Elephant Bush

Portulacaria afra variegata


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This plant is a favoured food of elephants in its native southern Africa, hence its name. However, it is also edible for humans and is locally used in cooking to add a sour flavour. A very large, bushy succulent, it can grow to unbelievable heights (such as 3.6m tall!) under the right growing conditions, but is typically grown much smaller by enthusiasts.

Working beautifully in hanging baskets as “spiller”, or as an addition to an indoor or outdoor succulent collection, it’s best grown in a container that can be brought inside in cold weather. Preferably, place it in full sun to part shade—somewhere in your garden which receives more than 6 hours of sun a day. Indoors, place near a sunny window or under bright light. Fairly heat tolerant, its leaves are thinner than most succulents so they store less water, meaning regular watering is needed.

Interestingly, Elephant Bush also acts a powerful ‘carbon sponge’, in that it absorbs high levels of carbon from the air.


130 mm pot, 90 mm pot, Cutting