Curio is one of the newly described genera and contains about 20 species native to South Africa. It belongs in the daisy family, Asteraceae, one of the largest families of flowering plants, containing about 24 000 species found throughout the world.
The genus was established by Heath in 1997 for a group of succulents, previously belonging to the large genus Senecio. Diagnostic characteristics he used to separate it from Senecio are the evergreen nature, elongated, striated, succulent leaves and discoid flower heads lacking ray florets.
There are different forms to explore in this group, including low-growing, ground cover types and the trailing cascades of string succulents.
The genus name is derived from the Latin "curiosus", meaning "curious", perhaps referring to the peculiar morphology of these plants.
Growing Conditions for Curio
Keep Curio plants in partial shade if outdoors, which is their preference in summer, and in bright sunlight if indoors. Avoid intense afternoon sun in summer. They will grow in shade but will become lank and leggy.
These plants should be planted in well-draining soil. To plant indoors, it is essential to use a container with at least one drainage hole at the bottom.
They can tolerate cold down to USDA hardiness zones 9a, 20 °F (−6.7 °C), but will not survive consistent temperatures below freezing.
General Care for Curio
These succulents are grown more for their beautiful foliage than for their flowers. They look good all year and need minimal care and attention.
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 to not leave the soil wet for prolonged periods. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, especially during the winter.
Curio can take a bit more fertilizer than other succulents if you want them to grow fast. Fertilize the plants once a year, in summer, with a dilute solution of a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
You do not need to repot these plants often. You can do it when you see that the container becomes too small or shallow.
How to Propagate Curio
Curio plants can be propagated by cuttings or seeds.
Seeds prefer warm temperatures and constant moisture to germinate. Germination can take several weeks or longer, depending on your growing environment.
They can also be grown from cuttings taken during spring and summer. Cuttings can be planted in situ but should be watered at least until well-rooted. They are best rooted in a container in well-draining soil and placed in a warm sunny position. Rooting should begin within 3 weeks.
Pests and Diseases of Curio
Although Curio is not bothered by many pests, it can be affected by scale and mealybugs.
Toxicity of Curio
Curio plants are toxic. Grow them with great care if you have children, pets or livestock. Wear gloves when working with these succulents, as the sap can cause severe skin irritation.
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