Senecio longiflorus (DC.) Sch.Bip.
Paintbrush Flower, Sjambok Bush
Kleinia longiflora, Senecio longiflorus subsp. longiflorus, Cineraria angulosa
Senecio longiflorus is a much-branched succulent shrub with very fleshy, blue-green stems, usually leafless or nearly leafless during most of the year. It can grow up to 2.3 feet (70 cm) tall. The stem and branches are erect or creeping and can reach up to 0.3 inches (8 mm) in diameter. They are round at first but later become somewhat prismatically angled or even furrowed (when dry) and are decorated with groups of three dark green or purple lines.
The plant produces bright yellow flowers on a short terminal inflorescence in late winter and spring.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from25 °F (-3.9 °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 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 for 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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