Elephant Bush (Portulacaria)

Elephant Bush (Portulacaria)

$4.50 inc. GST

Pot Measurement : Approx. 8cm(Ø) x 7.5cm(H)

Elephant Bush or Portulacaria afra (pronounced por-tew-luh-KAR-ee-uh AF-ruh) is a bushy succulent shrub belonging to the Didiereaceae family. In its native habitat in the eastern part of South Africa and the Limpopo Province from the Eastern Cape northward it’s found growing in dry, rocky slopes.


Size and Growth

  • Elephant Bush prefers growing in dry, rocky slopes and outcrops.
  • The reddish-brown stems grow upward reaching up to be 8’ to 15’ feet tall.
  • However, it is most likely to remain a smaller plant growing only a few feet tall.

Flowering and Fragrance

  • The elephant bush plant is characterized by a brownish-red stem sprouting with small, glossy green leaves.
  • It is rare for Elephant Portulacaria to bloom in cultivation.
  • However, when they get the proper growing conditions, they will produce flowers in clusters and in shades of white, pink or purple.

Light and Temperature

  • This plant requires plenty of bright light and a warm environment to grow and thrive.
  • Plant in full sun or partial shade. However, if plants are moved from indoors to direct sunlight the leaves will burn and shed.
  • This is why filtered or partially shaded bright light is ideal.
  • Elephant Bush can handle mild frost and cold temperatures to 25° degrees Fahrenheit for a short period of time.
  • If you live in a climate with freezing winter temperatures, it’s best to grow Afra in a container so the plant can move indoors during the colder months.

Watering and Feeding

  • As a drought tolerant plant, Elephant Bush doesn’t need lots of water to survive. It adapts to dry and hot conditions.
  • They generally thrive when given regular waterings.
  • As a rule of thumb, they need more water in the summer months when it’s hotter and drier as opposed to cooler winter months.
  • Wait for the top layer of soil to dry out a little before watering again to ensure you’re not overwatering the plant.
  • Feed plants in the early spring or late winter with a diluted indoor plant fertilizer at 50% strength.


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