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Products > Senecio ficoides
Senecio ficoides - Large Kleinia

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Senecio ficoides
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflowers)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Curio ficoides, Senecio aizoides, Hort.]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Senecio ficoides (Large Kleinia) - Large succulent with stout 3 to 5 foot long stems that arch upwards and snake along the ground bearing 3 to 6 inch long narrow blue-green leaves that are flat on the upper surface and round keeled below and end in a soft yet sharp looking tip.

Plant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained soil where it requires very little irrigation. Has proven hardy to 25 F and likely will go a bit lower.

This is the largest of the gray succulent leaf senecios that include Senecio cylindricus, Senecio mandraliscae and Senecio serpens but this a bigger plant than these others and the leaves are flatter, a bit like Senecio crassisimus but narrower and more well-spaced along the stem.

Senecio ficoides grows naturally around the Northern Cape, Namaqualand, Alexander Bay in in the extreme north-west of South Africa. It is also commonly called Flat-leaved Senecio, Silver Senecio and Big Blue chalk sticks. The name for the genus comes from the Latin word 'senex' meaning "old" or "old man" in reference to its downy head of seeds and the specific epithet is from the pre-Linnean name for plants in the genus Mesembryanthemum, which this plant superficially resembles. Recent treatment of this plant in the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew databases has the current name of this plant as Curio ficoides (L.) P.V. Heath but in the most current written reference we have available, The Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons edited by Urs Eggli (2002), the contributor for this section, Gordon Rowley, lists Senecio ficoides (Linné) Schulz-Bipontinus as the correct name Since this plant has long been in the California nursery trade as Senecio ficoides, we continue to use this name until such time as the newer names become better recognized. The genus name Curio means "to lean" in reference to several related species with a leaning or decumbent habit.

We have grown this plant since 2010 and previously listed it as Senecio aizoides. This is one of the parents of Senecio 'Jolly Gray'. Both of these plants came to us from the garden of John Bleck and we also grow a patented selection of this species that is more upright and taller called Senecio ficoides 'Mount Everest' and a seedling selection from 'Mount Everest' that we call Senecio ficoides 'Tall Towers'

This information about Senecio ficoides displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.