The Senecio are a large group of plants that belong to the daisy family. Most of the succulent species originate in South Africa. They come in a variety of shapes and colors.

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The senecio cactus belongs to the daisy family.
Senecio macroglossus variegatus. See more pictures of cacti.
All can take 45°F temperatures in the winter, and some varieties will sulk if they are too warm. Senecio articulatus, sometimes known as Kleinia articulata, (cigar plant, candle plant) has stems formed from a series of connecting three to five inch joints or "cigars." Both the "cigars" and the ivy-shaped leaves are blue-grey.

Senecio cruentus (cineraria of florists) has large, heart-shaped leaves and many beautiful white or bright colored flowers. They need plenty of water when they are in bloom. They are often heartbreakers indoors because they quickly go to pieces when night temperatures get above 50°F.

The senecio macroglossus grows upwards or downwards.
Senecio rowleyanus

Senecio macroglossus variegatus (variegated German ivy) has weak stems that will grow either upwards or downwards. The thick, waxy leaves are dark green with creamy-yellow variegation. The small, white flowers have yellow centers.

Senecio mikanioides (German ivy, parlor ivy) stands up well in dry air and is a good substitute for English ivy. It has ivy-shaped, bright green leaves and small, fragrant yellow flowers.

Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls) originated in bright, sunny South Africa. The weak threadlike stems can hang down three feet. The beadlike leaves are especially adapted for water storage. The translucent, striped veins control the amount of light that gets into the center of the leaves. The flowers are small, fluffy, dirty-white brushes with purplish-brown spots.

Senecio scaposus is an almost stemless plant. The two to three inch cylindrical leaves grow in a tight rosette. When young, the leaves are covered with a white felt; the leaves become a smooth green when they get older. Do not over-water it. Senecio serpens are much-branched plants with cylindrical leaves flattened on one side. The leaves are covered with a bluish sheen.

Some senecios need more water than others. Generally, give them bright light, heavy soil with excellent drainage, drench and let dry.

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Learn how to care for cactus plants: