Senecio Collection Care Guide
With such a wide range of unique succulents, the Senecio genus boasts several trailing plants, including the String of Pearls, and String of Bananas, among others. To tell these trailing varieties apart, look at the shape of their thick, fleshy leaves– they’ll look similar to their name! Other Senecio succulents include the Pickle Plant, Blue Chalk Sticks, and Candle Plant, which are also easily identifiable based on their leaf shape and color.
These succulents range from small, windowsill-sized succulents to large shrubs to even larger trailing plants that work well as ground cover or for hanging in pots. Indoors, keep your Senecio in pots for an eye-catching statement, while outdoors, trailing Senecio plants make for wonderful vines and accents. Ground cover Senecios like the Pickle Plant or Candle Plant make for excellent desert shrubbery!
Senecio succulents tend to follow similar care patterns, but specific needs will vary from plant to plant. To learn more about your specific succulent’s needs, check out our in-depth care blogs!
Most Senecio plants require bright, indirect sunlight, like all succulents, but can tolerate direct sunlight in many cases. Some Senecio succulents, like the String of Pearls, have delicate leaves that may break off or severely burn in direct sunlight. To avoid a sunburnt succulent, give your Senecio some afternoon shade outdoors by planting them along a northern or eastern wall or under a tree. The best time to receive direct light is before noon when sunlight is gentler.
Drainage is always a priority with Senecio succulents. To keep your soil porous and well-draining, we recommend using a cactus potting mix or modifying a traditional houseplant mix with some extra sand or perlite to improve drainage. These succulents do not like to sit in water, so always ensure that your soil drains water as best as possible.
Water your Senecio succulents once every two weeks when the soil is completely dry to the touch. To check for moisture, stick your finger as deep into the dirt as possible, and remove it. If any large clumps of dirt stick to your finger, it’s not time to water.
When watering your Senecio plants, avoid getting any water on the leaves. We recommend using a watering bottle or single-hole watering can get water directly to the roots for any trailing Senecios, but if you’ve got a shrublike one, you can also use the bottom watering method.
Temperature and Humidity
One major difference between each Senecio succulent is its general temperature requirements. While all succulents in this family prefer it dry, temperature tolerances tend to vary; it’s essential to look into your specific succulent’s temperature needs for optimal care. Regardless of type, all Senecio succulents should be kept in areas warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best time to fertilize your Senecio is during its growing season. While these growing seasons vary, all Senecio succulents benefit from a little nutrient boost during the growing period to help encourage blooming and future growth. To fertilize, sprinkle a small amount of compost or succulent fertilizer over your succulent soil.
Potting and Repotting
Growth rates among plants in the Senecio genus tend to vary, but none of these plants like sitting in moist soil, especially for extended periods. Along with well-draining soil, it’s also important to choose a well-draining pot and repot your succulent once every year or so to keep it from becoming root-bound. When choosing a pot for your Senecio, always make sure the pot has a drainage hole and is made from a porous material like concrete, terracotta, or ceramic. Unglazed ceramic pots also have better drainage than glazed ones do.
With such a massive variety of succulents within the genus, Senecio plants also sport a variety of flowers. Some of these succulents bloom annually, while others are monocarpic and die after flowering. Always check with your particular species of Senecio to determine whether or not flowers are a good thing!
For the polycarpic Senecio, the best way to increase the chances of flowering are to increase the amount of sunlight your plant receives and add a little fertilizer to its soil during the growing season.
The best way to propagate a Senecio plant is through leaf cuttings. To make a cutting, use a clean, sharp pair of scissors to trim off a leaf or stem as far down the plant as possible. Then, wait a day or so for the cutting to callous over before dipping it into your potting mix. Mist the soil occasionally to keep your cutting hydrated.
Succulents in the Senecio family tend to be toxic, but not all of them are. If ingested, common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but some Senecio succulents may cause liver disease if eaten in large amounts over long periods. If you’re curious about your specific Senecio’s toxicity, we recommend taking a look at the ASPCA’s toxic plants guide. Otherwise, keep your succulents out of reach for curious pets and children!
As a desert plant, root rot is the universal complication present among all Senecio succulents. When planted in soil with poor drainage or overwatered, your succulent may become waterlogged, causing its roots to rot. Alongside root rot, mold growth, fungal infections, and fungal gnats are also common. To treat an overwatered succulent, repot it in a clean, fresh pot with well-draining soil. If the succulent has root rot, trim away the rotted parts of your roots and let the plant air out for a day before repotting.