Senecio oxyriifolius DC.
Senecio orbicularis, Senecio oxyriifolius subsp. oxyriifolius, Senecio peltatus, Senecio peltiformis, Senecio subpeltatus
This species is native to South Africa, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Angola, Congo, and Tanzania. It grows in grassland, particularly among rock outcrops, from near sea level up to 7,550 feet (2,300 m).
Senecio oxyriifolius is a succulent plant with a creeping tuberous rhizome and erect, fleshy stems with leaves crowded towards the base. The leaves are fleshy or somewhat fleshy with a rubbery texture, orbicular to deltoid with serrated margins, up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long and nearly equal in width. They are pale green or grey-green, with green-yellow veins. They are joined to the stem by up to 6 inches (15 cm) long stalk. Each stem ends in a tall, slender, branched flowering stem topped with a lax panicle of bright yellow discoid flower heads. This plant is a prolific bloomer, producing abundant flowers in spring and summer.
S. oxyriifolius is very similar to and often confused with Senecio tropaeolifolius.
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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