Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra): Care and Rising Information (Together with Rainbow Elephant Bush)

9 min read

The Elephant Bush plant (Portulacaria afra) is a succulent with small oval fleshy leaves and reddish woody stems. Elephant bush is common as a dangling basket houseplant succulent as a result of its colourful trailing stems and jade-colored leaves. There’s additionally a variegated selection—Rainbow elephant bush (Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’). The rainbow elephant bush succulent has gentle inexperienced and cream-colored spherical leaves. This text is a whole care information to the elephant bush plant and the rainbow elephant bush plant. Along with useful care ideas, you’ll additionally learn how to resolve some points regarding rising forms of elephant bush crops at house.

What’s Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra)

Elephant bush (Portulacaria afra) is a succulent that may develop open air in heat climates however can also be a well-liked indoor plant

Elephant bush (Portulacaria afra) is a semi-evergreen shrubby flowering succulent native to South Africa. Within the wild, elephant bush grows in dry, sunny areas. Elephant bush is a drought-tolerant plant, ideally suited to rising in arid, desert-like environments. Elephant bush crops (Portulacaria) thrive in USDA zones 10 and 11. Though massive Portulacaria afra bushes can survive some frost, small elephant bush crops should not chilly hardy. Temperatures under 30°F (-1°C) harm the plant and might kill it. Elephant bush is a shrub-like plant or small tree that grows between eight and 15 ft. (2.5 – 4.5 m) excessive when grown within the floor and excellent situations. Nevertheless, rising as a potted succulent indoors, elephant bush stems solely develop a couple of ft. Their trailing leafy stems make the succulent glorious for putting on excessive cabinets or rising hanging in baskets.

Portulacaria afra bushes grown open air

Elephant bush can also be a flowering number of succulent. When rising situations are proper, Portulacaria afra produces plenty of star-shaped flowers rising in small clusters. These pink or white flowers develop on the tip of stems. However it’s uncommon for elephant bush crops to bloom indoors.

Elephant bush (Portulacaria afra) flowers

Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush” will get its widespread identify as a result of it’s a favourite meals of elephants. Different widespread names embrace porkbush and spekboom. Resulting from its resemblance to jade crops (Crassula ovata), elephant bush can also be known as a dwarf jade plant. However elephant bush and jade crops aren’t associated to one another. For instance, in comparison with jade succulent crops, elephant bush grows quicker and is hardier. One other distinction is that elephant bush is an edible succulent, whereas jade leaves (household Crassula) are mildly poisonous.

An image of Crassula ovata (jade plant). The elephant bush (Portulacaria afra) is just like jade plant, however they don’t seem to be associated

Look after Elephant Bush Succulent

To take care of Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush,” develop in sandy, fast-draining soil and put in a sunny spot. Water elephant bush succulents when the soil is dry. One of the best watering methodology is to drench the soil and permit extra water to empty. Fertilize month-to-month in spring and summer time with a diluted houseplant fertilizer.

What’s Rainbow Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra ‘Variegata’)

Rainbow elephant bush has variegated cream and inexperienced leaves

Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’ (“Rainbow Elephant Bush”) is a small-leaved succulent with creamy-white and inexperienced leaves. This number of elephant bush has brighter-colored leaves than the darker jade-colored Portulacaria selection. Rainbow elephant bush additionally has lengthy, reddish, woody stems that develop into a big shrub. Rainbow Portulacaria crops thrive in arid situations the place there’s loads of sunshine. Of their pure habitat, rainbow elephant bush crops develop as much as 20 ft. (6 m) tall. In containers, the variegated plant succulent stems attain about 10 ft. (three m). Resulting from their trailing progress, forms of elephant bush crops are excellent hanging basket crops. All forms of Portulacaria, together with rainbow elephant bush, flower in excellent situations. Often, solely outside elephant bushes bloom in late spring after heat, dry winters. The small clusters of tiny inconspicuous white or pink-colored flowers are barely noticeable in opposition to the sunshine inexperienced and cream foliage of rainbow elephant bush.

Look after Rainbow Elephant Bush (Variegated Elephant Bush)

To take care of Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata,’ develop the rainbow elephant bush in vibrant oblique gentle. Plant the variegated elephant bush in a quick-draining sandy soil combine for succulents. Solely water the succulent when the soil fully dries. Fertilize in late spring utilizing a diluted houseplant fertilizer.

Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra) — Detailed Care Information

Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush” succulents are typically simple to take care of. However to make sure the heat-loving crops thrive, there’s some important care recommendation to comply with. Usually, elephant bush and rainbow elephant bush require fast-draining soil, loads of gentle, and occasional watering. Let’s look in additional element at easy methods to take care of elephant bush.

Gentle Necessities for Rising Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush” Vegetation

Elephant bush crops want loads of gentle to thrive

Elephant bush thrives in vibrant gentle. Portulacaria crops can develop in partial shade, however ideally, they want at the least six hours of daylight day by day. It’s additionally important to guard elephant bush crops from intense direct sunshine. An excessive amount of daylight via a window may cause the leaf tricks to flip yellow or burn. One of the best place to develop elephant Portulacaria crops is close to a sunny window. Sunshine helps preserve the deep jade coloration of elephant bush oval leaves vibrant. Additionally, avoiding an excessive amount of shade prevents trailing elephant bush stems from turning into leggy with sparse foliage. Prime tip for elephant bush care: Loads of gentle is healthier than warmth or water when caring for Portulacaria afra crops.

Gentle Necessities for Rising Rainbow Elephant Bush Vegetation

Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’ “rainbow elephant bush” wants extra daylight to protect the leaf variegation. You will want to develop rainbow Portulacaria crops within the brightest location in a room. Make sure that the rainbow elephant plant will get safety from the new noon solar; in any other case, the leaves might burn and drop. Rainbow elephant bush crops which can be within the shade for too lengthy will develop darker inexperienced leaves. In time, the intense, creamy leaves might lose most of their variegation. So, you might want some trial and error to seek out the best spot to maintain variegated succulents thriving indoors.

The Finest Soil for Potted “Elephant Bush” Portulacaria Afra Vegetation

An essential care issue of elephant bush succulents is to develop them in well-draining soil

Elephant bush succulents should develop in porous sandy soil that has quick drainage. An excellent succulent soil combine combines 2 components common all-purpose potting soil, 1 half horticultural sand and 1 half perlite or pea gravel. Or you would purchase a business succulent soil that’s appropriate for cactus crops or bonsai bushes. Rising elephant bush crops in fast-draining soil is among the most crucial care elements. You possibly can amend the soil with poultry grit, pumice, or small pea gravel to enhance drainage. However the most well-liked soil modification for drainage is perlite. Though elephant plant succulents choose “sandy” soil, an excessive amount of sand in containers isn’t excellent. Sand tends to be too positive and might make the succulent soil too dense. Elephant bush crops don’t like to sit down in soggy soil with their roots at all times moist. The damp situations trigger root rot and might rapidly trigger plant dying. So, soil consistency, the appropriate pot, and correct watering methods are important for holding Portulacaria succulents thriving. Listed here are some useful ideas for getting soil moisture proper for elephant bush crops:

  • Develop elephant bush in a porous unglazed clay pot to permit moisture to evaporate quicker.
  • At all times use terracotta pots with massive drainage holes within the backside in order that extra water drains quick.
  • Don’t use a pot that’s too huge for the dimensions of your plant.
  • Maintain off watering throughout winter when temperatures are typically cooler, there’s much less sunshine, and plant progress is dormant.
  • At all times examine that the free soil combine is totally dry earlier than watering.

Water Elephant Bush Succulents

Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush” wants watering solely when the potting combine is dry. Overwatering is the commonest approach of killing succulents, and elephant bush is not any exception. Water this succulent by pouring lukewarm water evenly within the pot till it drains out the underside. Wait till the soil dries earlier than watering once more. In heat, sunny summer time climate, you might have to water elephant bush crops each week. Nevertheless, it is best to let soil dryness be your watering information. If you happen to water the plant too usually and the soil is overly moist, you threat inflicting root rot in your jade-like succulent. One of the best watering approach for elephant bush succulents is the drench and dry methodology. Pour loads of water via the soil to completely soak it. Permit all the surplus water to drip out. Then place the elephant bush pot in its most well-liked location. After 5 or so days, examine the soil for dryness to see if it’s time to water the plant. Associated studying: water cactus crops and different desert crops.

The Finest Temperature For Rising Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra)

Elephant bush crops thrive in common room temperatures. An excellent temperature vary to develop Portulacaria afra crops is 65°F to 80°F (18°C – 27°C). Concerning nighttime temperatures, a spread between 50°F and 55°F (10°C to 13°C) is ideal. Keep in mind that elephant bush tends to be delicate to temperature fluctuations. So, it could be finest should you protected the heat-loving succulent from chilly drafts or heat air vents. It’s additionally good to keep in mind that direct noon daylight via a window can overheat the plant. The extreme solar and scorching temperatures may end up in scorched foliage and leaf drop. Elephant bush succulents develop open air in USDA zones 10 and 11. If you happen to plant these succulents in your backyard, select the sunniest spot, and make sure the floor has fast-draining soil. Elephant bush crops should not quick growers within the floor or pots.

Elephant bushes may be grown open air in hotter temperatures resembling these Portulacaria afra hedges within the Canary Islands

You can too develop elephant bush crops in containers and take them outdoors in summer time in temperate climates. The jade-colored succulent trailing foliage can add pure accents to your patio, deck, or balcony. It is best to take the elephant bush pots again indoors when temperatures fall under 50°F (10 °C). Transferring elephant bush crops indoors within the fall typically leads to leaf drop. To assist keep away from this, place the plant within the brightest, warmest room to cut back stress.

Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush” Humidity Wants

Elephant bush succulents don’t want excessive humidity to develop properly. Often, the dry air of houses is good for rising most sorts of succulents. So long as you aren’t overwatering the elephant bush, you shouldn’t have to fret about humidity. Portulacaria afra may be inclined to sudden modifications in humidity. These points are often associated to cooling or heating houses. Elephant bush crops don’t like being in drafts. So, defend them from the air con airflow in summer time or heat heating vents in winter. The overly-dry air may cause the plant to lose leaves.

Repotting an Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra) Plant

Elephant bush is a slow-growing number of succulent and doesn’t require frequent repotting. It’s time to repot a Portulacaria afra plant whenever you discover roots poking out the drainage gap. To repot the trailing succulent, select a container one or two sizes bigger than its present one. When repotting the plant, select an acceptable fast-draining succulent soil combine.

Repotting Rainbow Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra ‘Variegata’)

Variegated elephant bush crops develop considerably slower than the “jade” selection. Additionally, rainbow elephant bush crops are smaller than the non-variegated type. So, the Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’ wants repotting much less usually than different varieties of Portulacaria.

Pruning Elephant Bush Succulents

Portulacaria species tolerate heavy pruning to form the plant and take away leggy, trailing stems. This woody succulent produces buds wherever branches are eliminated. This progress behavior makes it simple to prune elephant bush succulents into the specified form. To prune Portulacaria foliage, snip off the undesirable leaf clusters on the ends of branches.

Propagate Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush” Vegetation

Elephant bush is a simple succulent to propagate. The simplest and quickest elephant bush propagation methodology is by stem cuttings. Minimize off a wholesome part of stem that has lush foliage. Permit the stem to dry for a couple of days in order that the “wound” can heal. Then plant the stem in an acceptable potting combine and preserve the slicing heat and moist to encourage rooting. You can too propagate elephant bush succulents when repotting the plant. You possibly can divide components of the basis which have thick, healthy-looking stems. As with many varieties of succulents, wholesome elephant bush leaves additionally develop roots when positioned in soil. Nevertheless, propagating Portulacaria afra this fashion takes longer and is much less profitable. Prime tip for elephant bush propagation: Don’t take away wholesome leaves which have dropped onto the potting soil. They usually take root and begin rising new crops that you may switch to a brand new pot.

Are Elephant Bush Vegetation Poisonous?

Portulacaria afra will not be poisonous. In some international locations, leaves from elephant bush crops are used so as to add a bitter taste and juicy crunch in tasty salads. Earlier than attempting elephant bush leaves, just be sure you have a species of Portulacaria afra plant. Elephant bush seems just like jade crops (Crassula), that are poisonous and may by no means be eaten.

Pest and Ailments Affecting Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush” Succulents

Elephant bush is inclined to mealybugs, spider mites, and whitefly. Use a neem oil answer to eliminate these houseplant bugs naturally. Mix 2 tsp. natural neem oil with 1 tsp. liquid Castile cleaning soap with a quart (1 l) of heat water. Fill a twig bottle with the answer and douse the succulent foliage to eliminate pests out of your elephant bush. Associated studying: establish widespread houseplant pests. The commonest illness to have an effect on elephant bush progress is root rot. This fungal illness is simple to keep away from should you water your succulents correctly. As a rule, solely water elephant bush crops when the soil is dry.

Issues Rising Portulacaria Afra (Elephant Bush Succulents)

Elephant bush succulents are simple to develop at house should you give them sufficient gentle and don’t overwater them. Nevertheless, there are a couple of points that may have an effect on Portulacaria afra crops.

Why do elephant bush crops drop leaves?

Portulacaria afra succulents can begin dropping leaves as a result of fluctuations in temperature, gentle, or humidity. Often, bringing an elephant bush indoors the place there’s much less daylight causes leaves to fall. Additionally, leaves can begin dropping from these succulents if positioned in drafts or close to heat air vents.

Portulacaria afra leaves are turning yellow, what ought to I do?

Yellow leaves on elephant bush succulents are often as a result of overwatering. Roots that sit in soggy soil can’t take in vitamins to “feed” the plant. The result’s yellowing leaves that finally die. To assist revive the Portulacaria afra plant, you may transfer it to a brighter location in order that moisture evaporates quicker. You could have to refresh the potting soil if it’s not draining quick sufficient. Typically, the best potting soil for elephant bush crops ought to dry out in a couple of days. If the soil is damp for longer, you’ll need to amend it with perlite, pea gravel, or pumice. Additionally, examine that the plant isn’t rootbound. A dense root system can imply that water takes longer to empty and grow to be waterlogged. Associated articles:

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