Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'
Variegated Elephant Shrub
|South Africans have a saying: as long as your Spekboom (Elephant Bush) grows and prospers, so will your finances. Fortunately, this branching succulent thrives to a ripe old age with very little care. An important source of fodder -- not just elephants, but sheep, goats and other creatures munch their way through its dense thickets. Looks much like a Jade Plant but grows faster, with lankier, tapered limbs branching at angles, and smaller, ½-inch leaves, which glisten as if polished with oil. Reaching 9 feet in the wild, it makes a fine hedge or high-growing ground cover in dry Mediterranean climates. Where colder, it does well in pots and baskets. Bonsai lovers prune it into an angular miniature tree. Variegated forms tend to grow slower and stay smaller. Need plenty of sun. Tend to grow straggly in shade. Give indoor plants strong southern exposure and regular pruning to keep bushy. Drought-tolerant, but need some water while growing and in hot weather. During winter rest, keep almost dry. Best above 50º F. Will not survive much below freezing. Grow from seed or from young stem cuttings first dried 12 to 24 hours in airy shade, then rooted in damp sand or perlite.
Creamy white edges the bright green succulent leaves. Stems have a red tinge. Small clusters of tiny, pale pink flowers rarely bloom in cultivation.
Attributes - Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'
Plant Type: Succulent
Bloom Season: Late Spring through Late Summer
Flower Color: Pink
Height: 6 ft. to 10 ft.
Width: 10 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Climate: Zones 9, 10
Notes: Container Plants, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers. Susceptible to Root Rot.