Senecio tropaeolifolius MacOwan ex F.Muell.
False Nasturtium, Nasturtium-leaf Spear Head
Senecio oxyriifolius subsp. tropaeolifolius
Senecio tropaeolifolius is native to South Africa (Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape).
Senecio tropaeolifolius, also known as Senecio oxyriifolius subsp. tropaeolifolius, is a small succulent that quickly forms a caudex that sprouts vine-like stems that bear interesting pentagonal leaves with sharp corners. It can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and 24 inches (60 cm) wide, forming a dense clump.
From fall to winter, the mature plants are topped with terminal clusters of bright yellow, daisy-like flowers on lax spikes that can reach up to 2 inches (5 cm) in length.
Senecio tropaeolifoliusis has been treated as a subspecies of Senecio oxyriifolius. However, recent studies show that although closely related and often confused, they differ enough to be treated as separate species.
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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