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Rainbow Bush - Portulacaria
  • rainbow-bush

Rainbow Bush - Portulacaria

Variegated leaves on long red trailing stems add charm to any container!
As low as $7.19
  • Tender succulent trailing stems
  • Adds a nice touch to succulent containers
  • Dark red stems with small variegated leaves
  • Thrives in heat, humidity & drought
  • Appealing habit & color
  • Zone 10 hardy
  • Ship Size: 3 1/2" pots
  • View all SUCCULENTS
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Rainbow Bush - Portulacaria Description

Rainbow Bush (Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'.  Referred to as Elephant Bush as it is a favorite food of elephants in South Africa.

Shrubby plant with reddish stems colorfully accented with small variegated yellow leaves with green mid-stripes. Leaves resemble a jade plant.  Extremely graceful in hanging baskets elegantly cascading over edges or in combination with other succulents.

Very easy to grow in containers or as a bonsai plant which can be easily pruned to size. (In frost free climates it can grow 12 feet high and used as a hedge plant)

Grow indoors as a house plant where it appreciates warm temperatures and bright light and well drained soil. Watering thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch.  Protect from frost.


What do you plant a succulent in?

Succulents will grow well in almost container that is a minimum of 4 inches deep and has holes in the bottom for drainage. Never use soil from your garden. Never use soil that is more peat than soil.  Too much peat makes the soil too acid. Succulents need a loose soil that drains freely such as a commercial cactus and succulent potting soil, or you can mix your own using 5 parts per-lite, 4 parts bagged potting soil, 1 part coarse builder's sand.  Once planted, top-dress the container soil with small river rock, gravel, aquarium stone, or a fine-grade roofing gravel, which help wick away moisture from the crown and prevent plants from rotting.

Do I need holes in my container for drainage?

Water the planter normally than tip the planter sideways and drain out excess water. Pot-in-a-pot helps overcome any issue with drainage holes.  Grow your succulents in a container that has drainage holes that can then rest inside a larger container with no drainage holes. After watering, remove the pot and tip the larger container over to drain excess water.

Quick Facts

  • Botanical Name:
    Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'
  • Common Name:
    Elephant Bush
  • Zone:10
  • Sun Exposure:
  • Delivery:
    See schedule
  • Ship Form:
    3 1/2" pot
  • Soil Type:
    Normal, Sandy
  • Soil Moisture:
    Dry, Average
  • Height x Width:
    7" X 7-10"
  • Flower Color:
  • Foliage Color:
  • Bloom Season:
    Late Summer
  • Uses:
    Accent, Alpine and Rock, Container Gardening, Edging, Ground Cover, Massing, Rock Garden, Small Spaces, Specimen
  • Cannot Ship to:
    CAN, HI, PR
  • Patent #:None



Soil:  Prefers average to sandy, well drained soil with pH range of 6.6 to 7.5.  If the soil is not porous enough, add 3 inches of sand or other gritty material to increase drainage. Top the area with a layer of pebbles or small rocks to act as mulch.
Light: Full sun to part shade -- In the heat of summer (or much of the year in the desert) Situate them beneath shade cloth or lacy trees, and remove any leaf litter that collects in the crowns. It is best for plants grown indoors, when first taking them outdoors, to expose it to bright sunlight gradually to prevent sun scorch.
Water:  After establishment, water occasionally during the hot season.
Spacing: 8-12 inches
Fertilizing:  If your plant seems a little pale and lethargic, use a water soluble fertilizer mixed about half strength, and less often than recommended.
Winterizing: Not frost tolerant. Give them plenty of bright light; a greenhouse is best, but a bright sun porch will do. Reduce water during winter to encourage dormancy; then, in spring, feed with a dilute liquid fertilizer (half-strength) to promote new growth.
Maintenance & Pruning: Remove dead leaves from the bottom of the plant as it grows.