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Senecio tropaeolifolius (False Nasturtium)

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Scientific Name

Senecio tropaeolifolius MacOwan ex F.Muell.

Common Names

False Nasturtium, Nasturtium-leaf Spear Head

Synonyms

Senecio oxyriifolius subsp. tropaeolifolius

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Senecio tropaeolifolius is a succulent plant that forms evergreen clump up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and up to 16 inches (40 cm) wide. Mature clumps are topped with terminal clusters of bright yellow, daisy-like flowers on up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, lax spikes. This plant is very similar to, and often confused with Senecio oxyriifolius. It has been treated as a subspecies of S. oxyriifolius, but recent molecular studies show, that although closely related, they differ enough to be treated as separate species.

Hardiness

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 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 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. 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.

Origin

Senecio tropaeolifolius is native to South Africa.

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