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Portulacaria afra
Portulacaria afra

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Zone
Zones 8, 9, 12-25, 27, H1, H2
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Full, Partial, Shade
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Portulacaria afra

Elephant’s Food
Portulacaceae
Shrubs

Native to South Africa. Can be grown outdoors, but needs protection when frost threatens. Grows to 12 ft. tall and nearly as wide, with thick, juicy stems and glossy green leaves. Looks a bit like jade plant (Crassula ovata) and is sometimes sold under the name “miniature jade plant,” but it’s faster growing and more loosely branched, with tapering, more limber branches and smaller (1/2-in.-long) leaves. In its native land, it bears clusters of tiny pink flowers, but it seldom blooms in North America. In frost-free or nearly frostless areas, it can be used as a fast-growing informal screen or an unclipped hedge. Small specimens are good, easy-care potted plants and can be trained as bonsai.

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