Elephant Bush – Photos, Growing Tips, Where to Buy

Portulacaria Afra, commonly known as Elephant Bush or Spekboom, is a versatile succulent native to South Africa. With its fleshy, jade-like leaves and thick stems, it’s not only an attractive plant but also an environmentally beneficial one, as it’s known for its carbon-sequestering capabilities. If you’re interested in cultivating this resilient and striking plant, here are some expert guidelines:

Location: Elephant Bush thrives in bright light. If indoors, position it near a window that receives plenty of indirect sunlight. Outdoors, it prefers partial sun but can tolerate full sunlight in cooler climates. In hotter regions, afternoon shade is beneficial to prevent sunburn.

Soil: Portulacaria Afra prefers well-draining soil, typical of most succulents. A mix of cactus or succulent potting soil combined with some perlite or sand is ideal. Ensure that your pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Watering: Like many succulents, Elephant Bush is drought tolerant. Water it thoroughly and wait for the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Overwatering is a common mistake; it’s better to err on the side of too dry than too wet.

Maintenance: This plant is relatively low maintenance. Pruning can be done to shape the plant or keep it within a certain size. Trimmed branches can be used for propagation.

Pest and Disease: Elephant Bush can occasionally be affected by pests like mealybugs or aphids. Regularly inspect the plant, and if pests are found, treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Root rot can occur if the plant is left in waterlogged soil, so ensure proper drainage.

Propagation: Portulacaria Afra is easily propagated from cuttings. Simply take a healthy stem cutting, allow it to dry for a day or two, then plant it in well-draining soil. With regular watering, it will soon establish roots and begin to grow.

Caution: While the Elephant Bush is non-toxic and even edible (often used in salads or stews in its native habitat), it’s always a good idea to be cautious when introducing any plant to an environment with pets or children.

Where to Buy?

You can purchase this cute plant via Etsy!