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Bush senecio


Cactus and Succulent Garden

Bush senecio

Senecio barbertonicus or Kleinia barbertonica

  • ​Common Name: Bush senecio (other common names: Finger-leaved Senecio, Barberton Groundsel, Barberton Coltsfoot, Succulent Bush Senecio, Barberton Senecio, Lemon Bean Bush)
  • Scientific Name: Senecio barbertonicus or Kleinia barbertonica
  • Family Name: Asteraceae
  • Origin: South Africa
  • Height: 3’ – 5’
  • Width: 3’ – 5’
  • Growth: slow - moderate
  • Zone: 9B – 11B
  • Light Needs: Full sun to Partial shade (4 – 6 hours of sun every day).
  • Salt Tolerance:  unknown
  • Soil/PH/Texture: grows in sandy, well-draining soil, but it needs to be fed with fertilizer to ensure it does not lack its essential nutrients (an ideal growing medium is a mixture of soil, compost, and sand). Only fertilize annually because otherwise too much fertilizer will make it leggy. It can grow in a wide range of pH, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline is best but it can tolerate poor soils.
  • Soil Moisture: low water needs – spring – autumn soil should be moist, but not wet, it cannot survive excessive watering.
  • Drought Tolerance: moderate – high, can survive for long periods without water, once it is established, but does not tolerate frost.
  • Pests/Diseases: isn’t prone to pests, but can occasionally get affected by scales and mealybugs or rot root.
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance
  • Characteristics: this evergreen succulent has leaves that are around 2” – 4” in length, parallel to the stem, directed upwards on stems that are soft and green (stems get woody and brown in maturity). The showy and sweet fragranced blooms are golden-yellow, tubular in shape, 1” – 3” in length and appear in late winter, seeds produced have a thick tuft of grey bristles/hairs.
  • Propagation: by softwood stem cuttings, leaf cuttings or by plant division. Let the stem cuttings dry out for one to two weeks before planting them, if taking a leaf cutting let it dry for one day then place it on the surface of well-drained and light growing medium.
  • Wildlife: attracts bees and butterflies (painted lady butterflies in particular). 
  • Facts: senecio comes from the Latin word senex, which means old man, which the plant was named in reference to the hairs found on its seed pods.
  • Designer Considerations: use in butterfly gardens, borders, wild, rock, cactus, or succulent gardens, excellent for xeriscaping, as an accent plant, and in well drained containers for your patio.