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Best uses

A great container or ground cover plant. Can be used for edging beds and borders, or for dry gardens and rockeries. Could even be used in hanging baskets.

Physical characteristics

A low growing evergreen succulent growing up to 30cm tall and 60cm in width.

Flowers and foliage

The prostrate stems which branch from the base and root along its stems hold short blue-green finger-like fleshy leaves. It blooms in spring with small fragrant creamy white flowers held just above the foliage.

Preferred site

Best planted in full sun with well-drained soil, preferably in porous soils with plenty of sharp sand. Tolerant of light frost, wind and coastal conditions.

Preparation for planting

Heavy clay soils are unsuitable but conditions can be improved by adding plenty of course grit or pumice or by creating raised beds filled with gritty soil. Always choose healthy well grown plants and plant after autumn rains. Before planting ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter bag or pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball and firm in and water once planted. Make sure plants are watered well until established if planting in a drier period.

Maintenance tips

This Senecio is a great low maintenance plant. After planting it is advisable to mulch using crushed stone rather than bark which is both in keeping with succulents and will hold too much moisture in winter. Pot grown succulents should be watered sparingly in winter just giving enough to prevent shrivelling. Allow plants to dry out between waterings in summer. Generally, avoid using fertilisers around succulents as this will lead to excessive soft growth and poor foliage colour. However, container grown plants respond well to slow release fertiliser. Pot grown succulents should be watered sparingly in winter. Small insignificant flowers can be picked off to maintain form. No pruning should be required, but they can be divided or cuttings taken in either spring or autumn.

Pests and diseases

Prone to root rot if the soil is too wet.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Urban trees

Interesting facts and tips

This plant comes from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and was first introduced into cultivation in 1710. The name Senecio comes from the Latin word 'senex' meaning "old" or "old man" in reference to its downy head of seeds and the specific epithet means "creeping".