Beginner’s Exclusive Guide to Cultivating Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra) in 2024

Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush” is a ragged succulent bush having a place with the Didiereaceae family. This is native to South Africa.

it’s discovered developing in dry, rough inclines.

From the outset sight, numerous frequently think ‘afra’ is smaller than expected Crassula ovata in light of their comparative appearance. Portulacaria Afra is a mainstream succulent for bonsai.

“Elephant Bush” is a huge, bushing succulent with woody stems. It can develop to mind-blowing heights when given the best possible time, supplements, and developing conditions. It can likewise be utilized in a hanging basket to include a “spiller.”

Portulacaria Afra is an ideal expansion into an indoor or open succulent nursery. A well-known name for this succulent is “Miniature Jade,” it isn’t identified with Crassula ovata.

Lots of space is necessary for your Portulacaria Afra succulent, especially in case you need it to reach its greatest development. It may grow up to 12 feet tall, with a few being listed as coming to 20 feet.

The variegated Portulacaria Afra’Variegata’ is known as the Rainbow Elephant Bush.

Rainbow Elephant Bush can deal with mellow ice and cold temperatures to 25° degrees Fahrenheit for a limited time frame.

Features of Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush”

portulacaria afra

The primary feature of the Elephant Bush is the stems and the leaves. The stems are dimly dark colored in shading, with the leaves being little and green.

From the wild, this plant flowers with blossoms from bunches. These are usually a range of colors, such as white, pink, and purple. However, when developed, it is uncommon for Elephant Bush to blossom.

The best way to fulfill this outcome is to assure that the conditions are similar to its local natural surroundings.

Elephant Bush succulent are admirers of mild, requiring some extra ideas about the off Possibility that they are to maintain inside.

They should be kept near the windows at any rate six hours of light every day with the goal that they can profit from both light and warmth.

When keeping Portulacaria afra plant, it has prompted that you leave it in one area. It can get harmed while going from inside to outside. This is a result of an introduction to direct daylight.

At the point when it isn’t utilized for this presentation, the leaves can rapidly destroy outside. Elephant Bush succulent can make due in cold temperatures since it is tolerant of ice.

However, in case of snow days, you might need to move your plant inside.

The foliage is edible and is ordinarily eaten in southern Africa, for the most part in servings of mixed greens or soups to include an acrid flavor.

It was generally utilized for a collection of minor diseases. It is generally examined by residential and wild creatures as a result of its capacity to stay succulent despite times of singing warmth and dry season and is the most loved nourishment of tortoises.

Elephants do consume the plant, so leaving the reduced, spreading branches along with a lot of broken branches as they split the parts of the leaves, which subsequently cause extend and also thicken the settlement, and making fresh brushes called “spekboomvelds”.”.

Regular problems with Portulacaria Afra

Here is the list of common succulents problems.

Leaves Dropping

The most widely recognized explanation behind Elephant Bush shedding leaves is watering dilemmas.

One has to understand how frequently in case water Elephant Bush. Underwatering and overwatering can reason leaves to drop.

During a dry spell out or when underwatered, the plant will drop leaves to conserve its own water stockpiling.

It is an endurance program. Elephant bush leaves falling off could similarly have a faded and flat look. At the point when contacted, the leaves will probably feel level and drained as it keeps on losing their own water supply.

If you’ve stored your Elephant bush around the side and have not watered in an extended time and you notice these things happening, provide the plant a nice beverage of water and it should liven in a day or two. You do not have to overcompensate by flushing.

The leaves may similarly decrease when overwatering the plant. Be that as it may, instead of a level, the look of these leaves will be delicate and soft. The leaves can likewise take to a milder, progressively translucent shading.

All these are signals that you are overwatering your plant. Cut back on watering and permit the plant to dry out. You may likewise have to go the plant into a more fabulous area to assist it with drying out quicker.

How to take care for Elephant bush succulent.

Leaves Turning Yellow

Leaves Turning Yellow, portulacaria afra

The most widely recognized purpose behind yellow leaves in Elephant bush is social issues. The plant might be sitting in inappropriate soil and is giving indications of stress.

The most widely recognized explanation is the dirt may not be depleting sufficiently quickly and is unreasonably wet for the plant.

On the off chance that you presume this to be the situation, expel the plant from its present soil and repot in a progressively appropriate preparing blend that channels well.

It can likewise divert yellow leaves in Elephant bushes from the absence of supplements. If your plant is in a holder that has not been reported for some time, the plant might be drained of supplements. Elephant bush succulents are not substantial feeders.

But nutritional supplements in the dirt usually do operate out and after a significant long time of watering and with the water station from this bud, the supplements must be revived. You may either opt to report feed or now use mulch or compost.

If you don’t wish to repot as of now, you can take care of the plant. You can utilize a decent houseplant compost or one that is explicitly intended for succulents and desert flora. When taking care of, weaken the compost prescribed in the bundle to half.

Treating once per month during the dynamic developing season ought to be adequate.

Propagating Elephant Bush Succulents

Propagating Elephant Bush

Portulacaria Afras”Elephant Bush” is possibly the simplest succulent to propagate from stem cuttings. To develop your own Elephant Bush, propagation can give fantastic outcomes, for the most part, beginning in the spring.

  1. Expel a stem out of the plant using a sterile razor blade or sharp pair of scissors.
  2. When the cut dries for a few days, place it in a prepared blend of all-around depleted desert cacti soil.
  3. As the plant is booming (4/5 months), then be careful to keep it out of daytime and also guarantee that you’re keeping the dirt damp as it begins to remain dry.
  4. It should take around four to about a month and a half for plants to completely flourish and begin growing new Elephant Bushes.

Succulents can also be easily propagated using water Read more.

Important Tips for Growing Elephant Bush

Maintaining Your Elephant Bush at the ideal well-being needs the corresponding:

  1. Reliable introduction to daylight, with incomplete color for assurance.
  2. Utilize a stake to help keep the plant steady as it will become bigger.
  3. Sandy soil with extra perlite can help to lift waste.
  4. Potted Elephant Bushes ought to report at regular intervals.

If you are beginning with thinking about succulents, at that point this is the perfect plant for you to keep. It requires an insignificant mind and can add the character of both indoor and outdoor succulents.

Several varieties of Portulacaria Afra

portulacaria afra varieties

Portulacaria Afra is commonly known as Elephant Bush, Porkbush, Elephant Jade Plant, Spekboom, and Elephant food succulent. There are many succulent tree types in small and variegated species as well.

Variegata: It’s an ever more low, upstanding arrangement with cream or white bright, bright green leaves with crimson characteristics which endure amazing sun just as far as those species.

Aurea:  It is a minimized structure with the new leaves a splendid yellow in full sun.

Stopper Bark:  It’s chosen by way of a bonsai expert plus it’s a trophy for bonsai due to the fissured, corky bark.

Folies Variegata: It is a moderately developing variegated structure appropriate to holder culture.

Limpopo:  It has a lot of bigger leaves. It is the characteristic structure from the most distant north of the species range.

Medio Picta:  It is a variegated sort with green leaves with whitish markings dispersing from the center and also especially magnificent red stems.

Prostrata or Low Form- They are low-developing sorts that function admirably as a ground spread.

Caring for Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush”

caring Portulacaria Afra

Growth of plant

Portulacaria Afra plant inclines toward developing in dry, rough slants and outcrops.

The ruddy dark-colored stems become upward coming up to be 8′ to 15′ feet tall. However, it is destined to stay a little plant developing just a couple of feet tall.

Daylight Requirements

Portulacaria Afra needs a lot of brilliant daylight and can endure the full sun. You may need to adjust the plant to the full sun at first. Mellow burn from the sun might be normal under extraordinary warmth conditions yet something else, these plants can deal with the warmth


The elephant bush’s succulent is portrayed by an earthy red stem growing with little, reflexive green leaves. It is uncommon for Elephant Portulacaria to blossom in development.

Once they possess the finest potential growing states, they are going to make blossoms in colors and colors of white, white, purple or pink.

Indoor Sunlight

On the off chance that thinking about the plant inside, give the most splendid light conceivable in the house. A south-facing window will work best.

You may need to move the plant a couple of times until you locate the correct spot. Preferably, the plant needs in any event 5-6 hours of sunlight.

If your region doesn’t get sufficient daylight or you have poor lighting at home, consider utilizing artificial light so your plants can meet their lighting needs to develop appropriately, particularly during those dull winter months.

If your region does not acquire adequate daytime or you’ve got inadequate lighting in the home, look at it by using artificial lighting so that your plants may satisfy their light should grow suitably, especially throughout those dull winter seasons.

Outdoor Sunlight

Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush” does best in regions that get a lot of daylight. They can endure in the complete sun to full sun, however, they lean toward splendid sifted daylight. They should be accustomed to the full sun or the leaves will get burned from the sun.

Whenever kept outside, place in a brilliant radiant area. Prior to moving the plant outside or expanding the measure of daylight it gets, it is smarter to adopt the plant to help forestall burn from the sun or sun harm.

Watering the succulent

Elephant succulents needn’t bother with bunches of water to endure. It adjusts to dry and hot conditions. They for the most part flourish when given ordinary watering.

Watering to your excellent scope depends upon the air you dwell in. These plants have been highly adjusted to arid states and also dry seasons nevertheless they thrive if given sufficient water.

Sit tight for the top layer of soil to dry out a little before watering again to ensure you are not over-watering the plant. Feed plants in the late winter or pre-spring with a weakened indoor plant compost at half quality.

Gardening Soil

As same as with other succulent plants, Portulacaria Afra ”Elephant Bush” needs well-depleting soil. Trailing Elephant bramble can develop with next to no dirt. Their thick stems and succulent leaves make the plant top overwhelming.

When planting plants might require rock or bet to help them out till they get entrenched. This plant needs a well-prepared soil mix blend, for example, a desert flora blend or sandy soil.

Including extra perlite for additional waste likewise, aides and pots need seepage openings. Try not to permit the dirt to get waterlogged as overwatering effectively can harm the plant.

Ice Tolerance

Portulacaria Afra can endure gentle ice and freezing temperatures so long as they’re maybe not for extensive periods.

When you’ve got outrageous winter conditions in your general vicinity, probably the most ideal approach to build up these plants is in compartments. That way you’re able to bring them indoors during winter or when there’s definitely an estimate of ice.

Alternatively, you can use frost-tolerant cloth to protect your plant.

Pest issues in Elephant Bush

This plant is helpless to coarse bugs that show up as little, cottony spots on the green leaves.

  • Dispose of the bugs by cleaning them down with a cotton swab dunked in liquor.
  • Different pests to pay special mind to are bug parasites and whitefly.
  • Different issues with Elephant Bush incorporate leaf dropping and leaf yellowing.
  • The former is made about by finished or under-watering.
  • Watch out for the dirt to guarantee that you are not letting your plant remain in the water.
  • Also, make sure that you never dry out the dirt with the target that the plant left hungry for dampness.

Uses of Portulacaria Afra “Elephant Bush”

elephant bush

The Elephant jade plant contains several diverse tactics to showcase its intriguing highlights.

  • Developing as a succulent balancing bin in a yard.
  • Trimmed as a smaller-than-expected jade or little tree in a bonsai pot.
  • Planted with others in a succulent nursery.
  • Being a satisfying elaborate plant, Elephant Bush has various employments.
  • The plant is well known to absorb carbon clear which may be why it’s gained notoriety to be a carbon-wipe plant.
  • It is likewise used to take care of elephants, consequently, the name ‘elephant food’ yet tortoises, and goats additionally feed on it.
  • In view of the plant’s sharp taste when swallowed, in certain pieces of South Africa, it is utilized as a fixing in plates of mixed greens and stew.

Toxicity towards Pets

Portulacaria Afra ”Elephant Bush” foliage is consumable and non-poisonous to pets and children.

It is non-dangerous and safe to develop around cats and dogs just like little kids. However, a couple of special cases that are somewhat toxic whenever swallowed.

The best soil for Elephant Bush

A well-draining soil is the best soil for Elephant Bush and it works best with the “Soak and Dry” technique.

The perfect blend is a trade-off between watering frequently and again that you think that it’s badly designed, and the dirt taking too long to even consider drying out and “self disinfecting” from those Anaerobic microscopic bacteria.

If the holder will be outside for a large portion of the year and you can blend that holds more water, as the activity of the sun will quicken the drying out.

On the off chance that you’re keeping the compartment inside for a large portion of the year, at that point you should utilize a quicker draining blend.

The most effective method to get Elephant Bush bloom

Getting Elephant Bush to blossom in development isn’t common, and much more difficult in order for them to blossom in holders or if maintained indoors. To support blooms, ensure they are getting satisfactory lighting.

Alongside legitimate lighting and the privilege of natural conditions. They additionally need to experience a wintering period. This Could Reach by keeping them Dry and Cool in the winter months, with temperatures Only Previously freezing between 35-44⁰F.

Tips for trimming Elephant Bush

Step 1: 

Let the dirt around the base of the plant dry out. Try not to water the elephant bush before cutting, since the storage compartment, branches and leaves will load up with dampness and break when cut open.

Step 2: 

Wash a sharp blade with foamy water and sanitize with a 10 percent blanch arrangement. Flush well with clear water and dry.

Step 3: 

Remove dead or kick the bucket branches by cutting through the branch with the blade. Try not to make an inward cut, however, keep the cut flush with the branch surface.

Step 4:

Trim away any extra-long or lost branches to shape the plant. Try not to seal the cuts with any synthetic compounds. The smaller person jade will frame calluses over the cuts within two or three days.

Step 5:

Squeeze out the terminal buds or leaf groups toward the finish of branches with your fingers to prevent the branches from developing longer. Try not to water the smaller person’s jade until calluses develop over the outside of the cuts.

Step 6:

Elephant Bush is one of the best succulents to keep indoors in low light. It beautifies your home, office, etc. It gives a feeling that you are living along with nature.