Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is one of the most popular houseplants thanks to its ease of growth. This desert plant requires very little attention. They do, however, need regular watering to survive. If the soil around a jade is allowed to dry out completely and then is flooded with water suddenly, it can cause roots to rot and eventually kill the plant. One of the most frequent questions about Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is how often they need watering. Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is sensitive to overwatering, but they also don’t like to dry out completely, so it is important not to water them too infrequently.
Here are 13 golden rules for watering Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush.
1. WATER EARLY IN THE MORNING
Water should only be applied in the morning so that the leaves have time to dry out before nightfall. If Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush are watered at night, the water sits on their leaves and can cause them to rot.
Watering in the morning also allows the leaves to dry out during the day, which means there is less chance of spider mites or other pests getting into your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush. However, exceptions can be made for plants kept in a greenhouse or other environment where they never get direct sunlight. In this case, it is okay to water them at night because the moisture will not sit on their leaves.
2. PROPERLY CHECK MOISTURE LEVELS
It is important to regularly check the moisture levels of your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush’s soil. Although they like to dry out between waterings, it is possible to overwater them and cause root rot.
Check moisture levels with a finger stick into the soil. If it feels dry, give it some water. In general, you should only need to water your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush every 2-3 weeks in the summer and once a month or less during other times of the year.
3. BE WARY OF THE POTTING MIX YOU’RE USING
Your potting mix says a lot about how often you need to water your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush. When selecting a potting mix, always choose one designed for cacti and succulents, such as 50% coconut coir, 25% peat moss, and 25% sand or perlite.
This mix will wick away moisture from the leaves, which reduces the amount of water the plant needs. If you’re using a loose or heavy potting mix, your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush will need watering more often.
4. WATER LESS IN THE WINTER AND MORE IN THE SPRING
For most people, the winter months are when their Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush needs the least water. It is still important to properly check moisture levels in the soil and use a potting mix that wicks away water, but a little less water can be given during the winter months when the plant isn’t growing as much.
In contrast, increase your watering schedule when summer arrives, and your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is actively growing. Not only does the soil need to be checked more frequently, but an increased amount of water will also be needed by the roots as they develop.
5. DO NOT OVERWATER
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is watering them too often. If there are no proper drainage holes in the pot, water will pool at the bottom and cause rot. If you’re unsure if there are proper drainage holes in your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush’s pot, stick a finger into the soil and ensure that it is damp but not soaked in water.
Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is also sensitive to being overwatered because the water sits on the leaves. If you’re unsure whether your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush needs to be watered, just wait a day or two before watering it again.
6. DO NOT UNDERWATER
Just like overwatering, underwatering can also be detrimental to your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush. Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush need watering until the moisture soaks through their entire root system.
When watering, stop when you see water draining out of the bottom of the pot. If there are no drainage holes in your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush’s pot, turn it upside down and allow all the excess water to run out of the bottom. Then, set the plant aside and let it drain for a few minutes before returning it to its normal position.
7. POTS NEED A DRAINAGE HOLE
One of the most important aspects of watering your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is making sure they have proper drainage holes in their pots. This will help ensure that excess water can drain out before any problems occur.
Although it is tempting to leave the plant in its pot when watering, this can cause water to pool at the bottom and possibly rot the roots. Always use a tray or bowl when watering your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush to avoid this problem.
8. INSPECT THE SOIL BEFORE WATERING
Before you water your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush, it is important to inspect the soil and ensure there are no insects, bugs, or other unnecessary matter in the soil. Take the time to carefully remove anything that doesn’t belong and clean off any insects.
Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush are sensitive and can easily die from bug infestations or diseases that take root because you didn’t properly inspect the soil before watering it. Even if you use a potting mix specially designed for succulents when propagating, always double-check the soil before adding water.
9. AVOID WATERING THE LEAVES
Watering the leaves can cause spotting and other unsightly blemishes that reduce the visual appeal of your plant. It can also lead to fungal infections that kill your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush.
Instead, always water the soil directly after inspecting it for unwanted visitors. If there are no insects or matter in the soil, you can water your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush by focusing on the base around the stem and the roots and the soil around those roots.
10. USE THE RIGHT WATER TYPE
The best type of water to use on your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is distilled water. It does not contain any salts or minerals that can harm the plant and draws out the moisture from the soil and into the pot before evaporating. If you cannot find distilled water in your local grocery store, filtered water is a suitable alternative. Rainwater also works well and is a very natural solution.
However, never use tap water or other types of water that contain chemicals or salts because this can be very harmful to your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush. Tap water also contains chlorine, damaging the roots if allowed to sit in the soil for too long. Avoid using hot water as it can cause leaf spotting.
11. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS
Watering your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush is a task that should never be completed by hand. Although you might think this will save time and effort, this may work against you. Some bacteria from your hands can transfer to the plant and cause disease.
Suppose you have a potted Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush. In that case, it is best to use a watering can with a long spout so you can easily reach the soil without bending over continuously. Ensure that your tools are always clean before using them on your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush.
12. DO NOT WATER WHEN IT IS TOO HUMID OR TOO HOT
Avoid watering your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush when the weather is extremely hot or humid because this puts a great deal of stress on the plant. If you must water, try to do so in the early morning or evening when it is cooler outside to reduce the risk of harming your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush.
High humidity levels can cause rot or mildew to develop on your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush, so avoid watering during this time.
Signs that your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush needs water
A good gardener knows how to recognize the signs that their plants need water. Here are a few signs that your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush needs a little drink:
The soil is completely dry and has a powdery appearance – this means you probably haven’t watered for several weeks or months
The leaves have brown tips – If the edges of your leaves have started to turn brown, this is a sign that your plant needs water. Another way to tell if the leaves need water is to lift the leaf from the soil. If there are signs of browning on the underside of the leaf, it’s time for watering.
The lower leaves are falling off – If you notice your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush’s leaves are dying and falling off, this is a sign that your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush isn’t getting enough water.
Watering a Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush need not be complicated. However, this does not mean you can be lackadaisical in maintaining a healthy watering regime.
While you might not think this is a big deal, if your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush dies, the only way to replace it would be with another one at the store. Replacing or reviving a Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush that has been neglected isn’t worth the time, effort, and money. With these watering tips, your Portulacaria Afra Elephant Bush will be healthier and happier than ever before.