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Submitted by: Jim Tanner

There are about 100 succulent Senecios, and they are certainly interesting. There are some large shrubs, but many are small, trailing plants or spreading ground covers. As with most succulents, they are very drought and heat tolerant and not very cold tolerant.
Many Senecio species are toxic to animals. The leaves are thick and fleshy and can be deep green, bluish or even striped. Senecio succulent leaves vary widely in shape. Some are round, some banana-shaped, some stand upright. Senecio flowers form in clusters, on long stems. Different species bloom at different times throughout the year. The flowers persist for weeks. Shapes include red or white spires and yellow daisy-like flowers, but it is really the foliage that interests most gardeners.
A few Senecio species can tolerate brief periods of cold or dampness, but prolonged exposure will turn them to mush.
Being succulents, they will grow best in full sun.
Most Senecio plants are low growing, under 1 ft. tall. Depending on species, they may spread out or trail down about 1 ft.
Senecio succulents are grown for their interesting shapes and leaves. They do bloom, at different times during the year, but not all of them bloom in cultivation as well as they do in the wild.
A number of succulent relatives have now been moved to the genus Kleinia.

LATIN LOOKUP – Loquerisne Latine (Do you speak Latin)?

The meanings of latin plant names on this page – from

  • articulatus [ar-tik-oo-LAH-tus, ar-tik-yoo-LAH-tus]
    Having joints, jointed.
  • deflersii [deh-FLER-see-eye]
    Named for Albert Deflers, Belgium botanist and collector of Asclepiads.
  • haworthii [hay-WOR-thee-eye]
    Named for Adrian Hardy Haworth, 19th century British botanist.
  • kleiniiformis [kline-ee-eye-FOR-miss]
    Shaped like Kleinia (genus named for Dr. Jacob Theodor Klein, 18th century German zoologist).
  • pusillus [pus-ILL-us]
    Insignificant, weak.
  • radicans [RAD-ee-kans]
    Plant roots from its stem.
  • rowleyanus [ro-lee-AH-nus]
    Named for Gordon Douglas Rowley, 20th century succulent enthusiast.
  • Senecio [sen-ek-ee-o , sen-NEESH-shee-oh]
    Latin form of old man refers to hairy parts of flowers.
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