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Senecio longiflorus (Paintbrush Flower)


Scientific Name

Senecio longiflorus (DC.) Sch.Bip.

Common Names

Paintbrush Flower, Sjambok Bush


Kleinia longiflora, Senecio longiflorus subsp. longiflorus, Cineraria angulosa

Scientific Classification

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


Senecio longiflorus is a perennial, much-branched, succulent shrub, up to 2.3 feet (70 cm) tall, with very succulent blue-green stems. It is usually leafless or nearly during most of the year. Stem and branches are erect or creeping, up to 0.3 inch (8 mm) in diameter, round at first, but later becoming somewhat prismatically angled or even furrowed (when dry), and decorated with groups of three dark green or purple lines. It produces bright yellow flowers on a short terminal inflorescence.

Senecio longiflorus - Paintbrush Flower

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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 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… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Senecio.


Native to Malawi, Zambia and South Africa, usually growing among rocks or under bushes.


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