Repotting and fertilising will help your Spekbom to continue to grow and help the environment. Considered to be a “miracle worker” in reducing carbon footprint, this proudly South African edible succulent is one of the most efficient plants at removing CO2 from the atmosphere, especially under ideal growing conditions. Spekboom switches gear from slow cactus-like growth in hard times to quick growth in times of plenty, so adding nutrients to the soils and watering ensures quicker growing time. It’s a pretty-looking shrub with small round green leaves and red stems. Cover with a dusting of the soil/sand mix and lightly water. No time to water your garden? Luckily, it’s a bonsai plant that has plenty of alternatives (elephant bush, porkbush, dwarf jade plant, and spekboom, in Afrikaans, just to name a few! Too much bright light can cause the leaves to drop off. Honey is made from the plant. This means that they are difficult to plant in times of drought. Without a doubt, Spekboom is a firm favourite in South African gardens. Thriving in poor soils, it tolerates both drought and frost. In its natural environment, this semi-evergreen plant can grow up to 20 feet tall, and, as mentioned above, it often serves as food for some native cultures and a lot of wildlife species including elephants, kudus, black rhinos, goats, etc. Spekboom is a drought-resistant plant that can survive on just 250mm to 350mm a year, so it’s low maintenance. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Western Cape. Portulacaria afra – the name might sound like a mouthful, so it might be easier to refer to this plant by another name. It favours north-facing slopes where it is exposed to maximum sunlight. This is because spekboom functions differently from other plants in that it continues to photosynthesise during the night, thanks to its ability to store solar energy. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt. Drought Tolerant when established, from Africa, known as 'Spekboom' by the natives. een to share her favourite recipes to inspire home cooks during lockdown, Kerry uses spekboom straight from her own garden. Portulacaria afra is a small-leaved succulent plant found in South Africa. At this point, reduce watering until signs of active growth resume, but never let it stay too dry for long. It is often seen growing on rocky slopes and in the bushveld. “Spekboom is a pioneer plant and a succulent, withstanding dry and/or windy conditions that other trees would not survive in. Click to see full answer. In short, Spekboom seems to have become the charismatic ambassador of a movement. Through Spring and Summer, Spekboom likes to be watered well, then allowed to almost dry out before its next drink. Spekboom is a water-wise plant that’s ideal for low … The Spekboom is a small tree shrub, that remains evergreen throughout the year, growing up to a size of between 2- 5m, and as wide as 2m in diameter. Spekboom is proudly South African It is found predominantly in the Eastern Cape, and especially in the semi-arid Karoo region, where growing conditions are ideal for this resilient plant. It favours north-facing slopes where it is exposed to maximum sunlight. Cuttings can be taken in the normal manner(about 10-15cm, remove bottom leaves), allow to dry out and plant in washed river sand. Attractive leaves. Spekboom has a non-invasive root system making it ideal for pots and containers. It grows slowly to medium fast (under ideal conditions) and should thrive in desert gardens all over the world. Suitable for all seasons and weather conditions Spekboom has a photosynthetic mechanism which allows it to adapt to both rainforest-like conditions and semi-arid conditions, making it incredibly adaptable and suited to almost any garden. 1. Cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes on a low heat or until it has the consistency of a nice thick chutney. 1.SPEKBOOM IS PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN THE SPEKBOOM IS AN ATTRACTIVE, EVERGREEN SUCCULENT SHRUB OR SMALL TREE THAT CAN REACH Young spekboom are not as resilient as adult spekboom, and need water to grow roots. The succulent, which has small juicy green leaves, is found across the South African provinces of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and … Thriving in poor soils, it tolerates both drought and frost. They are simple to care for and make easy houseplants fo 2. Pick leaves at any time, as needed to add to food, or to use medicinally. Place the plant in a room with direct sun and without a draught. Here’s how it works: Spekboom has the ability to change its photosynthesis pathway depending on rainfall and temperature. While evidence suggests that spekboom can absorb carbon dioxide at these levels, it is only possible under very specific conditions. Please don't buy large bags of compost! Planting nursery stock or even wild strains in nature that do not correspond to the wild-growing genotype could cause what is called genetic erosion. Spekboom is incredibly versatile and thrives in a bright, warm, draft-free room. The spekboom is an attractive evergreen succulent with its small round emerald-green leaves, borne on startling-red stems. In optimal conditions, one hectare of spekboom can sequester four to 10 tons of carbon a year. SPEKBOOM IS PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN: It is found predominantly in the Eastern Cape, and especially in the semi-arid Karoo region, where growing conditions are ideal for this resilient plant. This is possible but only under very specific conditions, in rehabilitated Thicket vegetation where Spekboom is indigenous. These succulents need well drained soil and an unglazed pot that will help excess moisture evaporate. We suggest planting your Spekboom straight into a nice big pot (20cm wide minimum) to save moving it later. Spekboom (Portulacaria Afra), also known as the Pork Bush or Elephant’s Food, is an indigenous South African plant making big waves on the local conservation scene. Spekboom has a photosynthetic mechanism, which allows it to adapt to all weather conditions so it can survive extreme conditions – from drought to frost. Temperature: They prefer a room free of drafts. It is also valuable stock feed. Even tough it has no special requirements to grow, compost and fertiliser will encourage quicker growth. They do not survive as well in difficult weather conditions. An incredibly hardy plant, Spekboom is mainly found in the Eastern Cape. Available data shows that the Amazon rainforest captures and stores between 23.8 and 38.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year. The spekboom is not only hardy – it is also a perennial and can live for … Below you'll find detailed instructions on watering, light, potting and compost.​, –  Follow these 5 simple steps when you receive your plant  –. Light: These plants thrive with indirect sunlight. Because it is evolved to survive the arid conditions of the Karoo, spekboom has a few unique tricks. 1.SPEKBOOM IS PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN THE SPEKBOOM IS AN ATTRACTIVE, EVERGREEN SUCCULENT SHRUB OR SMALL TREE THAT CAN REACH A mistletoe, Viscum crassulae, also parasitizes this plant. Carbon sponge. When grown as a houseplant, it likes more water than most succulents, but should still be allowed to dry out thoroughly between watering. It can easily be grown from cuttings, which can survive even in dry conditions. We suggest fertilising once in late winter to early spring with fertilizer. The plant must be in its natural environment. Use soil from your garden or park where possible! ReSpek Nature addresses these issues, by restoring balance and biodiversity. Star-shaped pink flowers attract insects and birds to the garden from late winter until spring. Plants should reach flowering size within 3-4 years. Spekboom, (Portulacaria Afra) also known as pork bush or elephant’s food, is our own indigenous wonder plant. Fill with a 50 % mix of soil and sand. It’s water wise. In southern Africa, Portulacaria afra is known by the names Elephant Bush and Elephant Food and is used by people for culinary and medicinal purposes. in the semi-arid Karoo region, where growing conditions are ideal for this resilient plant. Spekboom, which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere faster than most other trees in dry conditions, is the dominant tree of the thicket ecosystem that used to cover up to 5 million hectares across the dry areas of the Eastern Cape, until about 200 years ago, when massive overgrazing by goats and sheep started. This, together with its ability to grow in some of the country’s harshest conditions, makes spekboom the ideal plant to help offset our carbon footprint. Hedging or windbreaks, as a fast growing bushy plant, spekboom is useful to grow around fields or vegetable gardens or around the perimeter of a chicken run (depending on how many chickens you have you may need to occasionally fence off the spekboom to let them recover) 3. Medicinal properties. Add the spekboom and cook for a further three minutes. It favours North-facing slopes where it is exposed to maximum sunlight. Roots easily and can be planted directly into the ground where they are to grow. Although mainly an inhabitant of the Little Karoo and Eastern Cape, it also grows in dry river valleys in the east and up to the Limpopo, and on the slopes of the Soutpansberg. Contrary to its colourful Afrikaans name, Spekboom (literally translated to ‘bacon tree’) is a lush, emerald succulent plant with juicy, round leaves and an unmistakable, lemony flavour. It favours North-facing slopes where it is exposed to maximum sunlight. Spekboom Styling So it’s winter now, and the only things I’ve got that are growing are my Spekbooms and (to a very slight degree) my Rubber trees. These succulents commonly have a reddish stem and leaves that are green, but also a variegated cultivar is often seen in cultivation. And compared to other succulents, it grows quickly and in mass and even in times of drought. Choose a location with indirect sunlight when growing elephant bush indoors. Prevents soil erosion. Spekboom’s growing popularity ties in with the wider interest in nature-based solutions to climate change, seen most recently with a sweep of tree-planting pledges, including Donald Trump’s promise to help plant a trillion trees. The low-maintenance plant can survive on as little as 250 – 350mm of water per year! Pioneer. Just make sure that the pot has large drainage holes and that the plant never stands in water. Elephant Bush Plant Care Size and Growth. SPEKBOOM IS PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN: It is found predominantly in the Eastern Cape, and especially in the semi-arid Karoo region, where growing conditions are ideal for this resilient plant. Spekboom is proudly South African It is found predominantly in the Eastern Cape, and especially in the semi-arid Karoo region, where growing conditions are ideal for this resilient plant. Many South Africans are planting this carbon sponge en masse to take action in lowering carbon emissions and leaving a greener footprint for generations to come. 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