How to Plant the SpekBoom – Portulacaria Afra?

It could be the answer to climate change! The Spekboom or Portulacaria Afra is gaining more and more traction in the news today because of this plants’ wonderful ability to absorb carbon. Now that you have come across a lovely succulent plant that would fit not only your garden but indoor space as well, you’re probably wondering how to plant this tree and help fight climate change. How to Plant the SpekBoom – Portulacaria Afra?

This post will go into detail explaining how to plant a Spekboom and how to take care of it so that it doesn’t die or wilt. This plant is a succulent plant, so you may be surprised at how hardy and durable this plant is!

For the sake of argument, the Spekboom has a wide range of names. Its scientific name is Portulacaria Afra, but also has a wide range of other names based on its area. It can be known as Spekboom, Elephant Bush, Pork Bush, Dwarf Jade plant, or a personal favourite – the Bacon tree.

How to Plant the SpekBoom – Portulacaria Afra?

It must be pointed out that the spekboom can survive quite comfortably in harsh environments. From severe heat to frost, this is a true Die Hard. So, is it difficult to propagate? Let’s discuss this further.

Ideal Growing of the Portulacaria Afra – Spekboom       

So, for your tree, shrub, or bonsai to be a success – you may wonder where is the best area for Spekboom to be planted? The Spekboom is a versatile hardy plant that can be planted in full sun or semi-shade areas. It can survive hardy dry areas or even bloom in well-cared-for flowerbeds.

The tree can tolerate a decent amount of frost, even when mature. Since it is a succulent plant, it can also withstand dry hot conditions. Succulents are not like most other plants; they require very little water to survive. It is important to note, overwatering of the spekboom can have adverse effects and cause the plant to rot. Restrict watering in the winter. Unless the indoor environment is unusually bright and warm, reduce watering until the lower leaves begin shrivelling, which could be several months.

Portulacaria Afra is not cold-resistant, so if you live in an area with a climate that gets colder than 1,7° C (30° F), it’s best to plant this succulent in a container that can be brought indoors. It does well in full to partial sun. Some good planting techniques would be to Plant in an area of your garden that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day.

How to Plant the SpekBoom – Portulacaria Afra?

The Portulacaria Afra or Spekboom (elephant bush) is a plant that does not produce a lot of seed when compared to other plants and shrubs. It does gain an advantage when grown from cuttings. Portulacaria Afra is easily propagated from cuttings. It grows well in normal soil that’s not overwatered.

To explain how easy it is to grow, this plant was often propagated by elephants when they would graze the plant. Offcuts of the grazing would drop to the ground and take root, thus creating future generations of spekboom.

Cuttings or truncheons take root easily and can be directly planted into the ground where they can start to grow. A fail-safe measure in planting spekboom could be described in these few easy steps…

  • Take a cutting of a spekboom of reasonable length. (5-15cm)
  • Allow the spekboom cutting to dry out for a day or two, in a cool dry place.
  • Place the cutting in potting soil and water sparingly.
  • Cuttings generally take root quickly and can be transplanted out into fine soil after 4-6 weeks.
  • Repeat this procedure for more spekboom!

Be sure to water sparingly! This tree is a succulent plant and can survive on very little water. Overwatering of the spekboom can cause the tree to rot.

Now that you know how to grow your own spekboom, you may wonder – what variations of spekboom are there?

Variations Of Portulacaria Afra

Spekboom can come in all shapes and sizes. Often these trees can be mistaken for other trees or shrubs in your everyday garden. The Portulacaria Afra have certain variations that do well in full sunlight & Partial sunlight environments. Some include …

  • Portulacaria Afra
  • Portulacaria Afra ‘Skyscraper’
  • Portulacaria Afra ‘Cork Bark’
  • Portulacaria Afra ‘Variegata’
  • Portulacaria Afra ‘Minima’
  • Portulacaria Afra ‘Aurea’
  • Portulacaria Afra ‘Macrophylla’ or ‘Limpopo’
How to Plant the SpekBoom – Portulacaria Afra?

Let us discuss a few variations of these you could most probably find at your local nursery.

Portulacaria Afra (Most Common) – Standard Variation

This is the most common form of spekboom. Trees may vary in size and shape. This will be dependent though, on how they have been cared for. This specific form of spekboom can grow to anywhere from 2-5m in height and spreads indefinitely. This is ideal to be used as a backdrop plant or as a hedge.

The Portulacaria ‘Variegata’ – Shrub Variation

This is a shrub-like type of Spekboom or elephant bush. It thrives well in low growing shaded and partial sunlit areas. The shrub-like spekboom has small round leaves which can change to a vivid yellow or soft orange when placed in direct sunlight. This smaller form of spekboom is well suited for indoor use and pot culture.

How to Plant the SpekBoom – Portulacaria Afra?

The Portulacaria Afra ‘Macrophylla’ or ‘Limpopo’ – Large Leaf Variation

This is more a tree-like type of Spekboom or elephant bush. This is easily distinguished as the Limpopo variation has large wide leaves when compared to other Spekboom. The leaves can measure up to 20-30mm long and 15-20mm wide. Nursery’s around the world have deemed this ‘elephant bush’ as its original name is rather difficult to pronounce.

How to Plant the SpekBoom – Portulacaria Afra?

Since there are so many variations of the spekboom, it now makes sense as to why this specific plant has so many different names. Portulacaria Afra can be known as Spekboom, Elephant Bush, Pork Bush, Dwarf Jade plant, or a personal favourite – the Bacon tree.

In Conclusion – How to grow the Portulacaria Afra – Spekboom

The Spekboom is a versatile hardy plant that can be planted in full sun or semi-shade areas. It can survive hardy dry areas or even bloom in well-cared-for flowerbeds.

Spekboom can come in all shapes and sizes. Often these trees can be mistaken for other trees or shrubs in your everyday garden. The Portulacaria Afra have certain variations that do well in full sunlight & Partial sunlight environments.

A fail-safe measure in planting spekboom could be described in these few easy steps…

  • Take a cutting of a spekboom of reasonable length. (5-15cm)
  • Allow the spekboom cutting to dry out for a day or two, in a cool dry place.
  • Place the cutting in potting soil and water sparingly.
  • Cuttings generally take root quickly and can be transplanted out into fine soil after 4-6 weeks.
  • Repeat this procedure for more spekboom!

Since this plant alone has the ability to combat climate change, why don’t you get to planting your very own spekboom today? The more of us plant spekboom, the less carbon footprint we leave on the earth, the more we can combat the effects of global warming. Did I mention that the spekboom can be eaten? Browse our site for more articles on spekboom.

So do your part today! Get yourself a Spekboom and keep the environment around you carbon-free and full of oxygen. The more spekboom we plant the bigger the difference. This is mother nature giving us a lifeline, let’s take it!

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