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Interesting Facts

Portulacaria is endemic to semi-arid regions, mostly hilly lowlands in Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique. It is popular as a bonsai and for xeriscaping.

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Elephant Bush   (Portulacaria afra)

Baby Jade

Portulacaria is an evergreen, multibranched succulent. Its glossy, round leaves are less than one inch long and it bears clusters of flowers and rarely even pink fruit.

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Plant Types: Groundcover, Interior Plant, Perennial, Shrub
Light: Full Sun
Height: 3 feet to 6 feet
Width: 6 inches to 6 feet
Zones: 13a to 15b
Bloom Color: Pink
Bloom Seasons: Late spring, Early summer, Mid summer
Leaf Color: Green
Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native
Shape: Prostrate, Rounded, Spreading or horizontal
Fertilizer: Low-Nitrogen Fertilizer
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Plant Care

Propagate from cuttings taken from stem sections in spring.

Plant Growth:

Perennial, succulent shrub. Grows to 12 ft. tall and nearly as wide in climates that are not in danger of having frosts. Portulacaria grows best in full sun or partial shade. Grow outdoors in climates above 50F (10C). Otherwise, plant indoors under warm conditions. Where species are hardy, in warm and dry regions, Portulacaria is suitable for a shrub border or desert garden.


In South Africa, where they are native, Elephant's Food will bloom with clusters of tiny pink flowers. In North America, they seldom bloom. The stems, leaves, and branches are fleshy.

Soil and Irrigation:

Does best in sharply drained soil with average fertility. Water liberally between spring and early fall; keep nearly completely dry at other times.


Implement a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer every 6-8 weeks between spring and early fall.


Remove crossing shoots, annually, in late winter or early spring, to maintain a healthy framework.


Scale insects.