Succulent Spotlight: Portulacaria afra variegata (Rainbow Bush/Variegated Elephant Bush)

In my author bio I mention that I like to play with plants. Oh, who am I kidding??? I kinda have a hoarding problem with them. It’s gotten to the point where Mr. Cannaday has said, “No more plants.”

I was like, “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!”

He was like, “Honey, our house isn’t that big, and we have a LOT!!!”

I guess you have “a lot” of plants when you stop counting after 50. 😬 

Unless we want that super sweet grow light ambience (we don’t) then it’s also not fair to keep collecting them like a maniac. To be honest, this past winter blew so bad!!! I actually enjoy playing in snow and shoveling it, driving in it, etc. I also enjoy snuggling up by the fire with tea and my laptop while I work on my next book. But this winter was LONG and COLD. We had lots of snow but it was too cold to play in most of the time. By late January, I was starting to go a little stir-crazy so I focused my recreational time to acquiring “a few” more indoor plants.

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Meet Portulacaria afra, also known as Elephant Bush or Rainbow Bush. I bought it thinking it was a type of Jade plant. It’s not. Turns out it likes a LOT less water and a LOT more sun than my old reliable lady jades. So I nearly killed this little guy with kindness. Luckily I work from home so I notice when something’s going wrong with a plant…eventually. By the time I got over my ‘plant killer’ denial, it was down to maybe two leaves and a stump like a half-busted pencil. I did some research on what this plant actually was (not a jade), learned how to properly care for it, and transplanted what was left into a well-draining pot with Black Gold Cactus Mix potting soil.

Then I crossed my fingers.

Luckily, Mother Nature keeps on keeping’ on, and now I’ve got a handful of fat, happy leaves sprouting on that little stump. There are a couple of teeny tiny pink growths at the base of a few leaves that have me wondering if it’s going to flower. I guess I’ll update this post if that happens!

Here’s my little trooper!!!

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Have you brought back a plant from the brink of death? Tell me what you did in the comments below!!

Until next time,