Portulacaria is directly related to the family of portulaceae. In nature, such a plant can be found in arid hot areas of South Africa. According to various sources, this genus comprises about 5 species or is monotypic, that is represented by only 1 species ― the African Portulacaria Afra, which is also referred to as the elephant Bush. Portulacaria Africana is a highly woody shrub, which can reach a height of 3.5 meters. It has several shoots that grow chaotically and thick fleshy stems.
Young stems are painted in purple-red color, but over time they are covered with wrinkled dark brown bark. Short internodes, while the nodes are clearly visible. Escheresque oppositely disposed of, juicy leaves have a relatively small size, so that at length they reach 2 to 3 inches, and in width from 1 to 2 centimeters. The wide-oval leaves have a slightly pointed tip. Flowering abundant. Flowers small (diameter 2-2,5 mm), five have a pink color.
They are collected in axillary inflorescences, having the shape of an ear and reaching a length of 7.5 centimeters. Such inflorescences are placed on the tops of shoots. The original view has pale green foliage. But there are forms with a purple-pink edge of the leaves. Also on the surface of the sheet plate, there may be wide light spots that do not have a shape, which in some cases almost completely discolor it.
Care of portulacaria Arfa at home
This plant is characterized by its unpretentiousness, so it may well grow even inexperienced growers.
In order for the plant to grow normally and develop it needs good bright lighting, and it must be present direct rays of the sun. In this regard, the window of the southern orientation will suit him perfectly. For the formation of the beautiful uniform of the crown can resort to a little trick. Namely, it is necessary to regularly rotate the pot with portulacaria different sides to the light source.
In winter, this plant will need more supplementary lighting special fitolamp.
It is quite comfortable to feel the climate of middle latitudes in the summer. In spring and summer, it is recommended to move it to fresh air (in the garden, on the balcony). It should be remembered that this flower just needs fresh air, so when growing in the room will need systematic ventilation.
Portulacaria requires cool winter. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that the temperature in the room where the plant is located is not below 10 degrees. Otherwise, the fleshy leaves freeze and become sluggish.
How to water
This succulent is quite familiar to the arid climate, where rain is a relative rarity. Therefore, when grown in room conditions should provide him with similar conditions. So, watering is recommended only after the soil in the pot dries to 1/3 of them. With a cool winter, watering should be more scarce and rare, because the root system and foliage with excessive water absorption very quickly rot. If watering was not enough for a long time, the leaves on the plant become wrinkled. However, after it is watered, the leaves will again become smooth.
Water should be at room temperature, in which there is no chlorine. If tap water is not chlorinated, it can be used without preliminary settling. At the same time, water hardness does not play a special role.
It is not necessary to increase artificially humidity of the air. But for hygienic purposes, it is recommended to arrange a warm shower for the plant, which will help remove the dust accumulated on the leaves.
During intensive growth, fertilizing is carried out at intervals of 1 every 2 weeks. Low nitrogen fertilizers are used for this purpose. So, perfect ready-made liquid fertilizer for succulents and cacti. From mid-autumn to mid-spring all feeding stops.
A suitable substrate should be loose, low in nutrients, and well permeable to water and air. In order to prepare soil substrate, you need to connect the purchased soil for succulents and cacti with coarse sand (can be replaced with vermiculite) and brick chips (or fine-grained gravel), which should be taken in a ratio of 3:1:1.
Features of transplantation
This plant has relatively slow growth. In this regard, regular frequent transplants are needed only for very young specimens. An adult plant should be transplanted only if necessary, so when the root system completely fills the container.
Methods of reproduction
`As a rule, when grown in room conditions propagated by cuttings. At the same time for cuttings suitable thick enough branches, which should be 4 internodes. After pruning, they are left outdoors for 1-2 days for drying, after which they are planted for rooting in a mixture consisting of sand and peat. The first roots should appear after 2-3 weeks. After 2-3 months, you can transplant the rooted cuttings into a permanent pot.
You can multiply seeds, but their purchase can cause some difficulties.
Pests and diseases
Quite resistant to pests. However, such a plant can be detected mealybug, scale insects or spider mites. As soon as these pests are found, the plant should arrange a warm shower. With heavy infestation, you will need more and treatment with insecticide of the corresponding action. Resistant to diseases. But can get sick because of a violation of the rules of care. For example, with abundant watering, especially in a cool room, a variety of rot may appear. Partial discharge of foliage can occur due to lack of light in winter or for other reasons. But when the plant is placed in favorable conditions, the leaves grow quickly.