Bursera fagaroides: Care and Propagation Guide

Bursera fagaroides are also called the Elephant tree bonsai or fragrant bursera. These are small evergreen trees or succulent shrubs that grow and spread upwards.

They have tiny, pretty-looking blue-green leaves and they produce small light blue or gray berries around the base. They are known to grow from parts of Mexico to Arizona.

bursera fagaroides

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How to Care for Bursera fagaroides

The elephant tree bonsai has a light brown tree trunk that is swollen and stocky. The bark is flaky, and it makes the plant look old, even when it is young.

The berries of Bursera fagaroides start showing up towards the winter when the plant starts shedding its leaves. And the plant just starts to look more sculptural when this happens.


Bursera fagaroides likes a good deal of bright light to grow healthily. In the summer, you should place this plant in an outdoor area, which is easy if you grow them in a container.

If you are growing them indoors, you should consider using growth lights, especially if you place them at the west or south-facing windows where they will not get a lot of sunlight.

When this plant gets enough sunlight, its leaves will be yellow or brown color. This happens in the fall and the defoliated plant will still look beautiful.


Bursera fagaroides is a drought-tolerant plant since it is a succulent. So, it does well even without water for a long time. But you should keep checking its soil on a regular basis. You should water the plant when the soil becomes dry.

Touch the top of the soil to ensure that it is dry before you water the plant. That means during the colder months you won’t have to water the plant as frequently.

If you overwater it, the roots will rot and kill the plant.

bursera fagaroides


Bursera fagaroides grows well when it is planted in free-draining soil because it will not retain water which is exactly what you want. A standard bonsai soil mix will do the job efficiently. This soil will also stop any possible waterlogging, which is not good for the plant.

You should also make sure that the soil mix does not contain any organic matter. This will keep the soil from breaking down, which means you will be able to keep the plant in the same pot for a longer period of time.


You can get a well-balanced fertilizer and dilute it to half its strength. You can feed Bursera fagaroides with this diluted fertilizer once every 1-2 weeks. This should be done in the growing season.

In the fall and winter months, when the plant isn’t growing fully, you should reduce the frequency with which you feed the plant to once every three weeks. This is, of course, when you grow the plant in a place where the temperature is over 55 degrees F.

When the plant enters its dormant stage in the extremely cold months, you should stop feeding it entirely.


The ideal temperature for Bursera fagaroides is between 70 and 85 degrees F. But in fall and winter, this plant should be between 55 and 60 degrees F. This is a strong plant, but it doesn’t do very well when the temperatures are freezing.

So, you should bring it indoors when that time of the year approaches.

Pests and Diseases

Bursera fagaroides tends to attract some insects. And you can use the pesticide specific to those insects if and when the situation arises. You should also remember not to keep the roots wet and cool because that will attract root diseases.


Bursera fagaroides is a bonsai, which means pruning is both utilitarian and easy. Once the plant has a full shape, you can trim its main branches. This should be done in the spring and get rid of one-fourth of the branch.

You should allow its branches to grow when the plant is actively growing. Trim the shoots, leaving out the one that’s growing in the direction you want. This will guide the branch in its growth.

bursera fagaroides

Potting and Repotting

Bursera fagaroides plants must be repotted after 5-6 years because the root grows slowly and takes its own sweet time to fill the pot. You should repot them in summer when they are in their growing stage.

Propagating Bursera fagaroides

Bursera fagaroides plants can be propagated with seeds or cuttings. You can also use root division which means you should cut a part of the roots and plant it in the appropriate soil. This should be done in early summer or spring when the plant is growing. You will see the germination happen in about three weeks’ time.

If you propagate using seeds, the roots will be appealing and expose themselves when the plant matures. You can also replicate it with seedlings from the parent plant, which will give it traits that are similar to the parent.