The jade plant is a succulent that naturally reaches up to 12 feet in height. This drought tolerant tree adapts well to all types of soil, will quickly heal its pruned wounds and is resistant to most plant diseases. These natural characteristics allow the jade plant to be easily reduced in size, turning it from a natural-sized jade plant into a jade bonsai.
Begin reducing the size of the jade plant when the plant is still young. Trim back the trunk and branches of the tree to keep the height of the tree at the desired size.
Prune away newly developing shoots and foliage by pinching them away from the tree to promote the development of smaller, more uniform replacements. Prune the shoots and foliage approximately once each month, allowing it at least two weeks to heal between each pruning.
Prune the jade bonsai when the soil is dry. Irrigate the bonsai immediately after each pruning. Place the jade bonsai plant in the sink and thoroughly water with a watering can until the excess water passes from the bottom of the container. Allow the plant to rest and place it in a warm, sunny location.
Control the growth of the jade plant by pruning its root system once each year. Complete the process in the early spring just before the growing season begins. Remove the jade plant from its potting container. Gently remove the excessive soil from around the root system.
Comb out the roots of the system your fingers. Avoid pulling or tugging the roots to prevent damage or breakage. Inspect the root system carefully and trim away any individual root that appears dead or dying. Hold the individual root and trim away at the base using sharp, sterile scissors.
Trim the entire root system for root and size control. From the tip of the roots, trim the root system back no more than 1/3 inch. Complete the process by using a sharp, fine cut rather than a ragged, uneven cut.
Repot the jade plant immediately after root pruning. Mix nutrient-rich potting soil with an equal amount of organic compost. Repot the jade plant in a container that is not excessively large in order to contain the growth of the plant.
Line the bottom of the container with a layer of soil. Position the jade plant in the center of the container and fill the pot with the soil. Ensure that there are no roots showing and then press the soil around the plant to secure its position.
Water the jade plant thoroughly and place the repotted plant in a warm, sunny location. Choose a location that provides at least six hours of partially shaded to full sunlight each day.