Senecio Varieties

Senecio rowleyanus

String-of-beads is one of 3,000 species in the extraordinarily large genus Senecio. Many, such as cinerarias, are popular house plants. S. rowleyanus is a succulent species, native to South Africa. It resembles a string of pearls, for the weak, drooping stems are covered with numerous spherical leaves, pointed at the tip as well as at the base, and patterned with translucent, longitudinal stripes. The flowers have a cinnamonlike scent. They are white with bright violet anthers.

It does best in a window where it has ample light. If the temperature remains above freezing point, the plant may be left in place even in winter. Excessive moisture will damage it, so water only when the compost is dry. It requires a nourishing, but free-draining, compost.

Senecio haworthii (syn. Kleinia tomentosa) Compositae

This species of succulent Senecio is also native to South Africa. It is not a common house plant, but is often included in the collections of those who make succulents their hobby. Its erect stems, woody at the base, rise to a height of 70 cm (28 in). The alternate leaves are very succulent, narrowed at both ends, 2-4 cm long and about 1 cm (0.5 in) thick. The leaves and stems are thickly white-felted. The flowerheads are large and composed of numerous yellow Dowers.

It does well in a light, sunny situation. Water liberally in summer, but restrict watering in winter. During the winter rest period, the plants are very sensitive to cold and damp conditions, which can destroy them. Propagate by detaching the individual stems and plant them in pots.

Senecio macroglossus

This tufted plant does not look as if it belongs to the genus ‘Variegatus’

Senecio, especially if judged by its leaves. It has weak, prostrate Compositae stems and leaves that resemble those of ivy. They are slightly succulent with pointed lobes. Those of the type species are dark green, but those of the cultivar ‘Variegatus’ have yellowish blotches. The blotches are very irregular and leaves on the same stem may range from ones that are completely yellow, through ones that are half yellow to some that are blotched only on the margins. The flowerheads are composed of about 15 flowers.

The marginal ones are white, those in the centre are yellow.

This plant is most attractive if grown in a hanging container.

Propagate by stem cuttings taken with three or four leaves and insert them directly into compost.

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