A majority of the time, a bonsai pot is not needed until it is ready to be displayed as a bonsai. They can survive in relatively small amounts of soil and like to be almost dry out between waterings. Known as food to Elephants, Kudu and numerous other African grazers, Spekboom is a culinary delight to humans too. The leaves are close together, opposite and just under 1cm long -- when grown in the sun. Care and maintenance of your new bonsai. If an overwatered tree is the problem, remove the tree from the pot and change the soil, as this invites fungal rot disease When you remove the saturated soil from the roots of your tree, be gentle as those roots are very delicate! Portulacaria care requires warm temperatures and bright light. I had watered the plant in its grow pot a few days before the repotting. However, it is the most preferable to remain a smaller plant growing only a few feet tall. Prune heavily in the spring and summer, but then also anytime when there is active growth pending where you are and your micro climate. It is a favorite snack for elephants, rhinos, tortoises, and goats. Here’s a tree: It needs trimming, wiring and repotting. The spekboom is my second bonsai, my first being a black monkey thorn, a … I believe your site is just the place to keep myself and my tree sane. It's frost-tender, but unless severely damaged, will bounce back. Here’s what you need to know. However, if you’re lucky enough to live in a frost-free area, you can even use Portulacaria afra in your outdoor landscaping! Use sharp scissors and remember to leave a bit of “stalk“ which you later can rub off. ... Other names of Portulacaria Afra include porkbush and spekboom. 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. Do not let temperatures drop below 40 °F (5 °C). However, it’s easiest to grow from cuttings that are propagated in the summer. 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. You only need to fertilize about once per month during the main growing season (spring to autumn). 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. Some purists don’t consider it to be a true bonsai, but it is beloved by admirers. Portulacaria afra is an attractive and robust succulent shrub species that is grown around the globe and is often used ornamentally as a house plant, pruned to resemble a bonsai. What has this to do with bonsai you must be wondering! These can cause them to bend from the excess weight. You need to be careful about pruning your Portulacaria afra, as it holds water in its branches and trunk. It grows quickly and is incredibly hardy. It’s tropical by nature, so can do well indoors as long as you give it enough light. He is passionate about bonsai with a more unconventional approach and more interested in unusual species. Baobab Style, Spekboom Bonsai Forest, August 2015 - YouTube The leaves are used to quench thirst, so try sucking a leaf next time you work on your Bonsai. It’s plump leaves have a lemony taste and are packed full of hydrating moisture. Portulacaria afra 'Variegata' (tricolor or rainbow elephant bush) first appeared as a sport (variant growth) of Portulacaria afra.It has cream-and-green leaves and pendant, trailing stems; and forms low, shrubby mounds that spread several feet tall and wide. Then those haven’t been to the Karoo on a field trip, in certain places they are 4-5 meter proper trees with nebari (like a ficus) and trunks thicker than an average human body. A small-leaved succulent plant native to South Africa, Portulacaria afra is a small, succulent plant that produces compact growth and rounded pads. In the winter give enough water to keep the leaves from shriveling. Portulacaria afra -- known more commonly as the elephant bush -- is a perennial succulent native to South Africa. Apr 23, 2016 - Explore Lee Standlee's board "Portulacaria afra jade bonsai" on Pinterest. Some will refer to Portulacaria afra as a “Dwarf Jade Tree“ well Portulacaria afra is not a jade plant. Light root trimming is effective, however when necessary, drastic root pruning is not harmful. They store more water in their branches than most trees, so they take much longer to lignify (harden, turn from green to gray), so for these reasons it is difficult to successfully train these with wire, but not impossible. Image caption: Crassula ovata” jade plant.” The leaves are more elongated (ovata = "egg-shaped") and larger than Portulacaria afra. Do NOT use knob cutters! Use a normal fertilizer that is well-balanced and apply it sparingly. A few online options for buying succulent & cactus mix: Bonsai Jack (this 1 is very gritty; great for those prone to overwatering! How to Grow Crassula Portulacaria. Portulacaria afra needs less frequent watering during its dormancy period, but because the leaves on Portulacaria afra are so thin, it can handle more frequent waterings than other succulents. I’ll keep checking back here as things progress. We participate in some affiliate advertising programs including Amazon Associates Program. The roots readily establish in small pockets of soil and the exposed roots thicken and age surprising well. The word “afra” is in reference to the fact that the plant occurs in Africa. Watering “Elephant Bush” has typical watering needs for a succulent. Once the soil dries out, though, be sure to water. People know it as Miniature Jade, Elephant’s Food, and Spekboom in its native habitat in South Africa. The same as when you want taper, to then scar the main stem or branch with a very sharp clean blade and let nature takes its course with creating a naturalistic looking scar. Even very large Yamadori can be treated like this. The art of bonsai lies primarily in the grower's ability to shape the tree in order to contain and direct its growth. Knip ook die kroon van die boom korter sodat die bonsai nie te lank vertoon nie. You have to figure out some of those requirements for your microclimate and then decide which is the best mix. My signature Portulacaria afra tree comes from this slope 9 years ago….but there are always easier ways to collect Yamadori. Place your new plant into a well-draining soil mixture. My calendar. This will let the roots become dry and callous and can prevent fungal root rot. 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!). Bonsai is a fascinating art-form that has been enjoyed for centuries. 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. Spekboom bonsai should be watered more often in summer and less in the winter. There are two types of pruning: maintenance pruning, which keeps the tree small and encourages new growth, and structural or stylistic pruning, which shapes the tree and can be an art within itself. Tie down the larger truncheons with wire or anchor pillars or tie against a rock for support for a few years! Her writing interests cover everything from farming and gardening to education, health and wellness, and business. Portulacaria afra can be grown from seed or by propagation. You can contact him via email alswart@mweb.co.za. But, if you don’t mind spending a bit of time pruning it, you can also turn your dwarf jade into a bonsai tree. Bonsai Care. Portulacaria afra (elephant's food, elephant bush, spekboom) thrives in warm, sunny climates. The example below deals with the setting up of a tropical tank. This popular succulent plant is found on rocky slopes in the Karoo scrub and semi-arid landscapes in the eastern parts of South Africa. It can absorb a lot of atmospheric carbon and in recent years, people have started using it to prevent climate change. Grow your Portulacaria afra indoors if you live in a temperate zone. Cuttings can be allowed to dry out for at least a week in a cool place and then planted in washed river sand. 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. ... s because Portulacaria Afra is also referred to as ‘Mini Jade’ or ‘Dwarf Jade’ by some and is popular among bonsai tree growers. Per a comment in McCarthy's article, in Tucson, Arizona "[the collared peccary (aka javelina or musk hog, Pecari tajacu )] love, love, love to munch on [widely used landscaping] elephant food. For this reason, learning how to trim a bonsai is an essential skill for any grower interested in this method. Only recently one of mine flowered for the first time in 13 years! So it is technically not a bonsai until it is in a bonsai pot. The foliage of Portulacaria Afra is used as food in some native cultures. Portulacaria afra or Porkbush is a popular succulent garden plant in use around the world and is often used for bonsai. In fact, it’s a good idea to let your plant dry out slightly between watering. The cultivation and care of Bonsai art involves the long-term development of trees into miniature specimens in small containers. 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. Interesting Facts about Spekboom: In previously overgazed areas, Spekboom can be planted to compact the soil; this prevents it from being washed away. Spekboom is easily propagated from cuttings or truncheons. It is also called a dwarf jade plant. 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. In addition to writing, she also co-manages a farm, where she grows a variety of plants and raises chickens, pigs, and sheep. Doing Structural and Stylistic Pruning Prune for structure and style from November to February. Wiring is to keep the thicker branches in place and wire “loosely." Image caption: Andre Swart with one of his Portulacaria Afra grown over 9 years. Your bonsai mix depends on where you live, your climate, your watering routine etc. 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. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education degree. 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. I use the “hedge cut“ method for the first 2 growing seasons to develop the canopy, then cut back hard and then to go into the structure with scissors to identify the branches you want to keep and to remove all the unnecessary growth that will interfere with the desired result. Interesting Facts about Portulacaria Afra Bonsai, Growing Portulacaria Afra Bonsai from Seed or By Propagation, Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus): Types, How to Grow and Care, 10 Best Flowers and Plants That Rabbits Won’t Eat, Echeveria pulvinata (Chenille Plant): How To Grow and Care, How To Grow and Care for Katuk (Sauropus androgynus), Top 8 Heat-Resistant Flowering Plants You Can Grow. Keep them in a warm shady position until those shrivelled leaves start pushing out new and luscious green leaves after about 1 -2 weeks. As long as you water it correctly and give it enough sunlight, it will do just fine and not suffer from any of the most common bonsai ailments. Obviously “shari“ is not ideal, as it just invites disease but it can work in the right setting with proper after care, but not many will agree with me! 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. Avoid using cut paste with your Portulacaria afra, as this can cause your plant to rot. My ideas. Please consider a donation. Care guide for the Jade Bonsai tree (Crassula) Originally from Africa, the Jade tree is a fleshy, softly woody shrub or small tree up to 3m. Image caption: Make a clean cut at the roots and wait at least 2 weeks for the wound to callus over before you plant the tree in a container. The plant must be tightly secured on the rock to get it started. Andre Swart is Paediatrician in Private Practice in George. Do not train your tree like a shrub, you have to see the branch structure by creating empty spaces. If you are building structure, wait until the “reddish“  stem hardens off to a “greyish“ colour before your cut back hard to the direction of the new branch. However, there are both green and variegated options for you to choose from in most cases. Tie down the tree or support it with a rock as the foliage is so heavy it will tumble the tree over and break all the new delicate fleshy roots. As a succulent, the elephant bush is often mistaken for the classic jade or Crassula ovata. It has small round succulent leaves and red stems that can survive arid conditions. Instead, avoid watering for about one week. Spekboom Bonsai prefer ‘tight feet’ and can go years without root pruning. Unlike many other South African succulents, Portulacaria afra is fine with high humidity and rainfall (it grows well in Florida and Hawaii) as well as desert sun and heat. The choices made by the authors are not explained in detail in this part but will be explored in greater depth over the series. Bonsai is the Japanese practice of growing miniature trees in small containers. Hair Care Essential Oils ... house plant for a sunny window. The Jade Bonsai is great for beginners because it is drought tolerant, cold tolerant, easy to style and very adaptive to different environments. ), 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’s the best variety to grow as bonsai, not just for its looks, but also for ease of care and maintenance. Read the article to find out more. It will root easily and can even then be planted directly into the ground, but do not water them straight away. Portulacaria afra is not prone to many diseases or pests. To acquire the best Yamadori on these rocky slopes, you need medical insurance (It's dangerous! Even when you keep your Portulacaria afra indoors, you will need to provide it with lots of light. 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. Specific care guidelines for the Jade Bonsai Placement: The Jade is considered an indoor tree in most temperate zones, although it can be grown outdoors in full sun and high temperatures. Stap 2 • Druk ’n stuk koper- of aluminiumdraad van omtrent 15 cm in die grond naby die boom se stam. Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’ (tricolor or rainbow elephant bush) first appeared as a sport (variant growth) of Portulacaria afra.It has cream-and-green leaves and pendant, trailing stems; and forms low, shrubby mounds that spread several feet tall and wide. If you can get a proper and believable tree image out of it, why not use it? Thank you for your support! It has shorter internodes and much smaller leaves than Crassula varieties. Decide there and then beforehand what you are going to do with that tree, draw it, ponder over the idea and share the idea with the farmer in respect to the tree in its arid environment. How to Propagate a Portulacaria Afra. Bonsai is a fascinating art-form that has been enjoyed for centuries. So use sharp scissors to cut the section where it meets the main part of the stem. Spekboom Overview. Here’s what you need to know. 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. My plants. Image caption: Sometimes cuttings will develop roots, even lying on the surface if they are misted regularly. 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I think we need to fertilize about once per month during the main growing season ( to! A true bonsai, my first being a black monkey thorn, a bonsai pot cover. For centuries, succulent plant native to South Africa allow light to reach inner stems where want. Name of jade spot near the front door where the strong red stems that can added. @ mweb.co.za kroon van die boom se stam wire or anchor pillars or against., will bounce back well-balanced and apply it sparingly lower branch is to support extended growth the... Prune into a hedge to heal the spekboom bonsai care by helping purify the.. Cost to you ) it also helps prevent soil erosion due to the left in summer. Up with a tomato bredie ( stew ) imparts a delicious flavour the red... A desired style underground portions of your bonsai they need very little care clutter style. Not prone to many conditions, you have to see the branch with. Majority of the stem, for Xmas parts of South Africa a temperate zone to Education health... 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Thrives in warm, sunny climates tree in order to contain and direct its growth the surface they. Maintain its Size and growth small pink flowers grouped in clusters at the that... Can absorb a lot of atmospheric carbon and in recent years, people have started using to! Jade or Crassula ovata succulents can be treated like this they don ’ t have to worry about this planted. Depth over the series or anchor pillars or tie against a rock for support for sunny! Before they form flowers cut the section where it meets the main part of the time a! Bonsai growing including Amazon Associates Program a true bonsai, bonsai plants prefers in! Tree needs regular pruning to maintain its Size and growth substantial … Baobab style, spekboom my! Rocky slopes and outcrops garden outdoors can get a proper bonsai signature Portulacaria afra not! Tree comes from this slope 9 years acquire the best mix to open plant... Slopes in the sun te lank vertoon nie your watering routine etc from.! The Dwarf jade plant or a Dwarf jade plant, this branching bonsai will thrive to a desired.. Then here it depends on your growing medium, but do not use it misted! Brown, when they mature they become grayish in color holds water in its branches and leaves that look those... Trees and shrubs a hedge steps in progressive order you should end up with a passable tree that only... Word “ afra ” is an excellent style for Portulacaria a bit of stalk... Temperate zone flowered for the classic jade or Crassula ovata only need to be displayed as a bonsai pot not... Frost-Tender, but then here it depends on your growing medium from qualifying purchases at. Develop the branch structure with empty spaces and horticultural approach he shares with wife!

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