Also known as 'tree of abundance', 'little coins' or 'elephant tree', the Portulacaria afra, and the Portulacaria afra variegata is one of the most beautiful plants you can have, plus it is said that you will never run out of money with it.
But what do you know about the variegata variety? How is it different from the usual? What features and care does it need? Next, we tell you everything.
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What is Portulacaria afra like?
La Portulacaria afraIn addition to being known by the names that we have mentioned before, it is also known as female jade, dwarf jade, elephant grass or Japanese tree. Is native to Africa and withstands drought very well.
It is a Succulent plant with evergreen leaves, fleshy and oval, very small and green. The stems are brown and elongated (for them those green leaves are formed).
Planted in a garden, or in its natural habitat, it is capable of easily reach 6 meters, although in a pot it does not usually grow more than a meter.
Something that not many know is that the Portulacaria afra blooms. However, It is very difficult to see them in flower because they only do so in their natural habitat. If you see them, they are very small, pink flowers that appear at the end of winter, when the rest of the low temperatures end and they begin to activate.
How is Portulacaria afra variegata different?
Although all the above characteristics are typical of the Portulacaria afra variegata, the truth is that there are some differences that make it even more beautiful and the reason why many seek this variety.
La first big difference part in the leaves. These are not as green, and uniform, as the normal variety, but have different shades of creamy green, and if they get a lot of sun you will get the edges of the leaves to turn pink.
Another difference lies in the stem or trunk. If in the normal variety they are brown, in the case of Portulacaria afra variegata they are red, which makes them attract more attention.
For the rest, these two plants are the same, they have the same care (which we will talk about below) and characteristics.
Portulacaria afra variegata care
We start from the basis that the Portulacaria afra variegata is one of the easiest plants to care for. Being a succulent or succulent plant, it is almost impossible for it to die but it is true that you need to cover some needs important for this.
Portulacaria afra variegata loves the sun. You can put it directly in the sun because nothing will happen to it. Now, if it receives too much heat, it can deteriorate a little and in that case we recommend that it be in semi-shade.
In general, if you live in the north of Spain, leave it in the sun; if you are in the south, better in semi-shade (although there are always exceptions. Personally I have one in the south and giving it the sun all day, even in summer).
Do not be afraid to try leaving it in the sun because, even if its leaves burn, it is a plant that, once you remove them, new ones come out.
this succulent does not usually resist frost well, especially if they are very continuous, so it is better to protect it (in a greenhouse, indoors, etc.). As for high temperatures, it has better luck, because it does overcome them.
Thus, in general, you have to take care of it in winter (do not water it too much and take care of the temperature) while in summer it gives us a little more respite.
Although this plant is not demanding with respect to the substrate, the ideal would be a loose one that drains well. In this way, the plant will be fine and, above all, you will avoid waterlogging that can rot the roots.
When they are cuttings, it is better to use peat because it stays moist longer and at that time it is what the plant needs.
Irrigation is one of the most important parts, because we are talking about a succulent, that is to say, that it stores water inside, so you don't have to water it too much.
In general, we can tell you that:
- In winter, water it once a week or every two weeks. Don't worry, it will hold up easily.
- In summer, it will depend on where you have it. It can be once a week or every two days if you get a lot of sun. Even if, if you ever forget, nothing will happen to it because it withstands the drought.
What will tell you if it needs water or not is going to be that the soil is completely dry. When that happens, water and wait until it dries out again.
What is important is that, at the time of watering, that the water does not touch the leaves. This is because when they do, they turn dark.
It is not a plant that needs it, and in fact it is said that, if you pay it, it should be only once and in summer.
If you want your Portulacaria afra variegata not to run amok, you will have to cut it often to keep its shape. Although it is slow in its growth, when it is encouraged to grow, it grows. Much.
Of course, contrary to what you may think, when you prune it you don't have to heal the wounds you do to it. That is, you must leave it on the air.
If you cover them, you cause them to take much longer to put out new leaves or stems. Therefore, it is better not to touch it in that sense.
The reproduction of the Portulacaria afra variegata is one of the simplest things you can do. It is done through cuttings.
To do this, you just have to Cut a medium-long stem and remove the leaves from almost half of that stem, which will be the one you bury in a pot. You also have to cut a piece off the top to encourage that cutting to develop leaves and more stems.
Of course, arm yourself with patience because not a fast growing plant, but it takes its time and can take up to a year to start giving you a bearing more or less like a bush or tree.
As you can see, the Portulacaria afra variegata is one of the most appreciated plants for this distinction with the usual species. Easy to care for and reproduce, it can be one of the best gifts to give to those who are not very good at plants. Would you dare with one like this?