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. So it was only fitting to add an elephant to the dwarf jade bonsai forests. Image caption: Crassula ovata” jade plant.” The leaves are more elongated (ovata = "egg-shaped") and larger than Portulacaria afra. Do not take out if you do not have a plan for developing it into a proper bonsai. Image caption: Andre Swart with one of his Portulacaria Afra grown over 9 years. It is High in Basic Nutrients This plant is edible and high in nutrients, especially Vitamin C, and a perfect addition to a salad. The portulacaria afra (dwarf jade, elephant jade, spekboom) is native to South Africa where they are part of the African elephant's diet. 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. Remove large leaves to open the plant and allow light to reach inner stems where you want new, smaller leaves to grow. But, if you don’t mind spending a bit of time pruning it, you can also turn your dwarf jade into a bonsai tree. "Tanuki" is a Japanese word which directly translated to English means "raccoon." How to Grow Crassula Portulacaria. The reddish-brown stems sustain upward reaching up to be 8’ to 15’ feet tall. Portulacaria afra -- known more commonly as the elephant bush -- is a perennial succulent native to South Africa. It has the same appearance as the unrelated jade plant. Portulacaria afra is also known as: Elephant's Food (English); Olifantskos (Afrikaans) and for some also known as “small leaf jade” and “dwarf jade." 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. Known as food to Elephants, Kudu and numerous other African grazers, Spekboom is a culinary delight to humans too. It has small round succulent leaves and red stems that can survive arid 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. It is also called a dwarf jade plant. 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. But there is this confusion regarding identification. Portulacaria care requires warm temperatures and bright light. Spekboom is a really versatile plant. Interesting Facts about Spekboom: In previously overgazed areas, Spekboom can be planted to compact the soil; this prevents it from being washed away. My ideas. Lives For Up To 200 Years. Image caption: Root-over-rock ”group planting” is an excellent style for Portulacaria. An easy to care for plant, it is often used in bonsai cultivation. Your bonsai mix depends on where you live, your climate, your watering routine etc. Stap 2 • Druk ’n stuk koper- of aluminiumdraad van omtrent 15 cm in die grond naby die boom se stam. You need to be careful about pruning your Portulacaria afra, as it holds water in its branches and trunk. Wiring is to keep the thicker branches in place and wire “loosely." Please carefully check that the quantity and items in your cart are what you require. Allow the soil to become dry before repotting and DO NOT WATER the plant immediately after potting. Prune heavily in the spring and summer, but then also anytime when there is active growth pending where you are and your micro climate. Cuttings can be allowed to dry out for at least a week in a cool place and then planted in washed river sand. Care and maintenance of your new bonsai. Bonsai is the Japanese practice of growing miniature trees in small containers. Spekboom is easily propagated from cuttings or truncheons. 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. 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. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you). You can also choose from common bonsai cultivars like Limpopo (a large-leafed variety), Prostrata, (a low-lying option), Aurea (a cultivar with yellow leaves) and Foliis variegatus and Medio-picta (both of which are variegated types). An easy to care for plant, it is often used in bonsai cultivation. Thank you for your support! Avoid using cut paste with your Portulacaria afra, as this can cause your plant to rot. This popular succulent plant is found on rocky slopes in the Karoo scrub and semi-arid landscapes in the eastern parts of South Africa. 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. How to Propagate a Portulacaria Afra. 3. Some spekboom trees can reach heights of 5 metres. There is no one “best” mix. Spekboom Overview. 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. In fact, it’s a good idea to let your plant dry out slightly between watering. The art of bonsai lies primarily in the grower's ability to shape the tree in order to contain and direct its growth. However, both species are often referred to by the common name of jade. Image caption: Sometimes cuttings will develop roots, even lying on the surface if they are misted regularly. It requires substantial … Watch out for “wire bite“ but fortunately once the wire is removed, the branch will bulge back without disfigurement because of the water content in the branches. The loose wire on the back lower branch is to support extended growth to the left in future as per design. This should ideally be done in the spring. However, when done slowly and methodically, Portulacaria afra benefits from pruning, which can force the tree to develop branches lower on its trunk. After a dormant period in winter, the bush produces small pink flowers grouped in clusters at the ends of the branches. 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. A majority of the time, a bonsai pot is not needed until it is ready to be displayed as a bonsai. It has shorter internodes and much smaller leaves than Crassula varieties. As succulents, they don’t need to be watered very often. It is native to Africa and likes to go dry between waterings. Some will argue, no “shari” or “jin” as this will invite disease, but nature will prove us wrong again! Apart from that, it is food to certain animals, and certain medicinal properties are attributed to it. Dwarf Jade Bonsai (Portulacaria afra) The Dwarf Jade Bonsai is a brilliant easy to take care of full proof bonsai tree. The artistic and horticultural approach he shares with his wife, Isabel, who is a keen gardener. Portulacaria pygmaea is a dwarf succulent type of shrub with small, thickly fleshy, grey green leaves and occurs on rocky hillsides in Namaqualand, South Africa and is also not suited to bonsai cultivation. It is also excellent for bonsai! Growing Elephant Bush Houseplants These succulents need well drained soil and an unglazed pot that will help excess moisture evaporate. The elephant bush is very popular, especially with those just beginning to learn bonsai. Portulacaria Afra-Elephant Bush Care, Types and Propagation. The Jade has a thick trunk and a fine branch structure with thick oval green succulent leaves. Do not use any fine particles or soil, the mix must be loose. ... s because Portulacaria Afra is also referred to as ‘Mini Jade’ or ‘Dwarf Jade’ by some and is popular among bonsai tree growers. If you have a well drained mix, then it is unlikely you will end up with root rot because it is usually not over watering but poor, compacted soil that will deprive your tree of oxygen and lead to the demise of your tree. A few online options for buying succulent & cactus mix: Bonsai Jack (this 1 is very gritty; great for those prone to overwatering! However, it is the most preferable to remain a smaller plant growing only a few feet tall. Excellent when grown in a container and also suited to a succulent garden outdoors. This is not a problem. From a distance, crassula portulacaria has leaves that look like those on typical North American variegated trees and shrubs. Using a Jade Plant or a Dwarf Jade Plant is recommended. It thrives in … In the winter give enough water to keep the leaves from shriveling. My signature Portulacaria afra tree comes from this slope 9 years ago….but there are always easier ways to collect Yamadori. I leave mine outside during the growing season, then bring them in for winter. Grow your Portulacaria afra indoors if you live in a temperate zone. A small-leaved succulent plant native to South Africa, Portulacaria afra is a small, succulent plant that produces compact growth and rounded pads. Training a spekboom in a literati style, that’s a challenge because of its heavy foliage but with proper care the leaves can be reduced by pinching to only 4-5mm big. Donate here or scan either of these codes: For all your pine bonsai lovers out there! I use about 70% grit/crushed stone and 30% composted pine bark, and I water my spekboom collection almost everyday. These can cause them to bend from the excess weight. Light root trimming is effective, however when necessary, drastic root pruning is not harmful. 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. Let the soil dry between waterings, but then here it depends on your growing medium. Spekboom; Elephant succulent; Elephant Bush Plant Care Size and Growth. 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. It will root easily and can even then be planted directly into the ground, but do not water them straight away. Do not train your tree like a shrub, you have to see the branch structure by creating empty spaces. 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. How to Propagate a Portulacaria Afra. I believe it is underutilised in our country, so I think we need to make more use of our indigenous species. 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. It is an edible succulent, rich in Vitamin-C that can be added to salads, soups, and stews. ), 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). It was very early spring so I didn’t have to worry about this newly planted fleshy succulent burning. Create an account or log in. It's going to make a nice cutting. 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. Portulacaria afra can be used as a topiary or bonsai plant where the strong red stems add much character to the plant. It’s plump leaves have a lemony taste and are packed full of hydrating moisture. Dwarf jade is a low-maintenance houseplant. Aug 3, 2014 - Portulacaria afra (dwarf jade) bonsai tree forest. You can contact him via email firstname.lastname@example.org. See more ideas about jade bonsai, bonsai, bonsai plants. However, if you’re lucky enough to live in a frost-free area, you can even use Portulacaria afra in your outdoor landscaping! The example below deals with the setting up of a tropical tank. Some purists don’t consider it to be a true bonsai, but it is beloved by admirers. Keep them in a warm shady position until those shrivelled leaves start pushing out new and luscious green leaves after about 1 -2 weeks. Image caption: Thick cuttings can lend themselves to develop Shohin or Mame Bonsai in proper ceramic containers, or in creative designed cement containers. Fortunately, this branching bonsai will thrive to a ripe old age with very little care. 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. 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. Even in their native habitat, the plants need to be very mature before they form flowers. 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. Their root system does not mind the leaching over time. What has this to do with bonsai you must be wondering! My advice. 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!). You will need to repot your Portulacaria afra once every two years. Elephant bush, Portulacaria afra, is a perennial succulent shrub from South Africa that is a popular succulent garden plant around the world.It is easily grown as a seasonal accent plant or low maintenance houseplant in our part of the world. Portulacaria afra Care Watering. Most gardeners will choose to grow this plant as a bonsai specimen, though. It has a pale pink flower. In fact, if you care for it right – or maybe even if you don’t – your bonsai can actually outlive you! 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. Cut away roots that look weak and suspicious. Portulacaria afra is much easier to develop as a good bonsai than the larger leaf jade plant, Crassula. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education degree. Portulacaria use their fleshy leaves and branches as reservoirs. Please consider a donation. The existing leaves may even shrivel before new leaves appear. Image caption: A Portulacaria “Raft style“ developed from a truncheon that fell on the ground years ago. Aug 3, 2014 - Portulacaria afra (dwarf jade) bonsai tree forest. They can survive in relatively small amounts of soil and like to be almost dry out between waterings. Portulacaria afra grows 6 to 8 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.Use it as a backdrop plant, and/or prune into a hedge. "According to C.A. The spekboom is my second bonsai, my first being a black monkey thorn, a … Young branches and trunk are reddish brown, when they mature they become grayish in color. Use sharp scissors and remember to leave a bit of “stalk“ which you later can rub off. Portulacaria afra is not prone to many diseases or pests. Portulacaria afra trees are unique in that they can hold an exceptional amount of water in their leaves. 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. It also helps prevent soil erosion due to the nature of its roots. Portulacaria afra grows 6 to 8 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.Use it as a backdrop plant, and/or prune into a hedge. Image caption: For example, fix the cuttings in an open plastic cooldrink bottle with riversand and fill up the top with 13 – 17mm stone. 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. With frequent pruning, the small leaves readily form desirable pads. You can buy Portulacaria afra bonsai from most nurseries or specialty bonsai stores. Spekboom; Elephant succulent; Elephant Bush Plant Care Size and Growth. The juice is also used as an antiseptic and as a treatment for sunburn. Do NOT use knob cutters! If you can get a proper and believable tree image out of it, why not use it? Your bonsai mix depends on where you live, your climate, your watering routine etc. It can absorb a lot of atmospheric carbon and in recent years, people have started using it to prevent climate change. The Jade Bonsai is great for beginners because it is drought tolerant, cold tolerant, easy to style and very adaptive to different environments. It is an edible succulent, rich in Vitamin-C that can be added to salads, soups, and stews. Whether you are looking for a plant that can be turned into a … It is also called a dwarf jade plant. Spekboom bonsai should be watered more often in summer and less in the winter. I’ll keep checking back here as things progress. 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." Interesting Facts about Spekboom: In previously overgazed areas, Spekboom can be planted to compact the soil; this prevents it from being washed away. Spekboom. 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. Bonsai is a fascinating art-form that has been enjoyed for centuries. Take the usual care as for cuttings like described before, try to save those delicate roots and make clean cuts. I hung it in the spot near the front door where the Spider Plant had been growing. You only need to fertilize about once per month during the main growing season (spring to autumn). Tie down the larger truncheons with wire or anchor pillars or tie against a rock for support for a few years! How to Grow Crassula Portulacaria. The spekboom is not only hardy – it is also a perennial and can live for up to 200 years! Spekboom bonsai should be watered more often in summer and less in the winter. Many people choose to plant trees into a big plastic or ceramic pot to grow the tree to achieve denser growth, to get thicker trunks, to develop roots, or just to build up the overall health of the tree. 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. #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. Bonsai Care. 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