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Senecio cylindricus (Narrow-leaf Chalk Sticks)


Scientific Name

Senecio cylindricus (A.Berger) Jacobsen

Common Names

Narrow-leaf Chalk Sticks, Blue Chalk Fingers


Senecio vitalis, Senecio talinoides subsp. cylindricus

Scientific Classification

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


Senecio cylindricus is a low growing succulent shrub up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall and spreading up to 5 feet (1.5 m) wide with semi-prostrate stems that turn upright and are crowded at the tips with up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long, slender and slightly upcurved, gray-green, tubular leaves. The small, rayless, dull cream colored flowers appear in corymbs in late spring to early summer.

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.

Few pests bother Senecio. They can occasionally be affected by scale and mealy bugs. Rabbits found my String of Pearls quite tasty… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Senecio.


Native to South Africa.


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