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Curio articulatus (Candle Plant)

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Scientific Name

Curio articulatus (L.) P.V.Heath

Common Names

Candle Plant, Hot Dog Cactus, Sausage Plant

Synonyms

Baculellum articulatum, Cacalia acetosellifolia, Cacalia articularis, Cacalia articulata, Cacalia laciniata, Cacalia runcinata, Kleinia articulata, Senecio articulatus

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Curio articulatus, formerly known as Senecio articulatus, is an evergreen perennial up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. It has pale grey-green, succulent stems with markings of darker green or purple, just below the petioles. The stems are tubular and jointed. If leaves do appear (approximately 50 % of the time), they are succulent, green on top, purplish below, and usually divided into leaflets. It bears yellow flowerheads, about 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) across, borne in small corymbs.

Photo via pinterest.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Established plants 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 (55˚F / 13˚C). And constant moisture to germinate. Cuttings are easier and faster. Cut during the growing season, early spring to fall. Root the cuttings in sandy soil in containers.

Few pests bother Senecio. They can occasionally be affected by scale and mealy bugs. Rabbits found my String of Pearls quite tasty.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Senecio.

Origin

Senecio articulatus is native to South Africa.

Cultivars and Hybrids

Links

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