Why Is My Elephant Bush Dying

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.

How is an elephant bush revived?

Give the plant a good drink of water for an immediate fix. After a few days of watering, it should regain its vigor, and the leaves will seem plump rather than withered. If this keeps happening to your plant, you might wish to water it more frequently.

I think a succulent that is underwater is simpler to cure than one that is overwatered. I usually keep my succulents on the dry side because of this.

Even after frequent waterings, a plant may not be taking any water if it appears shriveled and the water drains right through the pot practically instantly. Either the soil drains too quickly or it is the incorrect kind of soil for the plant.

Why is my elephant bush losing moisture?

Verify that the plant is not very dry or wet. When submerged, the leaves of this “Spekboom” elephant bush (Portulacaria afra) will get shriveled.

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

Portulacaria afra, sometimes called Elephant Bush or Elephant Food, is a succulent garden shrub and bonsai subject used all over the world. It is the ideal complement to your succulent garden, whether it is inside or outside. Although it is not related to Crassula ovata, this plant is frequently referred to as dwarf jade or miniature jade. The stems are crimson, and the leaves are tiny, fleshy, spherical, green to yellowish. They have a nice acid flavor and are edible. Elephant Bush can also be found in different colors.

This succulent, which goes by the common name “Elephant Food,” is not only eaten by elephants but also by goats and tortoises. In order to provide a sour flavor to salads, soups, and stews, it is frequently utilized in Southern African cooking.

Elephant Bush may grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 9b through 11b if it is planted outside. Like all succulents, it has issues, such as leaf drop.

Overwatering and Underwatering

Elephant Bush failures are typically caused by overwatering, which encourages the fungal rot disease. The plant that receives too much water develops bloated and discolored leaves. In extreme circumstances, leaves may drop. Repot the overwatered plant after removing any decaying roots to salvage it.

In the event that the Elephant Bush is submerged, leaf drop can also happen. The lack of water causes the leaves to dry out and occasionally fall off. In the summer, this succulent needs to be watered more frequently than in the winter. In between waterings, let the soil to dry. Give the plants enough water in the winter to prevent the leaves from withering.

Soil Issues

Leaf drop could also happen if the soil is deficient in nutrients or has poor drainage. You can make your own mixture or use succulent-specific potting soil. Any soil mixture for succulents should prioritize having good water drainage. Perlite can aid in aeration and drainage when used with ordinary potting soil. Utilize a balanced fertilizer just twice each summer.

Changes in Light, Temperature, and Humidity

In Elephant Bush, abrupt changes in humidity, temperature, and light can all cause leaves to fall off. If moved to a location with less sunshine, this succulent, which enjoys full sun, may start shedding its leaves.

The temperature is the same. The plant may behave similarly if you move it from a cooler to a much warmer environment or vice versa and start dropping leaves. The same outcomes may result from significant changes in humidity. Elephant Bush prefers daytime temperatures of 70 to 85 F (21 to 29 C) and nocturnal temperatures of 50 to 55 F. (10 to 13 C). To keep the plant from being overly dry, keep it away from vents for heating or cooling. Winter humidity levels can be maintained by using humidifiers.

Pests and Diseases

A plant can get weak enough from pests and illnesses to potentially lose its leaves. Whiteflies and scale moths are the pests most likely to harm leafy succulents. Spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus gnat larvae are some examples of additional pests. Fungal diseases are the ones that damage Elephant Bush the most. Through adequate irrigation, water drainage, and insect control, these diseases can be avoided.

How frequently should an elephant bush be watered?

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 quite some time to grow. 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.

General Care for Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush

You should include Portulacaria afra in your indoor or outdoor succulent garden. Although it goes by the moniker “Miniature Jade,” this succulent is not linked to Crassula ovata. Additionally, there are tiny and striped varieties of elephant bush. The non-variegated variety can withstand more heat.


“Elephant Bush requires the same amount of water as other succulents do. You should utilize the “Use the “soak and dry” method, letting the soil to dry out in between waterings. When in dormancy, Portulacaria afra requires less frequent watering.

Portulacaria afra can withstand more frequent waterings than other succulents since its leaves are so thin.

Additionally, make sure to get our FREE watering cheat sheet to learn how to determine whether your succulents are receiving too much water (and how to save them if needed).

Where to Plant

Because Portulacaria afra is not cold hardy, it is advisable to grow this succulent in a container that can be moved indoors if you reside in a region that has temperatures below 30 F (1.7 C). It thrives in full to some sun. Plants should be placed in a garden area with six hours of direct sunlight each day.

If planting indoors, place it in a sunny window. This succulent tends to stretch easily if not given enough sunlight, however the stretching isn’t as noticeable as other succulents.


Use a sterilized, sharp knife or pair of scissors to propagate Portulacaria afra “Elephant Bush from cuttings. Remove a stem from the main plant, and allow it to callous for several days before placing on well-draining soil. When the soil is fully dry, add water.

Do elephant bushes enjoy the sun?

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.

How is an indoor elephant bush cared for?

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.

Are elephant ear plants poisonous?

If consumed in high numbers, elephant ear plants are poisonous. Oxalic acid, which the plant’s leaves and stems contain, can seriously illen children or animals. However, heating makes the toxins innocuous, so many civilizations have eaten them for years without any ill effects (specifically taro root, or Colocasia esculenta). view more common plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats.

Do elephant ear plants bloom?

They can bloom, but it is neither typical nor predictable. After taking their plants outside and nourishing them, some gardeners report spathes (spring blooms), whereas other gardeners never see them bloom. The main reason these plants are grown is for their lush foliage.

Are elephant ear plants perennials?

In zones 9 and higher, the majority are perennials, meaning they will reappear each year. You can treat them as annuals if you plant in a cooler climate, or you can dig up the tubers before the first frost and store them for the winter in a cool, dry spot.

When do elephant ear plants sprout?

After planting, elephant ears often sprout three to eight weeks later. When the weather starts to warm up in the spring, sprouting happens. In warmer than in cooler climates, they will sprout more quickly. You can start them indoors and move them outside as it warms up to expedite the process.

Why are my elephant ear plants turning yellow?

There may be an issue if the leaves are turning yellow. Change the plant’s exposure to sunlight or water, and consider adding fertilizer if necessary. As an alternative, the plant can be hibernating for the season. Trim the yellow leaves, then wait for it to come back in the spring.

Do elephant ears spread?

Elephant ear plants can grow in clumps or spread out across the ground. Runners will soon create a substantial mass of plantings, which may or may not be desirable. Select a clumping kind if you are concerned about their spreading out of control.

Can elephant ears grow in full sun?

Most plants do best in bright, indirect sunlight rather than full sun. While too little sunshine might result in yellowing, too much sunlight can burn the leaves. There are certain types that can withstand direct sunlight.

Can you plant elephant ear plants in a pot?

Elephant ears can be grown in pots, yes. You should use a robust, capacious container because they are rather big. Container-grown plants can easily be moved inside when cold weather arrives and enjoyed as houseplants.

Why are my elephant ear plants drooping?

There can be a problem if elephant ears are drooping. Consider changing the amount of light, water, or fertilizer used. Large leaves being overly hefty is another factor in drooping. Plants can be supported and kept from drooping with the aid of staking. If it is too chilly for the plants, they will likewise droop.

How often should elephant ears be watered?

Weekly watering is recommended for Elephant Ear, especially during the growing season. For your Elephant Ear plant, recommended humidity levels are above normal. Between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for elephant ears.