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Kleinia stapeliiformis (Pickle Plant)

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Scientific Name

Kleinia stapeliiformis (E.Phillips) Stapf

Common Names

Pickle Plant, Stapelia Stemmed Senecio, Stapelioid Kleinia, Trailing Jade, Spider Plant, Inch Worm, Candle Stick, Candle Plant

Synonyms

Senecio stapeliiformis (basionym)

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Kleinia stapeliiformis, also known as Senecio stapeliiformis, is an attractive, succulent plant with prettily marked, pencil-like stems with purple-green patterns and soft spines along the sides. The stems are cylindrical, soft, brittle, glabrous and highly succulent, jointed, up to 10 inches (25 cm) long, up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) thick. They are with 4 to 6 or rarely more grooves and scale-leaves arranged along the ribs, dark green, often with an unusual pinkish tinge, with silvery-green striations and purple arrowhead markings below each node. The flowers are large, hawkweed-like and red or orange in color.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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 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.

Origin

Kleinia stapeliiformis is native to South Africa (Eastern Cape).

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