Flows Plant Plant Grow and Care for Elephant Bush

Grow and Care for Elephant Bush

Grow and Care for Elephant Bush post thumbnail image

Sometimes called the miniature jade plant, elephant bush is not actually related to the jade plant, which is a member of the Crassula family of plants. It is considered part of the Portulacaria family, commonly known as Purslane, although there is some research that suggests that it should be classified in the Didieraceae family.

This interesting plant is commonly sold as a houseplant, but in its native South Africa, it is quite a large plant, growing up to 15’ tall. This plant gets its name from the elephants who like to graze on its foliage. The leaves are also eaten by humans. It has a sour flavor and is commonly used in salads.

Elephant bush has recently been recognized for its nearly unparalleled ability to remove carbon from the air, which makes it a fantastic house plant. This succulent plant is easy to propagate and makes a nice hanging basket plant as well.

Elephant bush is a perennial succulent, although it can technically be considered an evergreen, as it does not shed its leaves for a dormant period. It is a very long-living succulent plant, and with the proper care, it can live up to 50 years.

Leaf Formation

The leaves of the elephant bush are small and resemble those of a jade plant. They are oval to round and bright green, occasionally with purple margins. These leaves are fleshy and plump and are the part of the tree most commonly eaten by both humans and animals, as the trunk is woody and semi-hard.

Flowers

Elephant bush does bloom, but it is unlikely to bloom indoors. It typically only blooms when grown in mild climates outdoors. But never say never! These plants CAN bloom indoors; it’s just not something to depend on.

Interestingly, the conditions needed for the plant to bloom are dry weather. If the elephant bush stays dry for some time and then gets good rain, it can bloom. This only happens when the plant is mature, and it typically blooms in the fall.

Propagation

Elephant bush can be propagated in three ways: root cuttings, stem cuttings, and leaf cuttings. Root cuttings put unnecessary stress on the parent plant, so it is recommended to avoid this. Propagating from stem cuttings is just as quick and will be less taking on the parent plant.

Stem Cuttings

Propagation by stem cuttings is the easiest way to propagate elephant bush. As with most succulents, leaf or stem cuttings will root very easily under the right conditions. The best time to take cuttings is in spring and summer, during active growth periods, to give the cuttings a good start.

Stem cuttings are one of the most popular methods of plant propagation.


Place cuttings cut side down into a container of moist cactus potting soil, you can increase the drainage by adding some pumice, which will hold moisture but drain well. It’s important to keep the soil moist but not wet while the cuttings take root, which takes 1-3 weeks.

Leaf Cuttings

You can propagate elephant bush from leaves in the same way. However, it will take longer, and stem cuttings have a higher success rate, so it is not the recommended method.

If you are not in a hurry and want to produce a large number of these plants without cutting away too much of the parent plant, simply remove some leaves, allow them to dry for three days and then stick them into a pot of wet soil with the attached side down. They should root within 3 weeks and you will have small plants next year.

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