Dwarf Jade Plant

Overview

Jade plants are succulents with thick stems and deep green leaves. Jades store their water in their stems and leaves. Dwarf jades are jades with unusually small leaves, often less than 1/4-inch long. Dwarf jades are popular as indoor bonsai.

Native Range

Jades are native to South Africa and are indoor plants in all parts of North America. Although some jades will naturally grow to between 1 and 4 feet, miniature jades, especially those trained as bonsai, can be kept as small as a few inches tall.

Bonsai Culture

Miniature jades are particularly well suited for small bonsai pots. Because of their tendency to droop, jades can be very good for cascading style bonsai. However, with pruning, upright styles like semi-formal with pads of green on thick branches are also possible.

Light

Jades don't do well in shade or subdued light. They generally require full sun and will grow very quickly with adequate light and care. Placing your dwarf jade in a south facing window will trigger very fast growth.

Water

As a succulent, jades store their water in their trunks and leaves. They require less water than other succulents. Allow your dwarf jade to dry out between waterings, but don't allow the soil to completely dry out. Check the top 1/4 inch of soil. When it feels dry, water your dwarf jade.

Pruning

Pruning your dwarf jade is an important part of maintaining your tree's balance, especially if training one as a bonsai. Because of the amount of water stored in the leaves, branches and trunk, even dwarf jades can become top heavy if allowed to grow too tall. Allow your dwarf jade to dry out before pruning. Clip branches close to their origins and remove terminal buds to encourage branching. Jades are unusual in that they will usually sprout a new branch from almost any wound. If you pinch back a leaf on a branch, your jade will likely put out a branch in the form of two new leaves there. If you inadvertently cut the trunk while pruning, your jade may start to grow a branch from the cut. Because of this, styling your jade is very easy, compared to other trees. However, you must be vigilant in removing regrowth on pruned areas.

Keywords: dwarf jade tree, dwarf jade care, dwarf jade cultivation

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, The Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.