Know your wa­ter­wise plants

Each month, we will fea­ture a plant that is able to cope with a min­i­mal amount of wa­ter.

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Also known as pork bush or ele­phant’s foot, spekboom (Por­tu­lacaria afra) is a hardy ev­er­green shrub with suc­cu­lent leaves and at­trac­tive red stems. There are low-grow­ing, up­right and var­ie­gated forms. Its fleshy leaves re­tain mois­ture, mak­ing it drought- and fire-re­sis­tant and its pink flow­ers at­tract in­sects that will lure in­sect-eat­ing birds to your gar­den. This plant is use­ful as a screen or hedge and can be trained as a bon­sai. Re­cent stud­ies have found that it has car­bon-stor­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Spekboom

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