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Senecio longiflorus (Paintbrush Flower)

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Scientific Name

Senecio longiflorus (DC.) Sch.Bip.

Common Names

Paintbrush Flower, Sjambok Bush

Synonyms

Kleinia longiflora, Senecio longiflorus subsp. longiflorus, Cineraria angulosa

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Senecio longiflorus is a much-branched succulent shrub with very fleshy blue-green stems, usually leafless or nearly during most of the year. It grows up to 2.3 feet (70 cm) tall. Stem and branches are erect or creeping, up to 0.3 inches (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

Photo via pinterest.com

Hardiness

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 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. 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.

Origin

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

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