Succulent Bonsai

Succulent Bonsai

I have been having fun with my succulent bonsai trees.  This one is coming along nicely.  It’s a Crassula Ovata commonly known as a jade plant.  The variety pictured here is ‘Ogre Ears’ or ‘Shrek’s Ears’ which I think is a perfect description of the leaves. This variety seems to be much more tolerant and trainable than the more common crassula argentea.

I am having fun with this project.  It takes a bit of patience but there’s a lot of room for error if you make a regrettable branch cut.  I am starting to pinch the ends of the crassula argentea variety because they tend to get a bit leggy and I’ve had a number of branches falling off.  I’m hoping the pinching will promote more bushiness and hopefully smaller leaves.  Time will tell.

To give you some scale, the oval pot measures about 3 x 4  inches across and about 3 inches high.  

I was looking at the tree and it seemed a bit “crowded” was time for a trim.  The branch I’m holding is the one I decided to cut back.  

I only removed one branch but I think the tree looks much more balanced.  

San Diego Climate Zones

San Diego County has six major climate zones which is important to know when you are planting.  The San Diego County Water Authority breaks down the different zones to help guide you in your planting choices to manage your water resources efficiently and grow plants that are suited well to your environment. WIthin these climate ranges are microclimates, more specific to conditions of a particular location.  A good example of this might be living in a valley or on a hillside where wind and sun might be variables dramatic enough to create different growing environments with a a climate zone.

San Diego’s Six CIMIS Climate Zones

 

Kalanchoe beharensis – Felt Plant

Kalanchoe beharensis – Felt Plant

I love this kalanchoe.  A friend gave me a bunch of cuttings from his plants year 5 years ago and I positioned two of them on each side of my living room window.  These plants are slow growing but steady and I love the structural look to them.  They are attention grabbers when people come through my gate and the soft, fuzzy leaves are an added bonus.

The pieces were barely up to the windsill but five years later they have grown to sizable plants, so much that I have had to cut back a couple of errant branches in the past year.

When I cut back branches I snapped healthy leaves off and set them on a shady shelf in my garden to see if they would propagate on their own and I’m happy to say that it is quite successful.

Kalanchoe beharensis Felt Plant

The first signs of new growth at the base of the leaf.

Kalanchoe beharensis

Coming right along

Sometimes the new plants eventually separate themselves from the stem and are already sending out rootlets so I plant them lightly into a small pot and let them keep going.  Once in awhile they stay attached so I just lay the whole thing on top of the dirt in a bigger pot and just let time do its thing.  I’ve given quite a few plants away to friends already.

Cup of Gold Vine

Cup of Gold Vine

cup of gold vine solandra maxima

My Cup of Gold vine is going nuts at the moment.  It took me a couple of years to figure out that it only blooms this time of the year. This particular vine is stretching in a couple of directions, 25 feet in one direction and almost 40 feet in the other.  It’s crazy!  I think I finally figured out how to get the vine to stay more compact instead of sending off tall runners.  The trick seems to be clipping back the tall runners constantly on the main branch.

 

Cup of Gold vine (Solandra maxima), is also known as  golden chalice vine, or Hawaiian lily.  It’s native to Mexico and Central America but it loves SoCal, too.  The vines I have growing around my yard all came from one cutting I grabbed from a neighbor’s vine about 6 years ago.  Probably the easiest plant I propagate.