Kleinia semperviva DC.
Senecio sempervivus, Cacalia sempervirens, Cacalia semperviva, Notonia semperviva
Kleinia semperviva, also known as Senecio sempervivus, is a succulent shrub with a conspicuously swollen base and fleshy, prostrate, usually purplish stems. It grows up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall. Leaves are fleshy, flat, glaucous pale bluish-green, and somewhat flushed with purple. They are up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) long and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide. Flowers are fragrant, pinkish-purple, and appear in heads that rise above the foliage on up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall stems.
This succulent is uncommon in cultivation. Most of the plants in cultivation are Kleinia semperviva subsp. grantii with red flowers.
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 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 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 and constant moisture to germinate. Cuttings are easier and faster. Cut during the growing season, from early spring to fall—root in sandy soil, in containers.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Senecio.
This species is native to Yemen.
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