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Curio ficoides (Big Blue Chalk Sticks)

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Scientific Name

Curio ficoides (L.) P.V.Heath

Common Names

Big Blue Chalk Sticks, Flat-leaved Senecio, Silver Senecio

Synonyms

Cacalia dulcis, Cacalia ficoides, Kleinia ficoides, Senecio ficoides

Scientific Classification

Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Senecioneae
Subtribe: Senecioninae
Genus: Curio

Origin

Native to South Africa.

Description

Curio ficoides, formerly known as Senecio ficoides, is a succulent shrub that grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall and spreads up to 10 feet (3 m) in diameter. Branches are fleshy, brittle, up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long, and up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) in diameter. They arch upwards and snake along the ground. Basal stems are with leaf scars and up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Leaves are fleshy, erect, tapering, laterally compressed, with longitudinal somewhat translucent stripes and up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. Leaves and stems are bluish to grey-green and covered with a powdery bloom. Flower heads are white, have no ray florets, and are produced at the ends of the branches, usually from fall to winter.

The specific epithet "ficoides" refers to its resemblance to the family Aizoaceae, formerly known as Ficoidaceae.

Photo by Mania0219

How to Grow and Care

Light: Keep Curio plants in partial shade if outdoors, which is their preference in summer, and bright sunlight if indoors. They will grow in full shade but will become lank and leggy.

Soil: These plants prefer well-draining soil. For growing Curio indoors, it is essential to use a container with at least one drainage hole at the bottom.

Hardiness: Curio ficoides can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 to 50 °F (-6.7 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b.

Watering: Curio plants are drought tolerant, but the soil should never be left dry for too long. They do need some water during the growing season but be careful not to leave the soil wet for prolonged periods.

Fertilizing: The members of this genus can take a bit more fertilizer than other succulents if you want them to grow fast.

Repotting: You do not need to repot Curio plants often. You can do it when you see that the container becomes too small or shallow.

Propagation: These plants can be grown from seeds or cuttings.

Toxicity: Curio plants are toxic. Grow them with great care if you have children, pets, or livestock.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Curio.

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