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gardening femalefocusonline nov23PORTULACARIA AFRA
Grow a great plant, and help the planet.

This amazing plant has many common names, but the most common is Spekboom, a South African name, and that's also the place where they have started using it in an amazing project to help our planet. The very special thing about Portulacaria Afra is that it can remove and store carbon from our atmosphere, and do it extremely well. Most plants take carbon from the air and give out oxygen, but this one can retain it. A hectare of these plants can remove over 10 tons of carbon in a year, that's a lot more than a similar area of the Amazon rain forest.
There is another reason to grow these, they are lovely plants and easy to grow and look after. In Cape town you will find them used in salads, soups and much more, yes, they are edible too. They can also be used for making a Bonsai plant if you fancy trying that.
Looking after one is easy, it's a succulent so only water every couple of weeks, they are happy with temperatures from 0 to 35 degrees and full sunshine is no problem. Cactus compost is ideal to grow them in and easily available. The only problems you are likely to have are from over watering, so watch out for that, and they aren't happy in shady place as a house plant.
I wonder how much help a few million gardeners across the world would be if they grew one of these? Next month I'll show you how to propagate them so you can pass them on to your friends and carry on the good work.
Finally, my thanks to Anna in the garden club for telling us all about this little miracle of a plant.

Andrea Oates.

Vega Baja Gardening Club

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