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Caputia tomentosa (Cocoon Plant)

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Scientific Name

Senecio haworthii (Sweet) Sch.Bip.

Common Names

Cocoon Plant, Matted Caputia, Woolly Senecio

Synonyms

Cacalia canescens, Cacalia haworthii, Cacalia tomentosa, Kleinia cana, Kleinia haworthii, Kleinia tomentosa, Notonia vestita, Senecio haworthii, Senecio quinquangulatus, Senecio vestitus

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Caputia tomentosa, formerly known as Senecio haworthii, is a small succulent shrub with woody stems and attractive cylindrical leaves. It grows up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall. Leaves are upright, pure white due to the fine white hairs covering the leaf surfaces. Flowers are bright yellow and appear on a short terminal inflorescence.

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

Senecio haworthii is native to South Africa.

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