Caputia medley-woodii (Hutch.) B.Nord. & Pelser
The specific epithet "medley-woodii (MED-lee-ay WOOD-ee-eye)" honors John Medley Wood (1827-1915), a South African botanist, curator of the Durban Botanic Garden, and director of the Natal Government Herbarium of South Africa.
The native range of this species is from Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa north to Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). It grows along cliff edges and granite outcrops at elevations under 2,000 feet (610 m).
Caputia medley-woodii, formerly known as Senecio medley-woodii, is a succulent shrub with thick branches and egg-shaped leaves with small teeth irregularly spaced along the margins. It grows up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall. The branches and leaves are covered in white felt. The leaves are dark green with blackish tones.
The flowers are daisy-like with bright yellow rays and orange-yellow disks, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter, and appear solitary or with up to 3 others at the branch tips in mid-winter.
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 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 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. 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.
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