Propagating elephant bush (Portulacaria afra) is an easy endeavor; however, you should take stem cuttings in spring or summer. When rooted, these cuttings will root in moderately draining soil and be able to survive when exposed to temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
When cuttings of elephant grass grow within three weeks, they will have grown enough roots to be planted into a container or into a garden bed within USDA plant hardiness zones 9 to 11.
Propagating Elephant Bush
Although elephant grass is not very different from jade plant, the propagation is quite easy (Read more on succulent propagation here). First, find a healthy piece of the elephant grass with healthy leaves and a good stem. Twist the stem off.
Then, take out all the leaves below the last leaf and just leave the top leaf. Cut the grass with a sharp knife. You may have to do this several times.
Finally, let the grass dry until it dries out completely and then place it in a light shade. The whole process takes only a couple of days.
Choose an area that gets plenty of sun and air circulation for several days to allow the cut end to dry out. Then wrap the stem of the elephant bush cutting in damp peat moss to prevent rot.
Use a pot to keep the elephant bush cutting elevated off the ground so that the top set of leaves rests on the surface of the medium. Firmly press the medium around the stem.
Don’t put your elephant grass cuttings directly in the ground, but place them in a pot where they’ll get lots of light and moisture. They’ll root in four to six weeks, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Gardener Program.
Look for new leaf growth, which indicates successful rooting.
Growing Elephant Bush
The biggest concern when gardening with elephant bush is avoiding direct sunlight. It’s also important to make sure that the plants don’t get too much sun because the intense heat causes the leaves to change color and turn yellow.
Choose a spot with some midday shade if the climate is hot. Elephant bush can grow in any soil type as long as it has good drainage. Avoid beds with lots of water after rain.
Elephant bush plants that grow in pots should be watered with half-strength water every other day. For an eastern, western, or southern window that gets at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter, you can place your pots inside of a growing chamber or greenhouse.
To protect the plants from cold drafts and warm air from the heating system, choose a location away from heaters and venting holes.
Caring for Elephant Bush
Elephant bush requires little care and thrives even when neglected. However, it looks better when given some attention throughout the year.
Water the grass during the summer months, making sure that water is trickling out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
This plant is also very drought tolerant, but the foliage will thin and its growth will slow if it is not watered regularly throughout the summer months, so increase watering if the plant appears to be suffering from lack of water.
Reduce watering in winter to prevent root problems. Elephant Bush does not require much fertilizer to grow. In fact, it thrives without any fertilizers, relying on its large root system and deep taproot to absorb water and nutrients.
It is also very adaptable to different soil conditions. The plant is very tolerant of dryness and drought. It can be grown in almost any location where the soil is consistently moist throughout the year.
Conclusion – Elephant Bush Propagation
The propagation of the elephants bush is not an easy task. It requires a lot of patience and time to find the right conditions for the seeds to grow.
However, if you are patient enough, you will definitely see the beautiful flowers blooming on your porch in no time. The elephant’s bush has large, bright pink flowers that bloom all throughout the year.
The plant is not only gorgeous, but it is also fragrant.
You might also be interested in haworthia propagation techniques.
Can Elephant Bush Grow in water?
It is possible to grow elephant bush in water. The plant originates from a wetter region of Africa and can tolerate a lot of moisture. This means that it has the propensity to grow in an area with a moist soil and might even thrive if watered regularly.