Senecio crassissimus Humbert
Lavender Steps, Propeller Plant, Vertical Leaf, Vertical Leaf Senecio
This species is native to Madagascar. It occurs in south-central Madagascar between Betroka and Ihosy.
Senecio crassissimus is a small succulent shrub with erect, fleshy, greyish-green to purple stems that hold glaucous leaves with purple margins facing outwards. It grows up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall and 18 inches (45 cm) wide. Leaves are flattened, obovate, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide, and up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) thick. Flowers are yellow and appear in a loose cluster on branched, up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall stalk that rises from the stem tips from mid-summer to winter.
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 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 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.
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