Cultivation and genus characteristics of Senecio plants

Senecio is a genus of herbaceous and shrubby plants in the Asteraceae family with more than 4,000 described species ranging from aquatic, stem, perennial, deciduous, succulent, and even shrubs or small trees.

The species of this genus are so many and so varied and different from each other that it would be impossible to address them all in the same article. In these lines we will try to collect the best known and most popular species. This group includes types of plants for ornamental use to grow indoors or outdoors and that we will divide into three large groups.

GROUP 1: SENECIO CRUENTUS 

We collect this unique species in a group for being one of the most popular and well-known of the Senecio genus. In addition to having many varieties, they are called “seasonal plants”, since they are usually bought in nurseries just before spring to enjoy their flowering and only live one year or cycle.

It is highly appreciated as an indoor plant, grown in pots or in flower beds and also in outdoor planters. Its ornamental value lies in its abundant and spectacular flowering, which fills any corner of the house or garden with color.

Its leaves are large, thick and soft to the touch. They grow at the base of the plant and are heart-shaped with dark green, jagged edges.

They bloom in early spring , grouped in chapters similar to daisies. There are different colors ranging from white, purple, pink, blue or bicolor, combining two different shades in the same flower.

Senecio cruentus multiflora nana

MOST KNOWN CULTIVARS OF SENECIO CRUENTUS

SENECIO CRUENTUS GRANDIFLORA

It reaches about 50 cm high, with large flowers that grow in double chapters, generally they are bicolor combining white with other shades.

SENECIO CRUENTUS MULTIFLORA NANA

It is between 25 and 30 cm high, it is very compact and has small flowers that grow very tightly throughout the plant.

SENECIO CRUENTUS STELLATA

It differs from the rest because its flowers are star-shaped. The plant has a height of between 50 and 80 cm tall.

SENECIO CRUENTUS CARE

LOCATION

Senecio needs to be in an environment with a lot of light but indirectly and with a mild temperature that does not exceed 15 degrees so that the flowers do not wither too quickly.

Please note: it can not stand cold air .

SUBSTRATUM

They appreciate a fertile substrate mixed with sand or perlite for good drainage. Ensuring good drainage and minimal fertility, something that can be easily achieved using any universal substrate or worm castings.

IRRIGATION CHARACTERISTICS

Watering should be abundant but always waiting for the soil to be completely dry between each watering and avoiding wetting the flowers.

GROUP 2: SUCCULENT SENECIO

Succulent Senecio are generally small plants , ideal for growing in pots, alone or creating compositions with different varieties. They are also perfect as cover plants or ground covers in dry areas of gardens.

They withstand drought very well since their thick leaves retain a large amount of water inside.

Senecio mandraliscae

SUCCULENT SENECIO SPECIES

Among the species of Senecio that are succulent, we can find, among many others, the following:

SENECIO MANDRALISCAE

Known as blue balsam, it is characterized by its fleshy, cylindrical leaves with pointed ends and a showy bluish-green color. In gardens it is excellent as a creeping plant to upholster the ground and in pots its bearing is hanging.

SENECIO ROWLEYANUS

Known as the rosary plant, it looks really peculiar. With a pendant bearing, its leaves are small green balls that make it look like a necklace or rosary. Although they are originally creeping plants, due to their attractiveness, they are used ornamentally as a hanging plant in pots.

SENECIO RADICANS

It is popularly known as chain bananas. It is a very striking plant, with a hanging shape, its leaves, in the shape of a half moon, look like small bananas. It is excellent as a hanging plant, its stems can measure up to a meter in length and grow very fast. It produces small flowers that smell like cinnamon.

SENECIO HAWORTHII

It has beautiful leaves that are striking because they are white thanks to the hairiness that covers them. They are cylindrical and arranged vertically and in tight clusters.

SENECIO CRASSISSIMUS

This succulent can form very broad and erect shrubs that can reach up to 70 centimeters in height. Its elongated and fleshy leaves are very showy, grayish green with purple edges.

SUCCULENT SENECIO CARE

LOCATION

They like to grow in hot climates , although they can bear the cold well if it is not very long. They prefer to be in semi-shady areas, although some varieties support full sun.

SUBSTRATUM

Any universal substrate is suitable, as long as it is provided with good drainage. Its roots rot in the waterlogged earth.

IRRIGATION CHARACTERISTICS

Being plants that tolerate drought very well, they need very infrequent waterings, the ideal is to water when the substrate is completely dry.

GROUP 3: CLIMBING SENECIO

They are fast-growing herbaceous plants with thin, long stems that make them climbing plants, excellent for creating trellises or separating hedges. Due to their evergreen character, they remain green throughout the year , acquiring a touch of color during flowering that is usually very abundant.

There are six climbing species of the Senecio genus:

  • S. mikanioides
  • S. tamoides
  • S. macroglossus
  • S. angulatus
  • S. scandens
  • S. confusus

Some are so similar that it is difficult to differentiate them , creating a lot of confusion. They have leaves similar in shape to those of ivy, most of them fleshy and shiny. The flowers grow in large clusters, in some species the florets are larger than in others and in Senecio mikanioides they are like small buttons.

The one that is most easily differentiated is S. confusus because the flowers are orange almost red.

CLIMBING SENECIO CARE

They are so easy to grow and so hardy that in some cases they have become invasive species.

LOCATION

Like all plants of this genus they need to be located in temperate places with lots of light.

SUBSTRATUM

They adapt to any type of soil, even if it is not very fertile, even dry, the only condition is that it has good drainage to avoid waterlogging.

IRRIGATION CHARACTERISTICS

Like its peers, it requires little abundant watering, without soaking the substrate too much and waiting for it to be completely dry.

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