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Elephant Bush

$14.99
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$14.99
  • USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11
  • Height 1-4 Feet Tall
  • Spread 1-3 Feet Wide
  • Full Sun to Part Shade

Join the succulent craze with cool little elephant bush! True to its name, elephant bush is a favorite food of elephants in South Africa. You can grow it outdoors if you live in a warm climate that occasionally dips to no lower than 30 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a colder climate you can grow elephant bush as an easy-care house plant.

This drought-tolerant jade plant look-alike has unusual reddish-brown stems that contrast beautifully with the glossy, rounded, variegated, ¾-inch fleshy leaves. It is a slow grower, but as the stems mature they thicken so the plant takes on an old appearance even when young. Elephant bush has a somewhat sprawling/cascading habit, making it well suited to growing in a hanging basket. When grown in the ground it can slowly attain a height of several feet, and its evergreen nature makes it useful as a screen or hedge.

Elephant Bush Care

Hold the watering can! Like most succulents, elephant bush thrives on neglect. Just plant it in full sun in sandy soil so it dries quickly and the roots don’t rot. If you are growing it in a pot, be sure the container has a drainage hole at the bottom so the water drains out. If you have a saucer below the pot, it’s critical to empty the saucer after watering so the plant does not stand in water because they absolutely hate wet feet. Use a commercial cactus mix to pot up the plant, or make your own by combining half potting soil with half sand or vermiculite.

Elephant Bush Spacing

In the ground or in a pot, elephant bush grows slowly so it won’t overtake whatever space you give it. In the ground, it slowly reaches a few feet tall and wide but can be kept smaller by pruning the tips. If you want the plant to attain full size, leave a space of two feet around it, but beware that it is very slow growing; you might want to fill in with other small plants as it matures, then remove them as things become crowded. A grouping of elephant bush planted in the ground can be nestled as close as a foot apart so they appear as one massed plant. The size of container-grown elephant bush can be controlled by pinching the longest stems and keeping it contained to a small pot. If it becomes pot-bound, simply remove it from the pot and put it in a bigger pot, or vertically slice off part of the plant and roots; the slice can be potted up and enjoyed as an additional houseplant.

Elephant Bush Plant Facts

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-11
Foliage Color(s): Variegated Green/Cream with Reddish-brown Stems
Exposure: Part Sun to Sun
Height: 1-2 Feet
Spread: 1-2 Feet
Soil Type: Porous, Rocky, Sandy
Habit: Upright
Watering: Dry, Moderate
Drought Tolerant: Yes
Uses: Indoor/Outdoor
Other Uses: Rock & Container Gardens
Type: Succulent/Annual
Scientific Name: Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'
Common Name: Elephant Bush
Other Name(s): Rainbow Bush

Click here for more information on plant container sizes.

Plant Addict Guarantee (Included On All Plant Orders)

Plant Addicts guarantees your plant(s) will arrive happy and healthy, but the plant(s) are being shipped through the mail and accidents happen. If the plant is dead, has dried out roots or the incorrect item was shipped just notify Plant Addicts within 3 days upon delivery. We may ask for pictures but will try to make it as easy as possible for you. Please note plant(s) with damaged branches or wilted leaves will not qualify for this guarantee. Plants are very resilient and will rebound quickly when cared for correctly.

For information on how to care for you new plant please check out our guide. Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)

Plant Addicts Warranty - 1 Year (Extra Purchase Required)

We encourage all plant lovers to purchase the Plant Addicts Warranty whether you’re new or an expert. There are many variables outside our control and yours that can cause the demise of your plant(s). Examples would be hungry animals, drought, poor soil conditions, over watering, disease, insects & many other factors. The Plant Addicts Warranty is a 1 year warranty protecting you from all the unknowns and will replace your plant if it moves on to the plant afterlife.

The warranty is purchased on a per plant basis and must be purchased at the same time as the plant purchase. We will cover 100% of the price of the plant but the warranty does not cover shipping cost. Simply let us know if your plant has died within one year of receiving it and we’ll get you a new one shipped out. We may ask for photos for documentation purposes but again we’ll try to make it as easy as possible.

For more information, please go to our Shipping & Returns page at the bottom of the website.

Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)

Planter Shipping

Standard Colors: 2-3 business days

Special Order Colors: 8 weeks - this is due to the planter being custom made with the color(s) of your choice

Please Note: On special orders there can not be any cancellations

Plant Shipping

Time of Order:

Summer Shipping

  • If there is extreme heat we’ll delay shipping.  
    • We’ll have to review what areas the plants are traveling through along with your location


Once your plant is shipped you’ll receive an email with tracking information. Depending on the above criteria we’ll ship your plant(s) towards beginning of the following week from your order. We put together this helpful guide of what to do when you receive your plants in the mail.

It is important to know that all of our plants are clearly labeled for which growing zones the plant can survive in. The plants are thoroughly trialed and tested in every growing zone before we state the plant can grow in a zone. Again, our #1 priority is to ship the plants to you healthy and ready to thrive in your location. So we will do everything in our power to do so.