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Products > Portulacaria afra 'Cork Bark'
 
Portulacaria afra 'Cork Bark' - Corky Bark Elephant's Food
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Didiereaceae
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Lavender
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [P. afra 'Frank']
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Portulacaria afra 'Cork Bark'(Cork Bark Elephant Food) A slow growing succulent shrub with the main trunk developing thick fissured corky gray bark as it ages. As with the typical form of the species it also has the reddish brown stems holding 1/2 inch long emerald green leaves. The lavender-pink flowers are rarely seen but in recent drought years have been more evident on other cultivars and likely might make their appearance on this one as well. Plant in sun or shade with little or no supplemental irrigation. Should prove hardy to at least 25 F. As with all other cultivars of the species, this plant should prove to be a very easy to grow succulent that works as a great bonsai plant or small specimen shrub and the unusual corky bark is an added bonus. This fissured and corky bark takes several years to develop and up until the time it does this plant looks identical to the typical form of the species. This plant is a 2015 introduction through the Huntington Botanic Garden's International Succulent Introduction as ISI 2015-38. It was selected by bonsai specialist Dave Bogan who first noted it in a Florida nursery in the 1960s. Its corky trunk was first thought to be caused by a fungal disease but later recognized as a natural aspect of the plant with bright light and lean conditions seeming to promote the best fissured bark but it should also be noted that this is a slow process, so requires considerable patience. Frank Yee, a Huntington Botanic Garden bonsai specialist friend rooted cuttings to provide for this release and we were fortunate to get a few to start our production on this interesting addition to our succulent offering. For more information on the species see our listing for Portulacaria afra. We also grow Portulacaria afra 'Prostrate Form another prostrate plant but with all green foliage, Portulacaria afra 'Skyscraper' a narrow upright form, Portulacaria afra 'Variegata' an upright plant with white variegated leaves, Portulacaria afra forma macrophylla , a large leafed form, Portulacaria afra 'Aurea', a prostrate plant with yellow new growth and Portulacaria afra 'Medio-picta' a stunning low growing plant with pink stems and leaves that have a wide central cream stripe. All are great drought tolerant plants useful in the landscape or as container specimens.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Portulacaria afra 'Cork Bark'.
 
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