Portulacaria afra is a beautiful, easy-care plant with a number of health benefits. It requires a sunny location and plenty of indirect light to thrive. This plant is also edible, and it grows well as a houseplant, in pots, or in containers. Other common names for this plant include Elephant Bush, Porkbush, Money Plant, and Mini Coin Plant.
Portulacaria afra, commonly known as the Elephant Bush, is a succulent plant that is native to Africa. In its natural habitat, the plant serves as food for elephants. It has small clustered pink and white flowers. In the winter, the plant may go dormant, requiring increased light to bloom. A grow lamp is a great option during this time of year.
It is best to place your Elephant Bush plant in a south-facing room if possible. The plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight for five to six hours a day. In areas with less sunlight, the plant can survive but its leaves may burn. This can cause the leaves to fall off. In colder regions, plant it in a container or hanging basket.
For a healthy plant, choose a location with bright, indirect sunlight and a well-drained soil. Portulacaria afra thrives in a pot or container in a sunny spot. Ideally, the plant should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. If you choose an indoor location, you may need to provide a grow light.
This succulent plant is a variety of the Elephant Bush and comes in a variety of colors. It is often referred to as the Variegata variety. Both have a similar appearance, but the Variegata type has larger, more prominent red stems. Both types need bright light and a warm climate to thrive.
This plant produces a cluster of five-petaled flowers that are very tiny. The leaves are green, but can have a pinkish tinge. The plant grows slowly and has upright, compact growth habit. It is less tolerant of full sun than the species, so you should avoid placing it in direct sunlight.
Growing from a cutting
You can easily grow Portulacaria afra (Elephant Bush) from a cutting. This plant grows in a variety of colors, including variegated and miniature forms. It is also used as a food source for livestock and in Southern African cuisine.
Portulacaria afra needs bright light and a well-drained potting medium. It prefers unglazed ceramics for its pots, which allow for better evaporation. It also prefers a southern window, which is recommended for growing it indoors. However, direct sunlight should be avoided, as it can burn the leaves and cause yellowing.
If you’re a beginner when it comes to propagating Elephant bushes, take stem cuttings during spring and summer. After the cuttings have healed, they’ll soon produce new leaves. You can transplant them into a permanent pot or garden bed in a few weeks.
Pests and diseases
Portulacaria afra is a hardy plant that can be grown in USDA hardiness zones nine through eleven. It can be grown both as a groundcover and as a houseplant. It is sensitive to low temperatures, so it is best to bring it indoors in the winter months. This plant can also be damaged by direct sunlight, which may cause its leaves to yellow and burn.
Portulacaria afra is native to Southern Africa, where it grows on rocky slopes and drier river valleys. It prefers acidic and dry-moist soil and is drought-tolerant and frost-tolerant. It is an important part of the local ecosystem, retaining much of the water in the area where it grows.
If your plant’s roots are dry or the soil is too moist, it is time to repot it. Portulacaria afra can tolerate a bit of drought but needs regular watering for lusher foliage. To repot the plant, remove it from its pot and water it until the soil drains.
This plant likes full sun, so make sure to choose a sunny window to place it in. If you do not have a sunny window, you can also try a container. Portulacaria afra will do well in full sunlight, but it can be susceptible to mild sunburn.
When repotted, make sure to remove the lower leaves. This will help it grow thicker. It also needs fertilizer throughout the growing season. Ideally, you should use a liquid bonsai fertilizer or granular feed. The fertilizer should be applied sparingly, about once a month. If possible, avoid using petroleum-based fertilizers, which can cause major leaf loss.