Elephant Bush Pruning Guide ( Prune For Better Look! )

If you wish to keep your elephant bush plant small, you may go ahead and prune them. So here is an elephant bush pruning guide.

Elephant bush plants grow down, outwards, and even upward. Hence, pruning them is quite essential so that it will make the plants look nice and neat.

Having said that they would look lovely, when you let them grow in a sprawling manner.

Elephant Bush pruning

Why is it important to prune elephant bushes?

Pruning the elephant bush plants is quite essential unless it would grow in an unruly bushy manner. Hence why, pruning the elephant bush is quite important

It will ensure that your plants are growing in an attractive shape. Further you may prune the plants in the desired wish of yours as well. 

They are great picks for bonsai plants. If you leave them unpruned, their  branches will grow thick and chances are that they may even fall on the ground as well. 

However, whenever they fall on the ground, they will start to form new roots and make new plants.

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How to prune Elephant bush plant

These plants are very attractive in their natural looks. However, if you wish to keep them as bonsai trees, you could consider pruning them.

Whatever the trimmings you do , could be used for the propagation of these plants too.

  • First you may report the plants if it is essential. To repot them, you need to place them in a well-draining bonsai appropriate soil mix. 
  • After some time, you could water them and leave them in the pot for a couple of days before you prune them.  
  • I suggest you do not prune them right after watering them. Instead wait for some days until they develop callous over the cuttings and then proceed.
  • Ensure that the pot you are using is a large one which will allow the roots to develop faster and vigorously. 
  • Usually, you need to grow the bonsai plants in shallow and well-draining pots.
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You  could spot many bonsai pots that have several draining holes, where you could place wires and make them stabilized. However, they will be quite heavy though. 

  • You may go ahead with pruning them after one days’ time of watering them. Ensure that you are using tools such as sharp knives, gardening shears which are clean and sterile. 
  • When you make the cuttings, ensure that you are doing it closer to the trunks without gouging out any of the trunk so that they will heal on their own.
  • Do not just trim off your plants without having any idea of doing it. Instead  observe the plant well and contemplate the shape of it. 
  • Check on the visual guides on how to make traditional bonsai shapes and try to visualize it in your mind. Then gradually try to start the proceeding not in a hurry but taking your own time.
  • You need to first of all get rid of the dead or the decaying branches of the plants. Further if there are longer and stretched branches, you may snip them off too. 

If you could spot any leaves forming on the trunk, trim them too. If there are deceased plant sections, remove them and dispose of them completely far from the plants. 

  • You could remove the shorter branches to have the shape you wish to have in the plants. You may simply cut off the branch tips which will allow the two branches to spill out. 
  • You need to trim the branches which have only two  pairs of leaves. Ideally you need to trim them to have only one pair of leaves only. 
  • Moreover, you could remove the leaves in the longer branches also just like how you did for the trunks. 
  • That will ensure that there are leaves only in the branch’s tips. Ideally there should be two or four leaves at the branch’s edges. 
  • Next you may use wire and shape the longer branches as per your desired shape.
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When to prune?

If you spot your plants have become unruly and bushy you need to prune them

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You may do it regularly whenever you spot the plants have become bushy and quite untidy. That will help them to become neat in shape and in looks as well.

Elephant Bush pruning

Does pruning affect flowering?

Pruning helps the plants to flower  vigorously and firmly. In fact, it would allow them to produce more firm  flower buds when you remove the unnecessary leaves and the branches

Literally the plants do not have to use their energy to sustain these decaying leaves and the decaying branches anymore and instead they can use it for the flower blossoming of the plants.

Ultimately the flowering of the elephant bush plants will be benefitted.

Elephant bush flowers 

You could mainly spot them forming flowers in pink. Apart from pink, they will form in rose and in lilac colors, purple and white  too. 

They would usually arise  in clusters. Those flowers would be star shaped and would comprise of 5 pointed petals as well. 

Moreover, they come up with a prominent stamen too. The flowers of the elephant bush are tiny and transparent. Their flowering season usually falls in spring.

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Related questions

How do you prune a leggy elephant bush?

Elephant bush plants are tolerant of heavy pruning.

Hence if you want to prune a leggy , stretched and trailing stems you may prune them heavily. Whenever you remove the unnecessary branches, it would make the plants produce more flower buds and give a neat and an attractive look for the plants.

How do you make an elephant bushy?

You may simply use the cuttings of these plants and transplant them closer to the mother plants in the ground

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The plants which have abundant foliage could be used to obtain these cuttings and once you transplant them close to the mother plant, it will make the plants look bushy when they are all fully grown.

When you transplant them in the ground or in a large pot that will allow the roots to spread out and grow vigorously. Consequently, it will help the trunks to become thin too.

Why is my elephant bush not flowering?

Your elephant bush plant may not flower if they do not get their proper weather conditions. In other words, they produce flowers only in mild climates

It is hard to spot them flowering when you grow them in your indoor garden collection. When you grow them in containers and place them outdoors, you could spot them flowering with pink-, white- or purple-colored blooms. Those flowers arise in clusters.

If there is no adequate sunlight levels, it will not be possible for them to produce flowers. In addition to that, they need to go through a proper wintering period to produce flowers too. 

To do that, you need to keep them cool and dry in winter and the ideal temperature levels should be slightly above the freezing temperature levels (35-44 degrees Fahrenheit ).


No matter if you prune them to become bonsai plants or if  you let them grow  and sprawl over hanging planters, they will never fail to amaze you.

They are some spectacular plants to have and it would be so much fun to grow them.

Credit to : Growing Green Thumbs
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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.