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How to Grow Elephant Bush Plant Indoors

Updated: April 12, 2022

Elephant bush plant, also known as Portulacaria afra, is a succulent that belongs to the Didiereaceae family. It’s native to South Africa and can grow up to 6 meters tall in the wild, but when grown indoors, it usually reaches a maximum height of 2 meters. The elephant bush plant is relatively easy to grow, making it a popular choice for indoor gardeners. Here’s how you can grow an elephant bush plant indoors.

Choosing the Right Pot and Soil

When growing an elephant bush plant indoors, the first thing you need to consider is the pot and soil. Choose a pot that’s at least 2-3 inches larger than the root ball of your plant. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging.

For soil, use a well-draining succulent mix or create your own by mixing equal parts of potting soil, sand, and perlite. The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH of around 6.5.

Watering

Elephant bush plants are drought-tolerant and don’t require frequent watering. Water your plant only when the soil is completely dry. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can kill your plant.

During winter months, reduce watering even more as the plant goes dormant and doesn’t require much water.

Light and Temperature

Elephant bush plants thrive in bright, indirect light. Place your plant near a south-facing window or any other location where it can receive plenty of sunlight without being exposed to direct sunlight.

The optimal temperature range for elephant bush plants is between 65°F-75°F (18°C-24°C). They can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C) but avoid exposing them to frost.

Fertilizing

Elephant bush plants don’t require frequent fertilizing. Fertilize your plant once a month during the growing season (spring-summer) with a succulent fertilizer. Don’t fertilize your plant during winter months when it’s dormant.

Propagation

Propagation of an elephant bush plant is relatively easy. You can propagate the plant using stem cuttings. Take a 3-4 inch cutting from the stem of your plant and let it dry for a day or two. Then, dip the cutting into rooting hormone powder and plant it in well-draining soil. Water sparingly and keep the soil moist until roots start to form.

Common Problems

The most common problem faced by elephant bush plant owners is overwatering, which can cause root rot. Make sure that you’re not watering your plant too frequently and that the soil has adequate drainage.

Other problems can include pests such as mealybugs and spider mites. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap to control these pests.

Conclusion

Growing an elephant bush plant indoors is relatively easy and requires minimal care. With proper potting, watering, lighting, and temperature, your plant can thrive for years to come.

FAQ

Q. Can I grow an elephant bush plant outdoors?

A. Yes, elephant bush plants can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. They prefer bright light but can tolerate some shade.

Q. Is the elephant bush plant toxic to pets?

A. Yes, elephant bush plants are toxic to pets such as cats and dogs if ingested.

Q. Can I prune my elephant bush plant?

A. Yes, you can prune your elephant bush plant to control its size or shape. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts just above a node or leaf axil.