Botanical Name: Portulacaria afra
Common Name: Elephant's Food, Elephant Bush  
Plant photo of: Portulacaria afra
Previous Photo     Next Photo
  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Shrub, Ground cover, Succulent


Height Range



Flower Color

Lavender, Pink


Flower Season



Leaf Color

Green, Dark Green, Light Green


Bark Color



Fruit Color



Fruit Season



Full, Half, Shade





Growth Rate

Moderate, Slow


Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Rocky, Unparticular


Soil Condition

Average, Poor, Well-drained, Dry


Soil pH

Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

Japanese, Spanish, Tropical, Water Garden


Accenting Features

Unusual Foliage, Unusual Shape


Seasonal Interest



Location Uses

Entry, Indoor, Patio, Raised Planter, Swimming Pool, Walkways, With Rocks


Special Uses

Cascade, Container, Filler, Mass Planting, Small Spaces, Hanging Baskets


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Jerry Sortomme Editor
Photographer: Mountain States Nursery
  • Description

  • Notes

This interesting succulent has an irregular growth habit. Depending on pruning and cold, Elephant's Food can be grown as a groundcover or shrub to 12' tall and wide. Plants work very well in containers, and can be used indoors or outdoors. It is drought tolerant but needs some protection from frost. It does best with some shade in most arid climates; otherwise, it tolerates full sun. This plant is a native of South Africa.
Planting: 1. Dig a hole 1" less the depth and 2 times the width of the container. 2. Fill hole with water, let soak. 3. Set root ball in hole. 4. Fill hole halway with native soil and water. 5. Finish backfilling hole, build basin and water.