Portulacaria afra – The Elephant Plant
Portulacaria afra or ‘elephant plant’ also known as the ‘small leafed jade’ grows to 2m in part sun / shade. Avoid frosts. Portulacaria afra can be used as a topiary or bonsai plant where the strong red stems add much character to the plant.
Excellent when grown in a container and also suited to a succulent garden outdoors. This hardy plant is a good candidate for growing on a balcony, where it will receive lots of sun, little rain and even put up with a little neglect.
It gets its common name not from its size, but because elephants find them a useful source of moisture in the heat of summer.
Green foliaged as well as variegated foliage forms are available. The variegated form Portulacaria afra variegata is known as the ‘Rainbow Bush’.
Often mistaken for Jade plants, they faster growing which does appeal to many gardeners. If left they can reach 2m in height in a few years. In the natural environment, the elephants do the pruning every summer.
Like most succulents Portulacaria afra is easy to grow from cuttings. Both leaf and stem cuttings work equally well.
Remove a leaf or stem, let it dry so the wound callouses over a little and then simply push it into a sharp propagating mix.
Keep moist but not wet, the cutting should root in a few weeks and be ready to transplant in 6 – 8 weeks,
Available for sale from the following nurseries
RORAIMA NURSERY – Contact: Ph/Fax: (03) 5282 8704
20 Swan Street, Lara, Vic. 3212