Senecio oxyriifolius DC.
Senecio orbicularis, Senecio oxyriifolius subsp. oxyriifolius, Senecio peltatus, Senecio peltiformis, Senecio subpeltatus
Senecio oxyriifolius is a fleshy, perennial herb, up to 3.3 feet (1 m) high, with a creeping tuberous rhizome. Stem is erect, smooth and hairless, fleshy with leaves crowded towards the base. The leaves are rounded and resemble those of nasturtium, fleshy or somewhat fleshy, with a rubbery texture and up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) in diameter, on up to 6 inches (15 cm) long stalks, pale green or grey-green. The leaves have serrated margins that are thick and leathery and the veins are green-yellow. Each stem ends in a tall, slender, branched flowering stem that is topped with a lax panicle of bright yellow, discoid flower heads. It is a prolific bloomer producing abundant flowers in spring and summer. It is very similar to, and often confused with Senecio tropaeolifolius.
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.
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