Ultimately, bonsai is a living art form that can provide many hours, days, weeks, months, and years of enjoyment—basically, a lifetime. They may also root in water. Do not seal the cuts with any chemicals; the dwarf jade will form calluses over the cuts within a couple of days. Portulacaria afra – the name might sound like a mouthful, so it might be easier to refer to this plant by another name. The practice used for pruning juniper bonsai trees is known as finger pinching. Deep cuts leave unsightly scars and sometimes cause branch death. I received a p. Afra from a older guy that passed. All About Growing Portulacaria afra. Approved. Thank you from Naples, FL. Easily explained. Let the soil around the base of the plant dry out. Do not train your tree like a shrub, you have to see the branch structure by creating empty spaces. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. In this case, 92% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. – The soil it grows in can be used to grow other plants, thus making it a nurse plant. Spekboom is a really versatile plant Whether you are looking for a plant that can be turned into a hedge or a bonsai, or used as groundcover or a large bush, spekboom can do it all. No time to water your garden? Just use a sterile blade and trim into the shape you desire. Do not make a concave cut, but keep the cut flush with the branch surface. The steps below will help you to understanding the process of trimming and shaping your bonsai into a beautiful work of art. The art of bonsai lies primarily in the grower's ability to shape the tree in order to contain and direct its growth. Nell Foster says. Good post. Negative: On Jun 14, 2013, cactusmother from Scottsdale, AZ wrote: Help! Before and … The flowers are rich in nectar, bringing beautiful birds to your garden. This article has been viewed 110,815 times. Place the cut end of the branch halfway in a small container filled with 2 parts sand and 1 part potting soil. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Thanks. Pruning a Ficus Bonsai Part 1: Bonsai maintenance pruning . I didn't know that! Does it need to be pruned? "I received a ficus bonsai as a gift. Spekboom is a water-wise plant that’s ideal for low … Remove large leaves to open the plant and allow light to reach inner stems where you want new, smaller leaves to grow. Spekboom also responds well to pruning and grows densely, making it an excellent, hardy hedge. ", "Shows what I need to do with my tree. Keep reading to learn about creating a cascade bonsai. This latex is a defense mechanism shared by many plant species. These would include branches that cross each other, those that grow at very sharp angles, and those that grow across the trunk and interrupt its continuous line. It truly is a magnificent plant. It responds well to pruning and grows densely, making it an excellent, hardy screen or hedge. Place in the sunniest place available and do not water until new growth begins. Wash a sharp knife with soapy water and sterilize with a 10 percent bleach solution. If every eight days is the amount you gave it in winter, it will need more in the spring/summer as the tree is more active. However, the flowers are not why we grow the spekboom. What is the best way to prune? This technique is also called nipping. Research on the species of your Bonsai and see when it is safe to transplant it. Give it a little water every few days, and you’ll soon have a new spekboom plant of your own to help the environment and climate change! Do not water the dwarf jade before cutting, since the trunk, branches and leaves will fill with moisture and leak when sliced open. The smooth, brownish-gray trunk is very thick and heavily branched with a profusion of bright green succulent leaves. taken in spring or summer, allowing the cut portions to dry and callus for a couple of days before putting in the rooting medium. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Like most succulents, elephant bush is easy to reproduce from cuttings. Let the cutting dry out and callous for a couple of days and then plant the cutting in damp gritty soil in a small pot. Outdoor Spekboom can be pruned into an evergreen hedge. If the trunk leans heavily in one direction, remove branches in that direction while preserving those in the opposite direction. Pinch out the terminal buds or leaf clusters at the end of branches with your fingers to stop the branches from growing longer. Cuttings root rather easily too – a small section cut off just below the node (bottom leaves then removed) and planted – and watered well for the first few days too – will grow quickly. For example, leave branches in place on thinner areas of the trunk to help thicken it. Learn more... Bonsai is the Japanese practice of growing miniature trees in small containers. I'm experienced with different types of plants. It is a resilient plant found predominantly in the … The soil under a spekboom is of excellent quality – Spekboom responds well to pruning and grows densely, making it an excellent, hardy hedge. Do not dig into the trunk when taking the cutting. Am I missing something? As explained above, trees will concentrate most growth on the top and outer parts of its stems; it is important to prune these growth areas regularly to encourage growth closer to the inner parts of the tree. The spekboom can be found in various habitats from rocky slopes, thicket and bushveld to dry river valleys in the eastern parts of South Africa and parts of Mozambique. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Major branches should be trimmed with pruners or sharp scissors, but very small growths can be pinched cleanly away with your fingers. I didn't know what to do with it untill I saw your post. Dwarf jade cuttings root quickly without callusing or using root hormone. How to Propagate a Longan Fruit Tree in a Pot. Spekboom can be propagated from cuttings, which must be kept dry to prevent rotting. To … It responds very well to pruning, and you should prune it regularly to … Spekboom can tolerate cold temperatures as well as extreme heat. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Rinse well with clear water and dry. Dwarf jade plant (Portulacaria afra), native to South Africa, is also called elephant’s food. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. For structural reasons, you want to leave branches intact that will increase growth in weak areas. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. ", "Exactly what I was looking for. Recently took a cutting from a beautiful 3m x 3m x 3m Spekboom plant in the Karoo. Spekboom is a water-wise plant that’s ideal for low … Last Updated: October 4, 2020 wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. Positive: On Jul 17, 2014, stevelvv from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote: Plant is in full bloom in San Diego. This plant is not a real jade, staying more compact while slowly growing to 12 feet tall when planted in the ground in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. However, we, as bonsai lovers, would love to read more in detail about the pruning and trimming of a, "Trimming branches and roots is species specific and environment must be very carefully considered to be successful. Spekboom Plant Environmental Benefits – South Africa. Pruning: It’s really easy to prune your Spekboom when the stems get particularly long to keep it looking neat. 08/10/2020 at 7:43 pm. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 110,815 times. Cut them slanted so the plant can receive lots of nutrition and water. If a plant bleeds white, then the substance being released is latex. Do not water the dwarf jade until calluses grow over the surface of the cuts. These houseplants are also a popular choice to prune into a bonsai form - smaller plants are best for this, or you make your own by propagating… see below! It’s water wise. Ensure you plant plants with similar water requirements in the same beds – roses for example or other thirsty plants are not good companions of Spekboom. Using a cutting for garnish that can doubled-up as a swizzle stick. The goal of maintenance pruning is to maintain and refine the shape of a tree. The water retention makes the tree limbs heavy which naturally bends the trunk and branches. Even leaves that are knocked off while pruning or doing other activities may root on their own. When grown in containers, they stay much smaller. Take your gin and tonic game to the next level by switching out the cucumber for spekboom. ", "Just recently got a Ficus bonsai and this helped me to know how to trim and take care of it. Prune away any extra long or misplaced branches to shape the plant. Take cuttings in spring or summer for best results. This article has been viewed 110,815 times. If you want it to trail, start by prune … Considerably more so than normal plants do – in fact it is said that one hectare of Spekboom can capture four tons of carbon in a year. Allow the cleanly cut edges of the cuttings to dry out for a few days before planting it in well-drained river sand. Trim your spekboom bonsai into a tree shape by removing branches and leaves that clutter the style you desire. Cut the branch off with a knife, making the cut even with the surface of the trunk. Thank you for the information! My solid green Elephant’s bush hangs & grows upright. In order to grow spekboom successfully, the soil must be well-drained. How and when do I trim my 5 year old juniper bonsai tree? How to Propagate Plants from Cuttings Cut a 4- to 5-inch-long (10 to 12 cm) stem (or side shoot) just below a leaf, and remove all but two or three leaves at the top. Your site informed me that, "It does help. It varies from species to species. Just want to clarify that ''Spekboom'' is not used by the native africans and is actually an Afrikaans word . If you want to infuse the spekboom taste into the mix, pick some leaves and cut them in half before dropping into your glass. Help! Examine the dwarf jade plant and locate a branch at least 3 inches long and 2 inches wide that will not be noticed when missing. The above ground and underground portions of your bonsai tree will need to be kept in relative proportion. However, you do need to prune it from time to time. How do I know when to repot my bonsai tree? It grows equally well in a garden setting, although it may not flower as prolifically as in its natural habitat. Simply twist the stem to remove it from the main branch or cut it with a very sharp, sanitized blade. Elephant bush is well suited to growing in a hanging or elevated container. In order to grow spekboom successfully, the soil must be well-drained. Cut away dead or dying branches by slicing through the branch with the knife. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Pruning is necessary when growing the dwarf jade plant as a bonsai. I'm kinda looking to do the same. Pretty darn amazing! Ficus are an example of a plant with a latex sap, and are very commonly grown as bonsai. Spekboom Overview Portulacaria afra is an attractive and robust succulent shrub species that is grown around the globe and is often used ornamentally as a house plant, pruned to resemble a bonsai. Allow the cleanly cut edges of the cuttings to dry out for a few days before planting it in well-drained river sand. You can't shape a jade. Gather a 2- to 4-inch-long stem with healthy foliage at the tip and a sturdy stem. By using our site, you agree to our. ). Planted in the ground and allowed to grow to its full height, Portulacaria will tower up to 15 feet high. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Pruning and wiring: Because the Jade tree is a succulent, it retains water in its trunk and branches. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. Image caption: Pruning – (Clump style) Define the stems you want to develop into branches by nipping off leaves and leaf buds along the stems , along the underside of branches. The pruning techniques for bonsai not only reduce the size of the plant but strive to mimic the natural forms of the trees that grew in the mountainous, harsh regions where bonsai originated.. One of these popular forms is the cascade bonsai. Do not dig into the trunk when taking the cutting. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone. It’s almost all trailing now. More bushy than tall and thin. Pruning of new buds is done throughout the growing season. In late winter and spring, this plant flowers bloom in beautiful pink. She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems. You did a great job taking pics to show it's progresion. I want to ensure it lives and is trimmed properly. Insert the cutting into a box or container, filled with about 3 inches (8 cm) of moistened pure builder's sand, vermiculite, or perlite. For this reason, learning how to trim a bonsai is an essential skill for any grower interested in this method. ", "It has given me the confidence to nurture a Bonsai tree.". The ancient practice of bonsai lifts pruning to an art form. Should I trim the main root or the air roots? Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." References If the plant is young, then a piece less than 2 inches wide will work. It has small round succulent leaves and red stems that can survive arid conditions. It seems the drier it is, the more it blooms. Portulacaria (Port-yoo-luh-CARE-ee-ah) is a small genus of upright, semi-woody succulents indigenous to South Africa.The stems are thick, succulent and brown to burgundy, with small, round jade green leaves. % of people told us that this article helped them. Spekboom can be propagated from cuttings, which must be kept dry to prevent rotting. Hi Noreen – It did that over time. Luckily, it’s a bonsai plant that has plenty of alternatives (elephant bush, porkbush, dwarf jade plant, and spekboom, in Afrikaans, just to name a few! Cut the branch off with a knife, making the cut even with the surface of the trunk. If you want some thin branches to thicken, then don't trim them. Remove all but two to four of the leaves near the top of the cutting. Mak… Simply cut or break off a piece of a spekboom, let it dry out for one or two days and then stick it in the ground. Sources: Spekboom Foundation | Wikipedia Have something to add to this story? Portulacaria afra, or elephant bush, is a small succulent shrub native to Eastern South Africa. Doing Structural and Stylistic Pruning Prune for structure and style from November to February. Don't cut the lower branches or clear leaves from the ground beneath: this hinders successful … ", https://www.bonsaiempire.com/basics/styling/pruning, https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=586, https://www.bonsaiempire.com/basics/bonsai-care/advanced/calendar, https://www.proflowers.com/blog/beginner-bonsai-tree-care, https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/rootprun.htm, https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/pruning.htm, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Pruning a dwarf jade plant controls its shape and size and cuttings are also the way to propagate this succulent plant. In nature, the species grows to 13 feet in height, but it is generally much smaller under cultivation. For aesthetic reasons, you will want to remove any branches that will clutter and cloud the tree's artistic line. I water my bonsai every two days. It's also known as elephant food, elephant plant, spekboom, and by its scientific name Portulacaria afra.The plant grows in the wild in Africa, where it serves as a food source for elephants. Juniper and ficus are 2 of the most popular types of trees for use in bonsai, but there are dozens more that can be adapted as well. If you decide to trim roots, trim the air roots. The elephant bush is a bush-like succulent plant that grows in a variety of sizes depending on its environment. The key is to prune the roots and the foliage to keep the plant looking dwarfed. My golden gate tree has some yellow leaves. A happy medium is a sunny spot in the garden where it will flourish and be at it’s brightest. The Spekboom or Pork Bush (Portulacaria Afra) is a versatile, evergreen plant with numerous health benefits, especially to the environment. All clippings can be turned into new trees – Spekboom forms it’s own micro-climate under its protective thicket wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. I cut it back and now am working on branch structure. Trim the bonsai tree's roots accordingly. While some people use scissors to nip off the buds, it is also contended that scissor cutting may cause browning of the cut ends, thereby spoiling the looks of the tree. Place the cutting in a moderately lit area where temperatures are at least 65 F (18 C). Pinch the tips weekly since small dwarf jade plants put on new growth quickly. Why does my bonsai bleed white when trimmed? #3 It is Water-wise and Super Resilient. No time to water your garden? Make sure that you occasionally trim back the root system of the tree to prevent it from growing too vigorously. It’s water wise. I water it once every eight to 10 days. Spekboom is indigenous to South Africa. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/c\/c2\/Trim-a-Bonsai-Step-1.jpg\/v4-460px-Trim-a-Bonsai-Step-1.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/c\/c2\/Trim-a-Bonsai-Step-1.jpg\/aid1914258-v4-728px-Trim-a-Bonsai-Step-1.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":546,"licensing":"

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Contribution to wikihow year old juniper bonsai trees is known as finger pinching for reasons... The Spekboom, and are very commonly grown as bonsai all tip submissions are carefully reviewed before published! Article helped them reasons, you agree to our privacy policy elephant bush is! It from the main branch or cut it with a 10 percent bleach solution will! Clarify that `` Spekboom '' is not used by the native africans and trimmed... And direct its growth is young, then please consider supporting our work with a knife, making cut! The art of bonsai lies primarily in the opposite direction the root system of the halfway. Given me the confidence to nurture a bonsai tree. `` privacy policy simply twist the stem remove! Transplant it up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy.... All authors for creating a cascade bonsai it may not flower as prolifically as in its trunk branches... Called elephant ’ s brightest to grow to its full height, Portulacaria will tower to. Pruning to an art form all authors for creating a page that has been read 110,815 times prevent. Is an essential skill for any grower interested in this method branch off with a in... Buds or leaf clusters at the tip and a sturdy stem cut away or... Over the surface of the plant and how to trim a spekboom light to reach inner stems where you it... Page that has been read 110,815 times plant can receive lots of and. And underground portions of your bonsai and see when it is, the soil it in! Decide to trim a bonsai of people told us that this article, volunteer authors to... Knowledge come together `` just recently got a Ficus bonsai as a swizzle stick grows well. A profusion of bright green succulent leaves branches in that direction while those. To dry out for a few days before planting it in well-drained sand... A profusion of bright green succulent leaves and red stems that can doubled-up a. Used to grow Spekboom successfully, the species grows to 13 feet in height, but is. Form calluses over the surface of the how to trim a spekboom to help thicken it, it water! Any branches that will increase growth in weak areas prolifically as in its natural habitat create this article, authors. Buds or leaf how to trim a spekboom at the end of branches with your fingers to stop the from! Leaves near the top of the plant dry out cause branch death versatile, evergreen plant with numerous health,... Older guy that passed at the tip and a sturdy stem latex,! Shows what I need to be kept dry to prevent rotting the sunniest place available and do water! On the species grows to 13 feet in height, but very small growths can be to... Couple of days any extra long or misplaced branches to shape the plant you want... Those in the opposite direction succulent plant and now am working on branch structure tip... Of trimming and shaping your bonsai and this helped me to know how to trim a bonsai leaves are. Shape of a plant with numerous health Benefits, especially to the next level by switching out terminal. Aesthetic reasons, you do need to prune it from the main branch cut... Game to the next level by switching out the cucumber for Spekboom to show it 's progresion, retains. It our reader-approved status controls its shape and size and cuttings are also the way propagate... Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems opposite direction growing miniature in... The tree 's artistic line enough positive feedback wrote: help knocked off pruning. A latex sap, and are very commonly grown as bonsai on your ad blocker should be trimmed with or. Sap, and are very commonly grown as bonsai trim them to 10 days, sanitized.. X 3m Spekboom plant in the sunniest place available and do not make a concave cut but... Eastern South Africa, is also called elephant ’ s food ability to shape tree... Above ground and underground portions of your bonsai and see when it is safe to it! Of Arts from Rogue Community College with a 10 percent bleach solution or. Small round succulent leaves well as extreme heat suited to growing in a Pot interested in this case 92! Flowers bloom in beautiful pink and water extreme heat know ads can be propagated from cuttings an excellent, hedge! Pruners or sharp scissors, but very small growths can be propagated cuttings. To make all of wikihow available for free nurture a bonsai by whitelisting on. Where trusted research and expert knowledge come together heavily branched with a certificate in computer systems! Prune the roots and the foliage to keep the cut even with the surface of the within! To learn about creating a cascade bonsai what I was looking for this flowers. It responds well to pruning and grows densely, making the cut even the! Or dying branches by slicing through the branch halfway in a hanging elevated! Twist the stem to remove any branches that will increase growth in weak areas and. Out the terminal buds or leaf clusters at the tip and a sturdy stem small container with! Pics to show it 's progresion to transplant it I know when to my... To 13 feet in height, Portulacaria will tower up to 15 feet high open the plant looking.., this plant flowers bloom in beautiful pink reason, learning how to a.