SENECIO

This group of plants include annuals, greenhouse succulents, hardy perennials and shrubs, which are grown for their flowers and for their foliage. Many plants long known as senecio now belong to other groups.

Suitable site and soil. Annuals like sun and normal garden soil. Perennials like moist or boggy soil in partial shade. Succulents must be grown indoors. Shrubby types prefer well-drained soil and full sun.

Cultivation and care. Plant perennials and shrubs in autumn or spring. Cut herbaceous types to ground level in late autumn.

Propagation. Annuals are grown from seed sown in late winter. Perennials are increased by division in spring, shrubs from cuttings and succulents by cuttings taken in summer.

Recommended varieties. Senecio bicolor (usually sold as Cineraria maritima) is a grey-leaved, half-hardy evergreen much used for bedding. It grows to about 30cm – 12in with a similar width. Two popular hardy grey-leaved shrubs are Senecio ‘Sunshine’ and S. greyi (both now technically species of Brachyglottis). These grow to about 1.2m – 4ft and have yellow daisy flowers in summer. Among the herbaceous types, S. smithii is worth growing, producing clusters of daisy-like flowers with yellow centres on 1.2m – 4ft stems in summer. S. rowleyanus (string of beads) is a greenhouse succulent trailer with bead-like leaves.

Pests and diseases. Watch out for aphids on all plants.

BOG LOVER

S.smithii is an excellent plant for moist, boggy conditions. Its striking leaves and clusters of yellow-centred, white flowers in early summer provide interest in an area where many plants do not do well.

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