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Kleinia pendula (Inch Worm)

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Scientific Name

Kleinia pendula (Forssk.) DC.

Common Names

Inch Worm, Inchworm Plant, Tapeworm Plant

Synonyms

Senecio pendulus, Cacalia pendula, Kleinia subulifolia, Monadenium subulifolium, Notonia pendula, Notonia trachycarpa, Notonia trachycarpa, Senecio gunnisii

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Kleinia pendula, also known as Senecio pendulus, is a creeping succulent with green patterned stems and showy, red flowers. The stems arch over and touch the soil where they re-root and send out new stems. They often will turn purplish in strong light. Individual stems are jointed and brittle, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) in diameter, variable in size and shape, waxy, green to bronze-green with white dots and darker purple arrowhead markings and rough from persistent dried leaf-scales. The leaves are scale-like and up to 0.7 inch (1.8 cm) long, shriveling quickly but persisting for a while as pseudo-thorns.

Photo via fotki.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Established Senecios are extremely drought tolerant. They do need some water, during the summer, but do not leave the soil wet for prolonged periods. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings in the winter, when they are somewhat dormant. Since they are growing in sandy soil, nutrients will need to be replenished. Fertilize annually, but lightly. Too much fertilizer will cause a lot of leggy growth.

Taller varieties can get floppy. You can prune them back to where the stem is firm, in very early spring. You can even root the cuttings.

Plants can be divided or repotted in early spring. If you are growing them in containers, they enjoy spending the summer outdoors. Wait until there is no danger of frost and move them back indoors in the fall.

Senecio can be grown from either seed or cuttings. Seeds prefer warm temperatures, around 55 °F (13 °C), and constant moisture to germinate. Cuttings are easier and faster. Cut during the growing season, early spring to fall. Root in sandy soil, in containers… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Senecio

Origin

Kleinia pendula is native to Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Yemen.

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