Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Training a Jade Plant

I have an indoor Jade Plant with three branches - each about 12 - 18 inches long. I middle branch is growing straight up but the 2 on either side are growing in an inverted U. Is there a way to get them to grow straight up?

To be perfectly honest, that sounds like a very comical looking plant. I personally have grown a few jades and the shapes that they take over time can be pretty unique. As far as how to train the two bent branches, my first thought is bonsai supports. Bonsai growers use a number of different metal structures and wire (from the most basic to the most complex) to carefully train their plants into the desired shape. Of the ones I have seen, you drive the base into the edges of the container or brace it to the bottom of the jade plant, and use the supports and wires to tie the plant stems in the desired direction. The one catch is that these structures, even though they help you train the plant the way you want it, they can be big and perhaps not what you want aesthetically. Now, if these two branches in question are very thick and mature, you might not be able to bend or train them very well at this point, but you could certainly try with new growth that emerges. Off the top of my head I am not familiar with bonsai stores or websites, but I am sure there are more than enough out there.

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