Elephant Bush or the Portulacaria Afra plant is a low-maintenance succulent native to the South African region. It is characterized as a slow-growing plant that is also drought tolerant. Thus, it makes a good choice for novice gardeners and a perfect houseplant that could live for decades. Caring for these species is quite easy but the process of Elephant Plant Propagation could demand a little effort from the owner. However, the reward for your effort will be satisfying and beautiful.
When provided with the right conditions and if you pursue the right procedure for propagation it should be easy for you to propagate the Elephant Bush plant. The Elephant Bush propagation process is quite similar to other common succulents like the Jade Plant. So, if you have propagated the jade plant before, it won’t be much of an issue to propagate the elephant plant as well. However, to understand the process, optimal conditions, and basics of propagation, let’s dive into the details.
Basic Characteristics of Elephant Bush
- Botanical Name: Portulacaria afra
- Common Names: Elephant bush, Porkbush, Spekboom
- Native Area: South Africa
- Family: Didiereaceae
- Genus: Portulacaria
- Plant Type: Succulent
- Size: 8 to 15 feet tall
- USDA Zone: 9b-11b
- Toxicity: Ingestion is toxic to humans and pets
- Common Problems: Pest Invasion, Fungus, Root Rot
Elephant Bush Propagation Method
Propagation of elephant bush plants could be done on water and it could be done with leaf cuttings as well. It depends on the individual choice of the person. However, we are going to explain both methods here for your reference.
Method 1: Elephant Bush Propagation in Water
- Take a pair of scissors, shears, or sterile knife to cut out a healthy stem with plump leaves of a mature elephant bush plant. Cut the stem right under the leaf node.
- Make sure that you keep your stem cuttings aside for 2-7 days to dry up, or callus. The process will make sure that they won’t rot even before they start getting to the root. Also, make sure that the cutting is placed under good light conditions with good air circulation.
- Once you see the cut is dried out it is time to put the cutting into water and after some weeks you will see the roots coming out.
- Once your plant has developed the roots, then you can place it in well-drained soil and provide the optimal conditions for its growth. Once planted, you can treat it like a mature elephant bush plant.
Method 2: Elephant Bush Propagation from Lead Cuttings/ Stem Cuttings
- Take a stem cutting, 4 to 6 inches long with a leaf at the top and at the bottom from your elephant bush plant with a clean, sterilized knife, or a pair of scissors.
- Leave a 2 to 4-inch part of the stem naked after removing all the remaining leaves from the stem cutting.
- Dip the bottom 2 inches of your cutting’s stem’s 2 in a rooting medium. Excess powder can be removed by tapping the stem against the container.
- Put the wounded area in a warm, well-ventilated place so that it can heal and callus. The Elephant Bush plant might heal in a few days to a week.
- Fill a pot with the mixture, which should have a diameter of 4 inches, by combining four parts sand or perlite with one part potting mix. To balance the surface, press the sand down firmly using your hands. This results in a soil that has good drainage and offers your cuttings optimum ventilation.
- To a depth of 2 inches (5 cm), immerse the cutting’s stem into the combination. To fix the stem in the ground, compact the soil surrounding it with bare hands.
- To save water and stop dirt from overflowing the borders during watering, sprinkle 0.25 to 0.5 inches of gravel over the top of the pot.
- Water should be added to the soil to help the new roots start to emerge. Elephant Bush doesn’t normally need to be watered frequently, but it does need consistent moisture for the growth of its young roots.
- Put your cutting in a space that is warm, sunny, and well-ventilated. Once the plant has developed roots and new growth is visible, move your elephant bush plant to its final location.
Also Read: Elephant Bush Vs Jade Plant
Some Important Takeaways
- The best time to propagate the elephant bush plant is during spring and summer. They grow rapidly during this period and surely you will see new leaves soon.
- While propagating avoid direct sunlight exposure and put it near a window with bright indirect light. The plant is not rooted and cant holds enough water so there are chances of getting sunburn.
- With the right conditions provided at home, your elephant bush plant will start to root within the 3 weeks and you can see the new leaves in another 1-2 weeks.
- Water your cutting once or twice every week. Make sure that the top layer of soil is dry and after one day you can water the cuttings as they may be wet at the bottom even if it feels dry from the top. Wait for one day and then water your cuttings.
Although, the propagation of the Elephant bush plant requires patience and maybe some owners may find it time-consuming. But if you have patience and you have provided the right conditions for the plant to prosper, you are going to witness the beautiful blooms within no time. The beautiful, large, and bright pink elephant bush flower bloom throughout the year and not only look attractive but are fragrant also.
These plants are easy to maintain once they are mature which makes it even more convenient for the owners to take good care of the plant. Unlike other succulent species, the elephant bush is also available as a beautiful bonsai tree. For the elephant bush bonsai, you need to follow extra care as they are more fragile but make a beautiful addition to your home. Maybe the elephant bush could be your next houseplant, do check out the plant for once.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Can the Elephant Bush plant grow in water?
Yes, it is possible to grow elephant bush plant in water as it comes from a wet region of Africa and it has the tolerance to grow in moist soil.
Q2: How to care for elephant bush plants?
Usually, they are low-maintenance plants and thrive in all conditions but they love to sit in the fresh air. The plant needs porous soil, with regular watering once the soil feels dry and at least 5-6 hours of bright indirect light every day.
Q3: Are there any medicinal benefits of having an elephant bush plant?
Yes, the leaves of the elephant bush plant are used to treat conditions like over-exhaustion, acne, insect bites, blisters, dehydration, and sunburn, and also to bring down high blood sugar levels.
Q4: Is elephant bush the same as Jade?
No, Size makes this different from Jade Plant. Elephant bushes are much larger than jade plants