 cm (I'm blessed to have a neighbour who has had a portulaccaria bush growing in her front yard since the 1960s - its a beast and an endless supply of cuttings!!!)
Do you have a picture of that PBush?
 
Messages
16
Likes
29
Location
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
#11
I've attached some photos showing size of cuttings.
First picture is a nice fat cutting taken earlier this year and coming along nicely.
Second picture is also from a cutting taken a few years ago and developing into a nice bonsai. Basketball behind shows how big it is!!
No I'm not in St Kilda (in Coburg). I'll post a picture shortly as neighbours on holidays.


g image1 (1).jpeg image1.jpeg
 
Messages
10
Likes
1
Location
Utah
USDA Zone
7a
#12
I've attached some photos showing size of cuttings.
First picture is a nice fat cutting taken earlier this year and coming along nicely.
Second picture is also from a cutting taken a few years ago and developing into a nice bonsai. Basketball behind shows how big it is!!
No I'm not in St Kilda (in Coburg). I'll post a picture shortly as neighbours on holidays.


g View attachment 206870 View attachment 206871
Very nice tree. Wish these grew local where i am....
 
Messages
10
Likes
1
Location
Utah
USDA Zone
7a
#14
People grow them as house plants - just need a sunny window for it in the winter.
I have several. I just meant so i could collect cuttings of this caliber. I cant find anything bigger than 2 inches in diameter here.
 
Messages
622
Likes
786
Location
ShenZhen, China
USDA Zone
10
#16
Inspired by @Gustavo Martins post on his P Afra, I thought I would share a progression of one of mine. There is some debate as to whether these are considered Bonsai. But for me, they are great way to learn because they respond to bonsai techniques and are very hardy.

After 3 years, I’ve learned there is a delicate balance as you learn. On the one hand, you want (and need) to try different techniques. There’s only so much reading you can do. Doing is the best way to learn. On the other hand, the learning from a tree stops after it dies. Keeping the tree alive over years is such an important step towards understanding bonsai and the training techniques.

The Portulacaria Afra offers the chance to apply several techniques (wire, pruning, clip and grow, etc) while being almost impossible to kill. If you are new to Bonsai, continue to chop up those nursery junipers, but I highly recommend adding these as well.

Now onto my progression!

Summer of 2015, As purchased from my local big box store:
View attachment 200048
Summer 2016, After one year of growth View attachment 200049
Summer of 2016, first re-pot View attachment 200050
Winter 2016, decide to apply to some Peter Adams techniques from his books on creating taper in deciduous trees Before: View attachment 200051
After: View attachment 200052
Again, let it grow, this is Summer of 2017, re-pot and cut back Before: View attachment 200053 View attachment 200054
After: View attachment 200055

Now the basic structure is beginning to take shape.

Summer of 2018, after another re-pot and into this Bokeno oval that fits better with the feminine design and works well I think with the bright green leaves. View attachment 200056
Noice, I also have a year old cutting. Think I’m gonna “commandeer” your design idea to Shape it a bit better
 
Messages
16
Likes
29
Location
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
#18
Portulaccaria progression
12 months down the track and coming along beautifully.
Been a hot summer in Melbourne...lots of days in the high 30s and low 40s.
So tried something new and watered these guys heavily and they have grown rapidly and look really healthy.
I’ll cut back watering at the end of summer and will have some great stock to start working with next summer,
Highly underrated trees,,,
 

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