In the natural environment, the jade plant can reach mature heights of up to 5 feet tall. This long-lived succulent plant thrives in warm, tropical-like climates and full sun. This adaptable and tolerant tree adjusts well to the potting environment and can provide many years of enjoyment with the proper care.
Choose a well-drained potting container for your jade plant. Choose a container that is about two inches wider and deeper than the plant's current container. Ensure that the container has several drainage holes to provide an even release of the excess water.
Plant the jade bonsai in a gritty loam, as recommended by Bonsai Tree Care. Mix equal amounts of clean, coarse sand with nutrient-rich soil and incorporate it thoroughly. Line the bottom one-third of the planting container with a layer of soil and position the jade in the center of the pot. Fill the container with your soil mixture and press the soil firmly but gently with your fingers to secure its upright position.
Irrigate your jade bonsai deeply but infrequently to prevent overwatering and root rot. Use tepid water to irrigate the jade until the excess water flows evenly from the bottom of the container. Allow the jade plant to dry out between each irrigation. Check the soil's moisture levels prior to each irrigation, and only water the jade when the soil feels dry.
Prune your jade bonsai to develop the desired shape and promote smaller-sized foliage. Pinch off your jade plant's new growth with your thumb and forefinger to promote smaller-sized leaves, as recommended by Bonsai Tree Care.
Use wire to shape the tree. Purchase a multi-sized copper wiring kit, as you will require various sizes to wire your tree. Choose a wiring kit that includes 1mm through 4mm wires for a good selection. Gently wrap the wire around the bark of your jade to develop its shape. Apply the wire slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the tree. Keep the wire in place for at least a month to allow the plant time to permanently adapt to the new shape. Remove the wires with wire cutters, cutting off small pieces at a time, to prevent damage to your tree.
Feed your jade bonsai regularly throughout the growing season from early spring through late fall. Use a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, as instructed by The Garden Helper. Select a 10-20-10 or 5-10-5 combination and apply the food during your plant's regular irrigation. Apply the fertilizer approximately once every two weeks, as recommended by The Garden Helper.