Whether you call it Mini Jade or Elephant Bush (Portulacaria afra ‘Green’) (Jacquin), this stemmed succulent is particularly versatile and easy to grow. Plant it outdoors in warm climates and it can grow into a dense, 4′ tall shrub. Keep it indoors in a small pot and it will stay a petite, bonsai plant. It is native to South Africa and Swaziland where it grows on sunny, rocky slopes. It even has a symbiotic relationship with elephants: elephants eat some of the branches and their trampling aids propagation of new shrubs from stem cuttings.
P. afra stands out as an easy to grow plant, even for beginners. It has deep red stems that verge on purple that accent its bright green leaves. Planted outdoors, it grows as a cascading ground cover and eventually mounds upon itself into a shrub up to 4′ tall. Though reluctant to bloom in cultivation, P. afra can sometimes produce clusters of tiny, violet flowers in midsummer.
Despite similar appearances, P. afra is not closely related to the Jade Plants. It is, however, equally easy to grow indoors. Pick pots and soil with great drainage and place the plant near a sunny window. The stems are easily pruned into your desired form or left to cascade from a container. Water deeply but infrequently, particular during winter dormancy. In warmer months, try your hand at propagating stem cuttings. No elephants required.
|COLOR – PRIMARY||Green / Lime|
|COLOR – SECONDARY||Red / Burgundy|
|BLOOM COLOR||White Bloom|
|COLD HARDINESS||Zone 10 (30F)|
|RECOMMENDED LIGHT CONDITIONS||Full Sun, Bright Indoor Light|
|MAXIMUM HEIGHT||Over 12″|
|GROWTH HABIT / SHAPE||Vertical Grower / Tall Stem, Shrub|
|SEASONALITY||Winter Dormant Partial|
|SPECIAL CHARACTERISTIC||Hard to Kill, Pet Safe, fast grower, easy to propogate|