This succulent plant is sometimes called Baby Jade or Elephant Food. Portulacaria Afra has small round leaves and thin branches like a miniature jade plant. They are drought tolerant and make good addition to any low water succulent gardens.
The bright green leaves make a nice contrast to the dark brown stems. In container gardens these plants will stay much smaller and are often used in bonsai to look like trees.
In the ground Elephant Food will quickly grow to 4 – 5 feet tall and they make nice informal screens or hedges. These fleshy plants can be lightly trimmed to keep their shape. Try planting them in the back of a succulent garden; they add height and the small leaves add visual interest and contrast well with the larger leaves on Crassula ovata.
Some portulacaria varieties are variegated, meaning they may have green and white leaves, some special varieties are green and red with red stripes on the edges of the leaves.
Like most succulent plants Portulacaria is sensitive to frost and will die below temperatures of 25 degrees.
If you are expecting a frost in your area, cover your plants with a sheet or frost blanket to protect them.