How To Repot Elephant Bush

Elephant bushes are simple succulents to multiply. Stem cuttings are the simplest and quickest way to reproduce elephant bushes. Take a healthy piece of the stem with lush foliage and cut it off. For a few days, let the stem dry out so that the “wound” can heal. The stem should then be placed in an appropriate potting mixture, and the cutting should be kept warm and wet to promote roots.

When repotting the plant, you can also propagate elephant bush succulents. Parts of the root with thick, healthy-looking stems can be divided.

Healthy elephant bush leaves, like many succulents, develop roots when placed in soil. However, this method is less efficient and takes longer to propagate Portulacaria afra.

The best advice for growing elephant bushes is to leave healthy leaves that have fallen onto the potting soil. They frequently take root and begin to produce other plants, which you can transplant into a different container.

When should an elephant bush be repotted?

from spring to summer. I prefer to hold off till the weather has warmed up and the days have become a little longer. You can repotter from late winter to early fall in more temperate regions.

Winter is the season for plants to rest, so avoid repotting your elephant bush then.

Soil Mix

The Elephant Bush can be grown indoors or outdoors. Make sure the mix you use is loose and fully aerated because it is a succulent. Succulents store water in their leaves, stems, and roots in addition to their roots. Root rot results from using too much water.

As a Houseplant

Using a high-quality succulent and cactus mix is perfectly acceptable if your plant is a houseplant. Even though I now create my own mixes, if you can’t locate one locally or don’t want to create your own, I still suggest any of the ones listed below.

A few internet retailers for succulent and cactus mix are Hoffman’s (more affordable if you have a lot of succulents, but you might need to add pumice or perlite), Bonsai Jack (this one is quite gritty; perfect for people prone to overwatering! ), and Superfly Bonsai (another fast-draining 1 like Bonsai Jack which is great for indoor succulents).


I added some more components because mine is grown outdoors year-round in a region where it is hot and sunny for five months of the year. I repot plants frequently, and I have a garage where I keep them, so why not?

Here are the resources I employed:

  • 1/3 mix of succulent and cactus (see above for options)
  • third of potting soil
  • I enjoy Fox Farm Ocean Naturals since it contains many beneficial ingredients that plants adore.
  • Pumice in generous handfuls
  • The drainage and aeration elements are now more important.
  • multiple hefty handfuls of compost
  • Naturally-occurring compost feeds the soil, but be careful not to put too much in a container this size.
  • 1/3 of a layer of worm compost

My favorite alteration, but because it’s so expensive, I only use it seldom. I’m using Worm Gold Plus right now. Here’s why I find it so appealing.

The Pot I Used

This pot is 8 deep and 14 broad. I used spray paint to turn it yellow from tan. Similar pots can be purchased here. These are the ones that contain both my String of Bananas and my Grey Fishhooks Senecio.

Steps Taken

Before I replanted my Elephant Bush, I gave it some water. Any plant stress during the procedure should be avoided.

By pressing the sides of the pot, turning it upside down, and drawing the plant out, the plant was readily removed.

In order to get the root ball level with the top of the pot, I added some potting soil and a mixture of succulent and cactus plants to the bottom of the pot.

An established Variegated Elephant Bush growing in an upright container looks like this.

Why I Repotted My Elephant Bush

As you can see from the video, this plant didn’t actually need to be replanted. Although it wasn’t at all pot-bound, I wanted a better plant to take the place of the Spider Plant.

The Elephant Bush can live in the pot for a long time because it is big enough. Compared to other Portulacaria kinds, this variegated variety grows more slowly and stays smaller.

What sort of soil prefer elephant bushes?

These succulents require well-drained soil and a pot without glaze to aid in the evaporation of extra moisture. Cactus soil or potting soil that has been cut in half, combined with sand, vermiculite, or pumice, is the ideal composition for this kind of plant.

When growing elephant bush inside, use a site with indirect sunlight. The leaves may burn and fall off if the sun is too bright.

Elephant bush succulents look great in a succulent arrangement with other plants that need comparable conditions and upkeep.

After repotting, should I water my elephant bush?

The Portulacaria Afra needs a succulent soil mixture that drains well. There shouldn’t be too much moisture in the mixture.

Use a pot with holes for drainage. Perlite is another option for your potting soil mixture. The correct airflow in the soil is made possible by perlite, hastening the drying process.

What are the Sunlight Requirements of the Elephant Bush?

Place your elephant bush where it receives some direct sunlight and some partial shade throughout the day.

The Portulacaria Afra or Elephant Bush requires at least six hours per day of direct sunlight. Avoid spending a lot of time in direct sunlight. Otherwise, keep in some shade.

Heat intolerance exists in the elephant bush in miniature. It might be more prone to sunburn than its larger sibling.

What is the Humidity Requirement of the Elephant Bush?

A succulent is not required by the elephant bush for humidity. It does well in humidity at room temperature.

The portulacaria afra needs average indoor humidity. Spraying it with water to wet it is not recommended because it can result in unreasonably high humidity levels.

How Should I Water the Elephant Bush?

Elephant bushes don’t store a lot of water because their leaves are thin. In the summer, it has to be watered once a week. In the winter or during the milder summer months, water it every 1.5 weeks.

Simply because the Portulacaria has thin leaves, don’t overwater it!

How to Fertilize the Elephant Bush?

Little fertilizer is required by the Elephant Bush. You can use the one designed for cacti. Give a drop each month from spring to fall, when the plants are actively growing.

In the winter, succulents scarcely need to be consumed. That is more akin to their free time. When it’s cold, water with fertilizer will make them unhappy!

How to Prune the Elephant Bush?

The Elephant Bush can be pruned for shape in addition to removing dead sections!

Before pruning, the Portulacaria Afra needs to be dry. Before you start pruning, make sure your knife is clean and sharp. Offsets and dead stems must be immediately cut.

The Elephant Bush plant can also be styled by pruning. Make cuts in the desired shapes for your Portulacaria Afra. You can even create a Bonsai tree in small size if you like!

You’ll need water and bleach. Pour some bleach into a 90 percent water solution. Before you cut the plant, thoroughly rinse your blade or knife in the mixture.

How to Repot the Elephant Bush?

The Elephant Bush takes a while to mature. Only when the plant outgrows its pot will you need to repot it. You shouldn’t water the Portulacaria Afra for at least seven days after repotting.

How frequently do I need to water my elephant bush?

The soil must drain effectively for Portulacaria Afra ‘Elephant Bush,’ much like for other succulent plants. For my plants, I’ve been using a straightforward mixture that has been successful. For better drainage, I prefer to incorporate perlite into a cactus potting mix. I eyeball it to be roughly a 2:1 solution of cactus mix and perlite rather than using precise proportions. Sandier soil is suggested by some. To do this, combine coarse sand with cactus mix or potting soil (about 2:1 ratio).

The majority of my supplies come from a nearby hardware store. Alternatively, by visiting this page, you can get them instantly online. Please click on “Best Soil for Succulents” to read more about soil for succulents.

Watering Requirements for Portulacaria Afra

Your local climate has a big impact on how much water you need. Although these plants are well adapted to arid environments and drought, they also do well when provided enough water. There isn’t exactly a defined routine or recipe for watering succulent plants like these.

My watering plan is adjusted to the arid circumstances of my environment because I live in a very dry climate. In the summer, I give my Elephant Bush a nice drink by watering it as much as every 7 to 10 days, perhaps more during a heatwave. When the weather gets cooler, I reduce my watering schedule to 10 to 14 days.

In a humid environment, you won’t need to water as frequently. Additionally, if you keep your plants indoors, you might not need to water them as frequently, particularly if they don’t get a lot of light. Since we get a lot of rain in my location throughout the winter, I largely rely on rainwater and refrain from watering at all. However, if there is no rain at all throughout the winter, I water at least once a month or every two to three weeks.

Checking the soil’s moisture content is an excellent way to determine when to water. Before you water again, the top inch of the soil ought to feel dry. It’s usually preferable to submerge and increase watering as necessary if you are unclear of how much or how frequently to water in the beginning. Pay attention to how your plant appears so you can alter the amount of water it receives.

Consider using instruments like hygrometers or moisture meters to check for moisture in the soil and air if you need more assistance with watering tactics. These instruments are reasonably priced and useful, especially if you’re not sure when to water your plant again. If you require assistance determining your watering requirements, do look into these moisture meter tools.

Are you curious to learn more about watering succulents? Visit my article “How And When To Water Succulents” for more information on this subject.

Do I need to trim my elephant bush?

If the branches of this plant are not clipped, they will develop into unkempt brush. Because of this, pruning is a crucial component of elephant bush maintenance. The elephant bush in your garden will stay in top condition with regular pruning.

  • Elephant Bush should be pruned to achieve the correct shape. Some people favor pruning bonsai.
  • Removing leaves that are broken or dead.
  • Get rid of any dead branches.
  • Plant parts with illness should be cut off and disposed of completely away from the plant.

Does elephant bush enjoy direct sunlight?

the watering can be held! Elephant bush thrives on neglect, like the majority of succulents. Simply plant it in sandy soil with full sun to ensure quick drying and prevent root damage. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom so the water can flow out if you are growing it in a pot. If there is a saucer underneath the pot, it is essential to drain it after watering the plant because they detest having their feet wet. To pot the plant, use a ready-made cactus mix or create your own by mixing equal parts potting soil and sand or vermiculite.

How is an elephant tree transplanted?

The fundamental procedures for transplanting are the same whether you’re reorganizing the garden or starting with plants from a garden center.

  • Take the plant out of the pot.
  • Examine the roots. Tease the roots apart gently if they fully enclose the soil. If they are too heavily gathered at the pot’s bottom, thoroughly loosen them.
  • Fill the hole with the plant. If your soil is loose or sandy, the plant should sit slightly above soil level.
  • With your hands, compact the soil around the plant.

Why are the leaves on my elephant bush falling off?

Overwatering is the main reason why Elephant Bush loses leaves. Too much water makes it difficult to breathe, which promotes the growth of fungus-related disorders. Swollen and discolored leaves are the first symptom of overwatering. Simply replant your Elephant Bush in new soil and pull out any decaying roots if you notice these changes in it.

Another indication of underwatering is leaf drop. Elephant Bush leaves might dry out and finally fall off if they don’t get enough water. In the summer, you should water your elephant bush frequently, and in the cooler months, you should water it less frequently. Use the “soak and dry approach,” as you can with the majority of other succulents, and you won’t go wrong. To prevent the leaves from shriveling in the winter, you should only apply a few drops of water.

What does an elephant bush look like when it is overwatered?

Dropped leaves are most usually the result of a watering problem. If a portulacaria afra gets overly damp, it will drop its leaves and appear sickly. The fallen leaves may be yellowish in color and soft to the touch. This frequently occurs when a plant is overwatered, the soil medium is not allowed to dry out quickly enough, or both.

If the plant was substantially overwatered, the stems would begin to rot from the bottom up. The stem turning dark or black from the bottom is the first symptom of this. A plant that has persistent “wet feet” and insufficient sunlight rots more quickly since it isn’t given a chance to dry off.

Elephant bush can it be grown indoors?

Elephant bush is a native of South Africa, where it grows on rocky, semi-arid hillsides. It is also referred to by its botanical name, Portulacaria afra. Because it is a succulent plant, it may thrive in practically any environment. Both indoors and outdoors, it thrives, but it’s preferable to grow it inside. Additionally, it has as many names as applications. In its native South Africa, people refer to it as Spekboom. Elephant’s Food and Miniature Jade are some other names for it.

Elephant bushes and the traditional jade plant, Crassula ovata, another succulent, are commonly mistaken for one another. Even though they are similar in many ways, classic jade can be identified by its unsupported vertical growth. The elephant bush, on the other hand, needs support because it appears to droop and is unable to maintain its heavier leaves.

If you’re wondering where this succulent got its name, it has quite obvious origins. Juicy leaves and stalks of the plants are enjoyed by many animals, including elephants and goats. 80 percent of an elephant’s food in the wild comes from this plant. Tortoises may eat from this unusual succulent as well.

This hardy plant can thrive in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. This succulent’s reddish-brown stems shoot upward and reach an average height of 8 to 15 feet. The likelihood is that it will only grow to a height of a few feet, though, considering its sluggish rate of growth.