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Ceraria pygmaea


Scientific Name

Ceraria pygmaea (Pillans) G.D.Rowley


Portulacaria pygmaea

Scientific Classification

Family: Portulacaceae
Subfamily: Portulacarioideae
Genus: Ceraria


Ceraria pygmaea is a dwarf dioecious succulent with a fat, tuberous rootstock that grows up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide. The stem is erect, robust, and woody at the base. Leaves are thick, jellybean-shaped, glabrous, blue-green, later yellowish-green, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. They fall off almost to the touch. However, new leaves will grow. Flowers are small, inconspicuous, pale pink, and usually in terminal clusters of 2 to 6.

Ceraria pygmaea

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USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Choose a location with indirect sunlight when growing Elephant Bush indoors. Overly bright sunlight can char the leaves and cause them to drop off. Ensure that the container you choose has wide drainage holes. The most common mistake made in succulent plants is watering. They are drought tolerant but do require watering from spring to fall. In winter, the plants are dormant, and you may suspend watering. Elephant Bush plants in the home interior should not have consistently wet feet. Make sure the pot drains well, and don't leave a saucer with water sitting under the container. Fertilize in late winter to early spring with an indoor plant fertilizer diluted by half.

Like most succulents, Elephant Bush is easy to reproduce from cuttings. Take cuttings in spring or summer for best results. Let the cutting dry out and callous for a couple of days, and then plant the cutting in damp gritty soil in a small pot.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for an Elephant Bush (Portulacaria afra).


Ceraria pygmaea is native to South Africa (Cape Province) and Namibia.


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