Portulacaria afra Care Watering. It is also called a dwarf jade plant. This houseplant copes well with average household humidity and will thrive in a sandy, well-draining potting mix for cacti and succulents with added pumice. Even very large Yamadori can be treated like this. In the winter, you can water as little as once every three to four weeks, especially if your plant is being grown in cooler conditions. Portulacaria afra – the name might sound like a mouthful, so it might be easier to refer to this plant by another name. There are other species of Portulacaria (8 species known) which will not be suitable for bonsai, for example: Image caption: Portulacaria armiana is one of three Portulacaria species in South Africa and native to Namibia, easily distinguished by its large cotyledon-like grey-green leaves and tall perennial whipstick-like inflorescence. It also helps prevent soil erosion due to the nature of its roots. It is best known and appreciated for its amazing ability to heal the environment by helping purify the air. I have been doing Bonsai for more than 25 years and Portulacaria is one of my favourite trees to work with, yes, for me it, is a tree. The Jade Bonsai is great for beginners because it is drought tolerant, cold tolerant, easy to style and very adaptive to different environments. The choices made by the authors are not explained in detail in this part but will be explored in greater depth over the series. ), abseiling skills and the proper equipment and technique. Care and maintenance of your new bonsai. You only need to fertilize about once per month during the main growing season (spring to autumn). Create an account or log in. If you have a well drained mix, then it is unlikely you will en… Watering “Elephant Bush” has typical watering needs for a succulent. Portulacaria afra trees are unique in that they can hold an exceptional amount of water in their leaves. However, there are both green and variegated options for you to choose from in most cases. So, I hope that more people will see the potential of Portulacaria Afra and that the “Spekboom “ as an indigenous species will gain respect as a proper tree represented in different styles in our Bonsai Collection. Do not worry about those shrivelled leaves. Do not use any fine particles or soil, the mix must be loose. It thrives in … Image caption: A Portulacaria “Raft style“ developed from a truncheon that fell on the ground years ago. Unlike many other South African succulents, Portulacaria afra is fine with high humidity and rainfall (it grows well in Florida and Hawaii) as well as desert sun and heat. It has the same appearance as the unrelated jade plant. So it was only fitting to add an elephant to the dwarf jade bonsai forests. Interesting Facts about Spekboom: In previously overgazed areas, Spekboom can be planted to compact the soil; this prevents it from being washed away. Do not let temperatures drop below 40 °F (5 °C). 8 of my top tips are shared in this easy to follow blog post in the continuing series on growing great shohin pines from seed. If an overwatered tree is the problem, remove the tree from the pot and change the soil, as this invites fungal rot disease When you remove the saturated soil from the roots of your tree, be gentle as those roots are very delicate! A few rules on how to care for elephant bush will help you grow a specimen of interest that may be a stand-alone plant or part of an intricate succulent garden. I use about 70% grit/crushed stone and 30% composted pine bark, and I water my spekboom collection almost everyday. Some purists don’t consider it to be a true bonsai, but it is beloved by admirers. If you follow these steps in progressive order you should end up with a passable tree that will only improve with age. This plant isn’t quite as sensitive to overwatering as other succulents can be. The spekboom is not only hardy – it is also a perennial and can live for up to 200 years! The spekboom is my second bonsai, my first being a black monkey thorn, a … Portulacaria afra is an easy going succulent that has an attractive growth habit, with small green succulent leaves on a red coloured stem. The juice is also used as an antiseptic and as a treatment for sunburn. Portulacaria afra needs less frequent watering during its dormancy period, but because the leaves on Portulacaria afra are so thin, it can handle more frequent waterings than other succulents. However, it is the most preferable to remain a smaller plant growing only a few feet tall. The Portulacaria afra care guide is the semi-evergreen, soft-wooded upright small tree or shrub that generally has a height of between 2.5 and 4.5 meters. It is also excellent for bonsai! Portulacaria afra is an attractive and robust succulent shrub species that is grown around the globe and is often used ornamentally as a house plant, pruned to resemble a bonsai. 3. Place your new plant into a well-draining soil mixture. You have to figure out some of those requirements for your microclimate and then decide which is the best mix. It was very early spring so I didn’t have to worry about this newly planted fleshy succulent burning. With fertilizer they can push growth and if left in the sun, they need very little care. Image caption: Water sparingly so that the potting mixture is only damp, but I prefer to give them a twice daily misting on the leaves only, until the cutting takes root. The only way to thicken the trunk is to put them in bigger pots and to grow them outside as much as possible, try against a northern faced wall and aim for root zone warmth. Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush,” “Elephant Food,” “Dwarf Jade” Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush” is a large, bushing succulent with woody stems that can grow to incredible heights when given the proper time, nutrients, and growing conditions. Don’t be upset if it is not up to show standard on your first attempt, you will learn all the basic techniques in this exercise and the more you look at trees the more expert you will become. I had watered the plant in its grow pot a few days before the repotting. Stap 2 • Druk ’n stuk koper- of aluminiumdraad van omtrent 15 cm in die grond naby die boom se stam. Their root system does not mind the leaching over time. The Dwarf jade, otherwise known as ‘Spekboom’ in its native Africa, is a delightful succulent commonly grown as bonsai. Light root trimming is effective, however when necessary, drastic root pruning is not harmful. If some of the old leaves drop, they will quickly be replaced. Some will refer to Portulacaria afra as a “Dwarf Jade Tree“ well Portulacaria afra is not a jade plant. Specific care guidelines for the Jade Bonsai Placement: The Jade is considered an indoor tree in most temperate zones, although it can be grown outdoors in full sun and high temperatures. If you’re looking for a versatile plant that can be turned into a hedge, a bonsai, used as ground cover or perhaps a large bush, spekboom is the plant for you. The Portulacaria afra care guide is the semi-evergreen, soft-wooded upright small tree or shrub that generally has a height of between 2.5 and 4.5 meters. Take the usual care as for cuttings like described before, try to save those delicate roots and make clean cuts. People know it as Miniature Jade, Elephant’s Food, and Spekboom in its native habitat in South Africa. Image caption: Crassula ovata” jade plant.” The leaves are more elongated (ovata = "egg-shaped") and larger than Portulacaria afra. Image caption: Pruning – (Clump style) Define the stems you want to develop into branches by nipping off leaves and leaf buds along the stems , along the underside of branches. If your tree is drooping branches that touch the side of the container or the soil, you'll likely have to cut it back to save the rest of the plant. It is a beautiful plant in which caring is very easy. Do NOT use knob cutters! I believe your site is just the place to keep myself and my tree sane. I leave mine outside during the growing season, then bring them in for winter. Image caption: Andre Swart with one of his Portulacaria Afra grown over 9 years. Portulacaria afra can be grown from seed or by propagation. Image caption: Root-over-rock ”group planting” is an excellent style for Portulacaria. Then those haven’t been to the Karoo on a field trip, in certain places they are 4-5 meter proper trees with nebari (like a ficus) and trunks thicker than an average human body. Excellent when grown in a container and also suited to a succulent garden outdoors. Add rocks or stone to the mix - try simulate the conditions in the Karoo! Growing Elephant Bush Houseplants These succulents need well drained soil and an unglazed pot that will help excess moisture evaporate. Rebekah is a writer in upstate New York, just north of the Adirondack Mountains. The leaves are close together, opposite and just under 1cm long -- when grown in the sun. So use sharp scissors to cut the section where it meets the main part of the stem. Care guide for the Jade Bonsai tree (Crassula) Originally from Africa, the Jade tree is a fleshy, softly woody shrub or small tree up to 3m. The word “afra” is in reference to the fact that the plant occurs in Africa. Bonsai masters use the Elephant Plant to create spectacular bonsai. But do not grow it like a shrub, be creative and develop the branch structure with empty spaces. The above ground and underground portions of your bonsai … Some spekboom trees can reach heights of 5 metres. Elephant Bush Succulents Elephant bush plant may get 6- to 20-feet (2-6 m.) tall in habitat where it is a favorite food of elephants. Spekboom do well when fertilized with organic fertilizers, or those organic pellets in abundance on the surface (or even inorganic, a few 2:3:2 granules in used tea bags just below the surface at the rim of the pot) will let them grow like crazy, so you have to keep up with pruning right through the active growing season, which here in George, Southern Cape, is almost throughout the year. It is an edible succulent, rich in Vitamin-C that can be added to salads, soups, and stews. In addition to writing, she also co-manages a farm, where she grows a variety of plants and raises chickens, pigs, and sheep. The example below deals with the setting up of a tropical tank. In this first part of a series on aquariums, the Dunhin’s introduce the reader to some of the decisions a hobbyist will need to make when getting started. Thank you for your support! However, it is the most preferable to remain a smaller plant growing only a few feet tall. Or, you can grow it in a hanging basket ant let it sprawl like a waterfall instead of growing it as an upright miniature tree. Spekboom Overview. Smith (1966) there are two strains of the plant, the sour spekboom and the sweet spekboom, the latter practically eaten out of existence by all stock and wild antelope." I’ll keep checking back here as things progress. These can cause them to bend from the excess weight. Learn how to grow and maintain a Jade Plant bonsai tree. Cape Town, South Africa (2 February 2020) – The City’s Recreation and Parks Department will participate in the Spekboom Challenge with the Newlands Nursery growing 5 000 Spekboom trees to be distributed for planting during Climate Change Month in April this year. Image caption: The size of these trunks is what we all dream about. Bonsai is the Japanese practice of growing miniature trees in small containers. ), Hoffman’s (this is more cost-effective if you have a lot of succulents but you might have to add pumice or perlite), or Superfly Bonsai (another fast-draining 1 like Bonsai Jack which is great for indoor succulents). Per a comment in McCarthy's article, in Tucson, Arizona "[the collared peccary (aka javelina or musk hog, Pecari tajacu )] love, love, love to munch on [widely used landscaping] elephant food. This will let the roots become dry and callous and can prevent fungal root rot. What has this to do with bonsai you must be wondering! A small-leaved succulent plant native to South Africa, Portulacaria afra is a small, succulent plant that produces compact growth and rounded pads. It has now been shown to be effective in carbon sequestration (binding atmospheric carbon which is responsible for climate change), in semi-arid landscapes and thicket vegetation it is also being used for restoration purposes. ... s because Portulacaria Afra is also referred to as ‘Mini Jade’ or ‘Dwarf Jade’ by some and is popular among bonsai tree growers. Image caption: Portulacaria can grow in very little growing medium and with regular pruning and care, the leaves can get  smaller and the tree can even evolve in a literati style. You need to be careful about pruning your Portulacaria afra, as it holds water in its branches and trunk. My ideas. Keep them in a warm shady position until those shrivelled leaves start pushing out new and luscious green leaves after about 1 -2 weeks. It has small round succulent leaves and red stems that can survive arid conditions. Getting the plant to bloom will require you to keep it in a dry location, withhold water, and expose it to cooler nighttime temperatures. How to Plant the Elephant Bush. To acquire the best Yamadori on these rocky slopes, you need medical insurance (It's dangerous! Portulacaria afra (known as elephant bush, dwarf jade plant, porkbush and spekboom in Afrikaans) is a small-leaved succulent plant found in South Africa.These succulents commonly have a reddish stem and leaves that are green, but also a variegated cultivar is often seen in cultivation. Andre Swart is Paediatrician in Private Practice in George. Even when you keep your Portulacaria afra indoors, you will need to provide it with lots of light. As long as you water it correctly and give it enough sunlight, it will do just fine and not suffer from any of the most common bonsai ailments. But there is this confusion regarding identification. Because they’re so tough, spekboom are often used as firebreaks. As succulents, they don’t need to be watered very often. Here’s what you need to know. ... It’s the best variety to grow as bonsai, not just for its looks, but also for ease of care and maintenance. Portulacaria care requires warm temperatures and bright light. Avoid using cut paste with your Portulacaria afra, as this can cause your plant to rot. So it is technically not a bonsai until it is in a bonsai pot. Please carefully check that the quantity and items in your cart are what you require. So it is technically not a bonsai until it is in a bonsai pot. Luckily, it’s a bonsai plant that has plenty of alternatives (elephant bush, porkbush, dwarf jade plant, and spekboom, in Afrikaans, just to name a few!). There is no one “best” mix. Although most bonsai plants benefit from a gentle watering after they have been repotted, this is not something you need to do with your Portulacaria afra. Spekboom Overview. Using a Jade Plant or a Dwarf Jade Plant is recommended. There are two types of pruning: maintenance pruning, which keeps the tree small and encourages new growth, and structural or stylistic pruning, which shapes the tree and can be an art within itself. They can survive in relatively small amounts of soil and like to be almost dry out between waterings. Remove large leaves to open the plant and allow light to reach inner stems where you want new, smaller leaves to grow. Interesting Facts about Portulacaria Afra Bonsai, Growing Portulacaria Afra Bonsai from Seed or By Propagation, Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus): Types, How to Grow and Care, 10 Best Flowers and Plants That Rabbits Won’t Eat, Echeveria pulvinata (Chenille Plant): How To Grow and Care, How To Grow and Care for Katuk (Sauropus androgynus), Top 8 Heat-Resistant Flowering Plants You Can Grow. Some will argue, no “shari” or “jin” as this will invite disease, but nature will prove us wrong again! This popular succulent plant is found on rocky slopes in the Karoo scrub and semi-arid landscapes in the eastern parts of South Africa. If you notice that the leaves have developed red edges, you are doing okay with the amount of sunlight you are providing. A majority of the time, a bonsai pot is not needed until it is ready to be displayed as a bonsai. Refill the pot with fresh, an almost loose , gritty mix and important to position your spekboom to its original growing position not to further stress the tree. The reddish-brown stems sustain upward reaching up to be 8’ to 15’ feet tall. To … It's frost-tender, but unless severely damaged, will bounce back. This is not a problem. Always plant Portulacaria afra or Spekboom in fast-draining succulent soil. Photograph your Yamadori and send a photo later of the near finish product to the farmer, he will appreciate his contribution to your collection! Scientific name: Portulacaria afra Synonyms: Spekboom, Bacon Tree, Pork Bush, Elephant’s Food, Elephant Bush, Dwarf Jade Plant. It’s best to use the “soak and dry” method, and allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.Portulacaria afra needs less frequent watering during its dormancy period.. Because the leaves on Portulacaria afra are so thin, it can handle more frequent waterings than other succulents. Her writing interests cover everything from farming and gardening to education, health and wellness, and business. Aug 3, 2014 - Portulacaria afra (dwarf jade) bonsai tree forest. I received a ‘spekboom’ which appears to have been well begun, for Xmas. Bonsai is a fascinating art-form that has been enjoyed for centuries. You will need to repot your Portulacaria afra once every two years. I received a ‘spekboom’ which appears to have been well begun, for Xmas. My calendar. See more ideas about jade bonsai, bonsai, bonsai plants. Do not use any fine particles or soil, the mix must be loose. There is no one “best” mix. However, do keep in mind that you can keep it outdoors as long as it is placed in full sun and is kept at temperatures above 50 degrees or so at all times. From a distance, crassula portulacaria has leaves that look like those on typical North American variegated trees and shrubs. Try it! An easy to care for plant, it is often used in bonsai cultivation. Knip ook die kroon van die boom korter sodat die bonsai nie te lank vertoon nie. Make cuts clean and allow cuts to air dry and callus over naturally, do not use sealer as it is not necessary and will only invite disease underneath the sealer. Lives For Up To 200 Years. Portulacaria use their fleshy leaves and branches as reservoirs. Use sharp scissors and remember to leave a bit of “stalk“ which you later can rub off. It has shorter internodes and much smaller leaves than Crassula varieties. Most gardeners will choose to grow this plant as a bonsai specimen, though. In fact, it’s a good idea to let your plant dry out slightly between watering. Knip ook die kroon van die boom korter sodat die bonsai nie te lank vertoon nie. Did you know that the leaves of the Spekboom can be eaten and have a sour flavour (like a Granny Smith apple) It is heavily browsed by game and domestic stock and highly favoured by tortoises. The art of bonsai lies primarily in the grower's ability to shape the tree in order to contain and direct its growth. Use a normal fertilizer that is well-balanced and apply it sparingly. Here’s what you need to know. Spekboom Bonsai prefer ‘tight feet’ and can go years without root pruning. If you’re looking for a versatile plant that can be turned into a hedge, a bonsai, used as ground cover or perhaps a large bush, spekboom is the plant for you. Spekboom bonsai should be watered more often in summer and less in the winter. Spekboom (Portulacaria) is an easy to grow succulent plant that does best in full sun or bright, indirect light. Only recently one of mine flowered for the first time in 13 years! It is a beautiful plant in which caring is very easy. Spekboom bonsai s an indigenous plant that is common in South Africa. You have to figure out some of those requirements for your microclimate and then decide which is the best mix. It is High in Basic Nutrients This plant is edible and high in nutrients, especially Vitamin C, and a perfect addition to a salad. Interesting Facts about Spekboom: In previously overgazed areas, Spekboom can be planted to compact the soil; this prevents it from being washed away. This lovely succulent is an important source of food and moisture in the wild because elephants, sheep, goats and other creatures munch their way through its dense thickets. It will root easily and can even then be planted directly into the ground, but do not water them straight away. The plant must be tightly secured on the rock to get it started. Grow your Portulacaria afra indoors if you live in a temperate zone. "Tanuki" is a Japanese word which directly translated to English means "raccoon." The spekboom is my second bonsai, my first being a black monkey thorn, a … I believe it is underutilised in our country, so I think we need to make more use of our indigenous species. Actually the explanation is rather funny. It can absorb a lot of atmospheric carbon and in recent years, people have started using it to prevent climate change. It thrives in … Portulacaria afra (Porkbush) or “Spekboom“ as we all know it , is one of my favourite specimens to work with. Image caption: For example, fix the cuttings in an open plastic cooldrink bottle with riversand and fill up the top with 13 – 17mm stone. You can even turn yours into a lovely bonsai! #5 It is High in Basic Nutrients This plant is edible and high in nutrients, especially Vitamin C, and a perfect addition to a salad. Spekboom. With frequent pruning, the small leaves readily form desirable pads. Bonsai is a fascinating art-form that has been enjoyed for centuries. Even in their native habitat, the plants need to be very mature before they form flowers. Environmental factors such as temperature and humidity affect the speed at which the roots and new plant develop. Portulacaria afra is much easier to develop as a good bonsai than the larger leaf jade plant, Crassula. These “wire bites“ can sometimes contribute to the character of the tree. Spekboom is a sculptural low-maintenance choice for a warm, sunny spot; it likes bright, indirect light - a few hours of morning sunshine is perfect. Sometimes referred to as the “money plant”, South Africans have a saying: “as long as your Spekboom (Elephant Bush) grows and prospers, so will your finances.” Fortunately, this branching bonsai will thrive to a ripe old age with very little care. My wife and I will go on frequent visits to farms of patients of mine in the Karoo and with consent, we have the opportunity to collect some really old specimens. Portulacaria afra plant prefers growing in dry, rocky slopes and outcrops. My plants. Image caption: Thick cuttings can lend themselves to develop Shohin or Mame Bonsai in proper ceramic containers, or in creative designed cement containers. Spekboom; Elephant succulent; Elephant Bush Plant Care Size and Growth. Spekboom is a sculptural low-maintenance choice for a warm, sunny spot; it likes bright, indirect light - a few hours of morning sunshine is perfect. Here’s a tree: It needs trimming, wiring and repotting. The same as when you want taper, to then scar the main stem or branch with a very sharp clean blade and let nature takes its course with creating a naturalistic looking scar. It is a common name what most Americans and Europeans will call it BUT Jade is Crassula ovata, a completely different Family, Genus and Species. Your bonsai mix depends on where you live, your climate, your watering routine etc. Only needs a … Spekboom is a really versatile plant. Hot links. Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’ (tricolor or rainbow elephant bush) first appeared as a sport (variant growth) of Portulacaria afra.It has cream-and-green leaves and pendant, trailing stems; and forms low, shrubby mounds that spread several feet tall and wide. A majority of the time, a bonsai pot is not needed until it is ready to be displayed as a bonsai. Trim the bonsai tree's roots accordingly. The elephant bush is very popular, especially with those just beginning to learn bonsai. Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully. It grows quickly and is incredibly hardy. Trim your spekboom bonsai into a tree shape by removing branches and leaves that clutter the style you desire. Care for an Elephant Bush After Repotting. The leaves are used to quench thirst, so try sucking a leaf next time you work on your Bonsai. The reddish-brown stems sustain upward reaching up to be 8’ to 15’ feet tall. Dwarf Jade Bonsai Techniques. Using a Jade Plant or a Dwarf Jade Plant is recommended. In fact, if you care for it right – or maybe even if you don’t – your bonsai can actually outlive you! However, it’s easiest to grow from cuttings that are propagated in the summer. I use the “hedge cut“ method for the first 2 growing seasons to develop the canopy, then cut back hard and then to go into the structure with scissors to identify the branches you want to keep and to remove all the unnecessary growth that will interfere with the desired result. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education degree. Do not train your tree like a shrub, you have to see the branch structure by creating empty spaces. Also, they are missing the indentation at the tip that makes Portulacaria afra leaves heart-shaped. From a distance, crassula portulacaria has leaves that look like those on typical North American variegated trees and shrubs. However, both species are often referred to by the common name of jade. The Spekboom Challenge is a social media drive, motivating all South Africans to plant at least 10 Spekbome each, in 2020. The cultivation and care of Bonsai art involves the long-term development of trees into miniature specimens in small containers. The cultivation and care of Bonsai art involves the long-term development of trees into miniature specimens in small containers. Image caption: Sometimes cuttings will develop roots, even lying on the surface if they are misted regularly. Given the right setting and environment, a spekboom plant not flowering, may simply be that it is not old enough to reproduce yet. If you can get a proper and believable tree image out of it, why not use it? The existing leaves may even shrivel before new leaves appear. Portulacaria afra grows 6 to 8 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.Use it as a backdrop plant, and/or prune into a hedge.