Native to South Africa, the jade bonsai tree (crassula ovata) is an evergreen succulent. Its natural leaf size is 1 to 2 inches, but with proper pruning leaves only grow to approximately 1/2 inch in size. Though green in color, the edges of the leaves become tinged with red when provided with enough sunlight. The tree produces star-shaped white flowers in the fall. The jade bonsai tree has a thick trunk and is particularly well suited for clump style bonsai plants. It is a low-maintenance plant.
Grow the jade bonsai tree indoors, since they thrive in warm climates. To avoid stunted growth, be sure your jade bonsai plant gets plenty of natural sunlight. A window sill is an ideal location to grow the tree.
Only water the tree when the leaves begin to wrinkle or when the soil feels very dry. Since arid climates are the natural habitat for jade bonsai trees, they are capable of storing large quantities of water in their leaves. Over-watering results in poor root development. Jade bonsai plants with poorly developed roots provide inadequate support to the water-laden leaves.
Feed the jade bonsai tree monthly from spring until fall. Feeding with a balanced fertilizer once a month provides all the nutrients a jade bonsai plant needs.
Prune new growth frequently. The jade plant tolerates frequent and extensive pruning much better than most bonsai tree species. Frequent pruning encourages vigorous growth and reduces the size of the leaves. Flesh cuts work best for removing branches and twigs. Due to the tough nature of jade plants, the use of a sealant is not required.
Repot the jade bonsai tree every two to three years in inorganic compost that drains well. An ideal soil mix consists of 75 percent inorganic matter and 25 percent organic matter. Gritty soil mixed with compost creates a healthy balance between drainage and water retention.