Everything you need to know about Jade Bonsai Plant

The dwarf bonsai are your perfect houseplants! These succulent bonsai trees have small luscious green and fleshy leaves that store water and a woody trunk, making them adorable bonsai trees. 

Caring for jade bonsai plants is also relatively easy and beginner-friendly. The plants grow well indoors, though you can have a better chance to harvest flowers in the spring when placed outdoors. The flowering phase is absent when you grow the dwarf jade plant indoors.

Let’s have brief look at the key specifications of a Jade bonsai tree

Botanical namePortulacaria Afra
Common nameminiature jade, small-leaf jade, dwarf jade, elephant bush
DescriptionThe dwarf jade plants are succulent plants and are found in the dry regions of South America. Though the plants are grown worldwide for their adaptability. The tree has oval-shaped thick leaves and a brown woody thick stem. As they are succulents, they can withstand drought seasons pretty well.
Height50 cm
Width40 cm
Sunlight Full sunlight or semi-shaded. Avoid frost and cold winter climates.
WateringWatering can be reduced to 10 or 20 days at once. The fleshy leaves of the plant can hold in lots of moisture.
FertilizingFertilize the plant twice a month during the growing season, avoid over-fertilization during the flowering period.
Pruning timeDo frequent pruning on a yearly basis. Avoid pruning once the summer starts. 
Repotting timeReplanting the plant depends on the plant’s growth varying from 2-5 years. If the plants are dwarf variety then they grow slow and require less repotting.
Life span50 years
NoteThe jade plants can bloom with star-shaped white and pink flowers when they are placed outside. Though they don’t flower when grown indoors as they find it hard to adapt to artificial climates. And flowers need a proper dormant period to develop buds.

What is Jade bonsai?

Jade bonsai trees are small succulents found native to South America. These shrubs have small thick leaves and woody stems. They are also known as dwarf jade plants or elephant bushes. 

You can make bonsai jade plants in the comfort of your home. The growth rate in these plants is slow. So with regular pruning, you can easily reduce the size of the dwarf plants. 

Being succulent, they tolerate dryness, humidity and shade. These perennial shrubs can live forever in your window sills with minimal care from your side—a great choice to grow indoors as they are small in size and adapt quickly. 

How to Bonsai a Jade Plant

To begin with, it would be best if you purchase the best variety of dwarf jade plants. With small leaves and a strong woody trunk, a healthy variety will work the best. You can choose a species from plants like ‘Hobbit,’ ‘California Red Tip,’ ‘Tricolor’, and ‘Bronze Beauty.’

Now let’s get into the business- a step by step guide on ‘how to make jade bonsai.’ 

Step 1: Selecting the planter pot

Choose a deep planter pot that allows healthy root spread and suits the leaves spread of the tree.

Step 2: Add a vinyl mesh base to control drainage

Place a mesh of vinyl wires on the inner side of the planter pot. Secure them with thicker wires by looping them from the outside to the inside.

Step 3: Installing the anchor wires

The anchor wires are looped over the pot by passing them through the mesh. By doing so, we assure that the plants are firmly placed in the pot.

Step 4: Prepare the soil mix.

Choose a well-draining soil mixture to plant your bonsai jade plant. Either make your bonsai soil or buy a readymade bonsai soil mixture from the nursery.

Step 5: Pick the mature tree from its base soil

Carefully remove the root of the jade tree from its soil without damaging the roots. Wash and clean the root from soil and dirt. 

Step 6: Trim the roots

Cut the damaged and dead roots. Also, shape the plant base to fit its new planter pot by untangling and trimming them.

Step 7: Prune the shoot

Defoliate the plant by removing all the leaves. Doing so will reduce the stress while repotting the plant. Prune the slender twigs and branches with sharp, sterilized scissors. Use a concave cutter to create rounded canopy shaped cut ends.

Step 8: Planting the cuttings

Start by spreading the soil mix in the pot. Place the jade plant cuttings after filling half of the pot, ensuring the roots are well spread. Fill the remaining pot space with the soil mixture.

Step 9: Add Fertilizer

Spread dry pellets of granular fertilizers on top of the soil. Later cover the entire pot with moss or small pebbles to protect the topsoil.

Step 10: Water them!

Pour water thoroughly until the excess water seeps through the planter pot’s drainage holes. Once the soil is moist and well-drained, please place it in a sunny location to start growing.

Once the shoots start growing, train your jade plant to make it a bonsai. Use styling techniques like pruning and wiring to control the plant’s growth in the desired shape and directions.

How to Grow a Jade Bonsai

The dwarf jade trees are propagated easily through cuttings. Here is a step by step process to help you out!

1. Select a cutting

Using sterilized garden scissors, cut a branch from a healthy, matured dwarf jade tree. Do the cutting only when the plant is completely dry. If not, too much water will be retained in the stem, making it difficult to propagate. 

2. Prepare the cutting

Trim away any leaves or twigs in the cutting. It would be best if you could dip the root tip inside a rooting hormone to encourage growth. 

3. Plant the cutting

Fill the planting pot with bonsai soil and fertilizers. Plant the cutting in the soil and cover the bottom one third with soil.

4. Water the cutting

Once the plants are packed in the planter pot, transfer the pot to a sunny spot in your home, preferably your window sill. Water the plant thoroughly until the excess water is drained out.

After a few weeks of regular watering and sunlight, growth begins. 

Jade Bonsai Care guidelines

Jade bonsai plants are an easily grown variety. The caring steps of these plants are also simple. It would be best to care for and maintain the plant for faster growth regularly. Here we discuss the different aspects to take care of while growing a jade bonsai tree.

Positioning & Temperature

The jade plant grows well indoors though placing them outer will get better results. The jade bonsai plants are easy to grow as home plants. They grow very well with minimal lighting. Make sure you provide a good temperature inside. Never let the bonsai plants freeze. Frost delicate plants can die when exposed to freezing temperatures.

The jade bonsai plant enjoys sunlight and has the best foliage and flowering when you let them stay outside. This is because the plants understand the change in the climatic conditions, eventually increasing their growing process.


Though most bonsai trees require regular watering, the dwarf jade plant requires less. These are succulent plant varieties natively grown in the dry region of the globe. 

The leaves of the plants are small yet fleshy. They hold back the moisture and do not require additional watering. Most advised watering duration is hydrating them once every 10 or 20 days.

Perfect bonsai to grow if you keep forgetting to water your plants regularly

Do not overwater the plants as they might damage the roots and create diseases.


The jade plants are house plants. They often react badly to dry, humid conditions. Avoid such scenarios by placing the bonsai plant on a water tray. Let the roots absorb the needed water and also increase the air humidity. The best practice will be to do misting. This assures the air is humid enough for the succulents.


The jade bonsai trees are capable of accepting both solid and liquid fertilizers. However, dilute the liquid fertilizers to reduce the chemical properties. Doing so also avoids the stress on the plants.

Feed the plants twice every month during summers and once a month during winters. Add organic pellets to the soil and allow them to do the magic. 

Fertilizers speed up the growing process in the plant, though they don’t induce growth. Over-fertilizing can induce stress in the bonsai trees. Refrain from overfertilizing the plants to avoid such stress, especially growing the flowering season.


Pruning allows the plants to grow into bonsai. It controls the random spread of the plant and gives its direction. Pruning dwarf jade plants also helps control the wide branch spread and growth directions.

Before you prune, check if the soil is completely dry. This indicates that the plant is also relatively dry, so you will minimize the damage by cutting. Trim the unwanted branches and dead branches first. Later trim half of the new growth, leaving a half intact with the plant. You can experiment with the informal upright style, root over rock style or even the slanting style over a dwarf jade plant.


Repotting is usually done to ensure the plant gets fresh soil and sufficient space to grow its roots. This is unlikely to happen in a jade bonsai plant. However, you might have to replant to maintain soil fertility. 

When replanting the tree, make sure you don’t pour water or fertilize them for a few weeks. This allows the roots to concentrate on growing and avoid less stress on them. After a few weeks, water them regularly to develop the growth. 


Opt for the dwarf jade plant as they are already dwarf, and to make bonsai of them is easy. These plants are usually propagated through the cutting method to get faster results.

Pests and diseases

The dwarf jade plants have insects like any other bonsai tree. They are susceptible to aphids, scales, spider mites etc. The indoor plants are more prone to root diseases like root rots due to water accumulation in the soil and poor drainage. You use pest-related pesticides and fungicides to control the spread. Take care to dilute them before use.

Jade bonsai styles

Jade bonsai plants can undergo styling easily. They can withstand hard pruning and wiring. Here is a brief on the few basic styles

Informal Upright Style

The bonsai trees are shaped approximately into a triangular tree shape in the informal upright style. But the styling here is kept relaxed and irregular. The curvature of the trunk and its textures are highlighted. Training the trunk at an angle gives an informal look; they are leaning 15 degrees or less on their sides. 

The informal upright styling is famous for its trunk definition. As the tree grows, the trunk’s curves are spaced closer. The styling of the trunk is possible using wiring techniques.

Slanting style

The trunk leans here!. The leaning angle can go up to 45 degrees. The branches will grow in all directions. The style is also called the leaning style.

As the plant leans, the roots provide extra support to the plant. These roots tend to grow large and bulkier in size. The branches also grow more in the smaller size to provide to the plant. It would be best to take care that you place the bonsai plant properly positioned in the planter pot. Ensure the bonsai plant is stable, as these plants are prone to fall off if not placed properly.

Root over Rock style

The root over rock requires the longest waiting time to assure the best results on jade bonsai plants. The roots are grown to mimic the realistic root found on any normal tree. The style has roots over the plant, as though it covers the rock. 

To get this desired result in the bonsai plant, we usually plant the shoot and bury a rock near the plant’s roots. After they grow over time, the roots slowly expose them and show themselves over the rock. You can also place the root over the potting soil mix and place the roots over the rock for better results. Later cover the entire thing with the soil mix.


The succulent bonsai varieties are easy to grow as they require minimal effort from the gardeners’ side. Growing your jade bonsai plant is relatively simpler than other bonsai trees. Follow the above-mentioned basic guides to get the best growth for your plants. 

If you like flowers, don’t forget to grow them outdoors!

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