Senecio crassissimus Humbert
Lavender Steps, Propeller Plant, Vertical Leaf, Vertical Leaf Senecio
Senecio crassissimus is a succulent subshrub with erect, thick, purple stems that hold silver-grey leaves with vivid purple margins facing outwards. It grows up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall and up to 18 inches (45 cm) wide. Leaves are stiff, flattened, obovate waxy, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. In winter, up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall inflorescences rise from the stem tips and bear an open, branched head of bright yellow, daisy-like 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. Using cuttings is an easier and faster method of propagation. 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 Madagascar.
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