Caring For Crassula Portulacaria – Elephant Bush Succulent

crassula portulacaria

Last updated on September 13th, 2022 at 12:34 am

What is a crassula portulacaria?

The elephant bush succulent, or crassula portulacaria, is an interesting plant that requires very little care to thrive. It’s easy to propagate and doesn’t need much water or soil (in fact it can even survive without any soil).

A crassula portulacaria is a popular succulent plant that can be identified by its thick, fleshy leaves and an appearance similar to the elephant bush. It’s native to South Africa but has been widely introduced elsewhere in warmer climates around the world including California where it grows prolifically during wet winters.

The Crassula Portulacaria is actually a succulent, which means it stores water in its leaves. This can make it tough for the plant to survive during times of drought because without any soil or other source of moisture around it’s not capable of retaining anything additional.

How to propagate crassula portulacaria succulent

crassula portulacaria

There are many ways of propagating your Crassula Portulacaria. Most people use a method called cuttings, which is the easiest and fastest way to make new plants from this type of succulents. It can also be done by separating the plant into sections or pieces and then allowing the cut surfaces to callous over.

The sections or plant clumps should be placed on a warm surface with some light that can be sufficient for them for about two weeks before they are planted in well-drained soil.

Another method of propagating Crassula Portulacaria is by rooting your stem tips! To root the stem tips, all you have to do is place them in a glass of water (about one inch), and let them soak for 30 minutes. After that time, pull off any leaves or branches from the bottom two inches of your plant’s stems before placing it underwater. Place this on top of some soil (which doesn’t need to be pre-moistened) and wait about two weeks before planting it outdoors.

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Alternatively, you can also propagate Crassula Portulacaria with tissue culture! To do this, take a small piece of the plant (about one inch), place it in some sterile water for 30 minutes or until callus forms over the surface. Place the tissue culture on top of some soil and wait about two weeks before planting it outdoors!

Crassula portulacaria care

crassula portulacaria

Light requirements

Crassula portulacaria does best in bright, indirect light. If you’re unsure about the lighting conditions in your home or office place it on a window sill and observe its reaction to changes for at least two weeks before making any adjustments. Crassula will not survive under fluorescent lights so avoid placing your plant near them.


Soil should be well-drained and not too rich or fertile. Crassula will do best in soil that contains about 50% sand, 25% organic matter such as peat moss, coir (coconut fiber), pine bark mulch, or ground pearlite with the remaining percentage filled up with some grit for drainage purposes.


Crassula will survive in drought-like conditions for months but needs to be watered at least once a week.

If you want to find out the optimal watering schedule for your plant, put it in an area that is hot and humid like under a kitchen or bathroom sink where water drips from the pipes continuously, and then watch how much they need to drink.

If you would like your Crassula to be a bushier, fuller plant, also known as “lollipop” style, then water it every other day in small amounts or when the soil feels dry and not too wet. If you want your crassula to grow vertically upwards rather than outward wider, then water it every day in small amounts.

Sometimes the soil can get too wet and will lead to root rot, so it is important you keep an eye on how wet your plant’s roots are – don’t let them sit in water for long periods of time!

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If your Crassula has been sitting under a continuous flow of water from a hose or from a leaky faucet, then you will need to let it dry out for at least two weeks before watering.

Crassula should be watered with tepid water and not hot tap water because the latter can lead to root rot as well. If your Crassula is placed in direct sunlight make sure that it is watered less than if it was in indirect light.

If you are unsure about the lighting conditions of your home or office, place Crassula near a window and observe its reaction to changes for at least two weeks before making any adjustments.


Adding too much fertilizer will result in a loss of leaves. This is because succulents are sensitive to the water and nutrients they take up through their roots, so adding excessive amounts might overwhelm them. If you’re not using enough fertilizer, your plant may not be able to absorb all the nutrients from its soil, causing the leaves to turn yellow or brown and fall off.


Caring for your succulents in different seasons depends on the type of plant. If you’ve got a crassula portulacaria, it can handle colder temperatures because its leaves are larger and fleshier than other succulents which help protect against frost damage to their tissues.

However, if you live in an area where it gets very cold, it is advisable you move your succulent to a sunnier place or grow it in an area with more heat.

In the winter time, this plant needs less water and fertilizer than during warmer months since its metabolism slows down. It also likes temperatures that are between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit but can very well tolerate temperature as low as 50 degrees.


The best humidity levels for this plant is 50-70%.


crassula portulacaria

When to prune or repot your crassula portulacaria is determined by its size. If it starts getting too big, you may need to move it into a bigger pot and trim off the bottom branches. But if there’s not enough space for that, then just cut back on watering so the plant can take it’s time to grow.

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If you want your plant to have more growth, then fertilize with a diluted liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion or blood meal every other week. You can also feed it with slow-release pellets during the winter months when its metabolism slows down and needs less water.

In order for this succulent not to get too waterlogged, you need to trim the bottom leaves when it is watered.

When to repot

If your succulents are too big for their pots, you can repot them when it starts to get crowded. But before repotting, make sure that the soil is dry and free of any debris or weeds.

This plant doesn’t need to be put into a new pot until its roots have filled up all available spaces.

Growth rate

The growth rate for a crassula portulacaria is slow.

It’s better to repot it when there are no more spaces left in the pot or trim off bottom branches instead of letting this plant grow too big which can sometimes lead to leaf drop and root rot issues. The best way you can ensure your succulent is growing at a healthy rate is by fertilizing it with a diluted liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion or blood meal every other week.

When you repot, make sure that the soil is dry and free of any debris or weeds before placing your succulent in its new pot. The growth rate for this plant can be slow but it’s better to trim off the bottom branches or repot it when there are no more spaces left in its pot instead of letting this plant grow too big. The best way you can ensure your succulent is growing at a healthy rate is by fertilizing with a diluted liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion or blood meal every other week.

Hardiness zone

The hardiness zone for a crassula portulacaria is all zones.

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This plant can grow in any area since it’s resistant to frost and survives well even if the temperature goes below freezing during wintertime. The best place you should put your succulent if possible is where there is plenty of sunlight, good drainage but in an area where the plant can get some shade during midday.


The crassula portulacaria is a plant that does not have any toxicity towards animals and humans so it’s safe for people who are allergic to plants like the poison ivy, oak, ragweed family of plants.

When you have pets in your home then make sure that you keep them away from this plant because they may chew on the leaves and cause it to die.

Pests and diseases

The most common pest and disease of crassula portulacaria is rot.

Rot is basically a fungus or bacteria in the soil that causes plants to wilt, turn brown, have soft spots on its leaves, and it may start shedding its needles too. It spreads quickly which makes it hard to control especially if you don’t use the right type of soil or potting mix.

In order for rot not to happen on your succulents, you need to make sure that the plant doesn’t stay wet and don’t over-water it as well. It also helps if you repot this plant when needed so its roots can grow freely while maintaining good drainage in the soil.