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Senecio

Asteraceae Senecio L.
 Sp. Pl. 2: 866. 1753 [1 May 1753]
   Mainly native to Africa and India, this is a very large genus, with over a thousand species, despite the fact that many of the succulent species are listed under the name Kleinia.  Senecios come in a wide range of shapes and sizes from low growing succulents, annuals, perennials, shrubs and even small trees.  Some species don’t tolerate cold weather well, but most succulent Senecios are easy to grow and easy to propagate.  Senecios have yellow, clustered flowers on stalks and bloom in spring, summer and fall.
 
Senecio articulatus   Sch. Bip.
Flora 28: 500. 1845
Candle Plant -
low water requirement part shade exposure



   This Senecio is recognized by its 1/2" thick stems, that join to each other at tiny, easily broken points, but fortunately these make great cuttings, so you end up with several over time.  Although native to Cape Province, South Africa and summer dormant, during its' growing season, it can be very fast growing, up to 2' to 3' tall and spreading.  The thick branches have light green temporary leaves with 3 to 5 lobes, and grows well in sun or shade.  Yellowish flowers on long stalks bloom in fall.

 
Senecio citriformis   G. D. Rowley
Nat. Cact. & Succ. Journ. xi. 61 (1956).
very low water requirement part shade exposure



   This species has trailing and erect stems, yellowish flowers, and a thick base.  The leaves are blue-green, tear drop shaped, and have transparent lines that run vertically over their entire length.  This is a moderate to fast grower and can survive extreme droughtNative to Cape Province, South Africa.
 
Senecio kleiniiformis   Suess.
Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 42: 45. 1937
(Senecio tropaeofolium, Senecio cuneatus)
Spear Head -
low water requirement half shade exposure



   This South African native has greenish gray spear shaped leaves, hence the common name Spear Head.  It prefers some shade, has a spreading habit with a thick base, and blooms in early summer.

 
Senecio macroglossus   DC.
Prodr. (DC.) 6: 404. 1838 [1837 publ. early Jan 1838]
Turtle Ivy, Natal Ivy -
medium water requirement half shade exposure

   With its' thick, glossy, three to five shallow lobed leaves, and twisting, climbing vines reach 8' long or more, this Kenya native is similar in appearance to English Ivy (Hedera helix), but has a much more glossy, rubbery feel.  This frost tender evergreen vine occasionally has cream to pale yellow flowerheads, up to 1' long.  S. macroglossus is suitable for growing in containers and indoors, and propagation is done from herbaceous stem cuttings.


 
Senecio macroglossus 'Variegatus'  
Turtle Ivy, Natal Ivy -
medium water requirement mostly shade exposure
    
 
Senecio madraliense  
low water requirement part shade exposure





   This South African native grows to 1.5' tall and 2' wide and has yellow flowers on 6" long stalks.  It prefers some shade but in certain situations, can be grown in full sun, but is sensitive to frost.
 
Senecio pendulus   Sch. Bip.
Flora 28: 500. 1845
(Kleinia pendula, Cacalia pendula)
low water requirement half shade exposure
 
Senecio rowleyanus   H. Jacobsen
Natl. Cact. Succ. J. 23(2): 30. 1968
String of Pearls -
low water requirement half shade exposure




   Small, white, long lasting flowers with pea shaped blue-green leaves on long, thin, trailing stems are what make this South African native an excellent hanging specimen.  In an 8" pot this plant will grow to hang from the ceiling to the floor with length to spare.  Minimum temp. of 41°

 
Senecio velatus   Greenm.
Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. i. 280 (1914).
low water requirement half shade exposure
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Senecio page last updated: April 28, 2010.