Are you considering growing Elephant Bush? If so, you’re on the right page. In this article, you’ll learn more about this plant, what makes it ideal for gardening, and the best growing conditions this plant needs to survive. Read this growing Elephant Bush guide from start to end because you will indeed discover many things about this fantastic plant.
What is Elephant Bush?
Portulacaria afra is popularly known as the “Elephant Bush.” It refers to a perennial succulent native to South Africa. This plant is more of a succulent type which is best for beginner gardeners. Some gardeners confuse it with the Jade Plant because they have similarities such as the glossy green leaves and thick, woody stems. The most common type of Portulacaria afra is the Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’ which has the same shape as a typical Elephant Bush. However, its leaves are pretty unique because of the mix of green and white color.
The Elephant Bush plant could grow from 6- to 20-ft (2-6 m) tall in habitat. When grown indoors, it only produces a few feet tall. This plant is characterized by thick succulent brown stems having small green leaves. For the growing Elephant Bush guide, you need to consider several factors such as the warm temperatures and bright light it needs to thrive. After a dormant winter, the Bush can produce small pink flowers, which look very nice because they are grouped in clusters at the branches’ ends.
Reasons to Grow Elephant Bush in Your Garden
Are you still thinking about whether to grow Elephant bush? We’re here to give you enough reasons why your garden needs it, and here are some of them:
- Requires less maintenance
One reason why some people are afraid of growing plants is the maintenance the plants require. But you don’t need to fear the Elephant Bush because it is a low-maintenance succulent plant.
- Inhales more carbon dioxide
Carbon Dioxide is the oxygen of plants. Though it is good for them, too much carbon dioxide provides adverse effects, especially to the environment. The good news is that the Elephant Bush is an excellent ‘carbon sponge’ that efficiently uses more carbon from the air than other plants. This is because it can use both regular and CAM pathways to grow despite the adverse climatic conditions. Thus, the plant removes more carbon from the atmosphere.
- Serves as food
If you want to grow edible plants, the Elephant Bush is a must-have in your garden. If you follow this growing Elephant Bush guide, you’ll have healthy foliage that is edible. This plant is commonly eaten in southern Africa, which you can find in salads or soups.
- Heals several illnesses
The Elephant Bush is traditionally used medicinally for a variety of minor ailments. No wonder many people back then plant it since it can be grown from seed or propagated from cuttings.
- Acts as a natural deterrent
This plant contains a chemical that works as a natural deterrent to animals. If you want to grow them, make sure to take cuttings in spring or summer for the best results.
Your Complete Elephant Bush Growing Guide
If you want to have a healthy Elephant Bush, make sure to follow this guide:
- Elephant Bush is drought tolerant though it requires watering from April to October. However, don’t overwater it, or else it will rot. During winter, this plant is dormant; that’s why you can suspend watering. If you are growing Elephant Bush indoors, ensure that the pot drains well.
- If you want to grow the large succulents and reach a height of over 12 feet, practice the drought and soak methods. Follow this Growing Elephant Bush correctly and don’t forget to keep the plant in front of full indirect sunlight. Doing so guarantees that your elephant plant will grow big and strong with a width that can cover over two feet in diameter.
- Keep the pests away from the plants such as whitefly, spider, mites, and mealybugs.
- Elephant bush can thrive in the sunlight like all other succulents. This plant needs bright indirect light for the better part of the day. However, make sure that the succulent’s leaves will not get sunburns.
As a beginner in gardening, growing a plant that is unfamiliar to you is pretty challenging. But we make sure in this growing Elephant Bush guide that you learn what you need for you to keep the plant thriving. As long as you put it in a proper location with enough sunlight and avoid overwatering it, you can have a healthy Elephant Bush in no time.