Senecio has a very large group of plants, with over 1,000 species. These plant species can be found all over the world. It includes plants as diverse as annuals and perennials, succulents and non-succulent perennials, evergreen shrubs, sub-shrubs, and climbers. Relatively few of the species of Senecio are used as house-plants.
Varieties of Senecio
1) Senecio Cruentus Hybrids
This species of Senecio has dense heads of colorful daisy-like flowers in winter and spring. Colors include shades of red, pink, purple, white, and blue. This variety has large, irregularly lobed, hairy leaves, which can almost be hidden when a compact plant is in full flower.
The height of this plant ranges from about 23-75cm. The flower size from 2.5-7.5cm depending on the variety. Choose compact varieties for the home. You will usually find this plant by the name Cineraria. Although botanists have now reclassified it as Pericallis Cruenta, it is not sold under this name.
2) Senecio Macroglossus
These plants are Trailers or climbers with small succulent, roughly triangular leaves re-sembling common ivy. (Hedera helix). ‘Variegatus’ has white margins.
3) Senecio Mikanioides
These are also climbers similar to the pre-vious species, but the leaves have five to seven sharply pointed lobes. These are now reclassified as Delairea Odorata.
4) Senecio Rowleyanus
These plants are trailers with pendent, thread-like stems clustered with pea-like leaves that resemble beads.
Let us look at a few tips that would help you to care for these plants without any headache.
These plants love bright sunlight in indoor conditions. But keep them away from direct summer sunlight. These plants can also tolerate partial shade. For winter, provide them as much as light as possible.
These plants love warm temperatures. However, they can tolerate quite cool temperatures. But don’t expose them to frost or temperatures below 7°C (45°F). Try to keep S. Cruentus varieties below 13°C (55°F).
Humidity for Senecio
Succulent Senecio plants can easily survive in dry arid conditions. Therefore there is no need to mist these plants to increase humidity levels. In fact, these plants may rot due to damp environmental.conditions. However, mist S. Cruentus, S. Macroglossus, and S. Mikanioides occasionally.
Watering and feeding the Senecio
Water the non-succulent types freely from spring to autumn, sparingly in winter. Water S. Rowleyanus sparingly at all times, and keep practically dry in winter. Feed all types when they are growing actively. Care S. Cruentus will die after flowering, so discard once blooming is over.
During summer, water once a week. For winter months, water after every 3 weeks.
You can easily propagate succulent Senecio through their leaves and stems. growing these plants from stems is quicker and easier.
Take a stem that still has a few leaves on it. Make a hole in the potting soil with a pencil or pen. Now press the stem in the potting soil. Cover the stem with soil and water the stem so that the soil becomes moist. In 14 to 20 days the stem will root.
Propagating with the help of leaves is also easy. Pluck the leaf and let it dry for a day. Now pot it in the potting soil in the same way as we did with the stem. You will notice new growth in a few weeks.
Re-pot the Senecio only when the pot or container gets crowded and there is no room for your plant to grow and expand.
Changing your poting soil every three years is a good idea. This is because soil losses its water retention capacity with time. Also, changing soil will help to increase the number of essential nutrients in your soil.
When you decide to do so, use a well-draining potting mix. You can either buy it from the market or prepare it by yourself. Just add compost and perlite to your garden soil. Add a layer of topsoil if necessary.
Pest Attack on Senecio
Senecio plants are pest and disease tolerant. But sometimes they may face attack from aphids. If you want to identify aphids and want to cure your plant, read our article on Pests and garden diseases.