Silver Dollar is a succulent native to dry climates. With small leaves, compact form, and treelike character, silver dollar is a good plant for a beginner and attractive bonsai can be achieved by pruning and proper maintenance. It is tender and must be protected from frost. Related to jade plant, Crassula ovata, it is smaller and with more rounded leaves.
Position: An indoor location with sun or bright light is preferred during the cold months but can be grown in a sunny or partly shaded location outdoors after the last frost. Take care to let the plant get used to direct sunlight slowly to avoid leaf burn. If the plant is grown in plenty of sun the leaves will become reddish in color and the plant will remain more compact. Ideal winter temperatures are between 46oF. and 58oF. but plants can tolerate temperatures from 61oF. to 72oF. so can be grown in an average home.
Water: Over watering is probably more of a problem than underwatering. Like most succulents, silver dollar does not need a lot of water and will drop its leaves or develop root rot if it gets too much. Allow the soil to dry out completely and then water thoroughly. Even in summer plants may need watering only ever few weeks.
Fertilizer: Apply bonsai fertilizer once a month during the spring, summer, and fall but not during the winter.
Repotting: Every 2-3 years the plant should be transplanted; any time of year is suitable for transplanting but hold back the water for a couple of weeks afterwards.
Soil: Loam, peat moss, and sand in a ratio of 1:2:2
Pruning: Pruning should be done from early spring to summer. To develop the character of the plant remove the leaves on the lower part of the trunk and the branches that criss-cross or grow towards the inside. Pinch off the tips when new shoots when they have reached the desired size.
Wiring: Branches and twigs can be wired any time after they become woody but take care not to damage them as they remain somewhat soft and can be easily injured.
Propagation: Leaf or stem cuttings. For best results allow the cut surface to dry for a couple of weeks and then insert the cuttings into a mixture of equal amounts of peat moss and sand.