Simply Senecio

Operation Herreanus Hunt – complete!

Senecio herreanus, located and documented.

Senecio herreanus, located and documented.

For months now, I have been keeping an open eye for this amazing succulent, Senecio herreanus.  The hunt ended 8 day ago while attending the SF Succulent & Cactus Society (SFSCS) meeting. SFSCS features a different Guest Grower each month.  They typically sell hard to find plants, and sometimes offer hybrids they have been developing.

Senecio herreanus is an evergreen perennial native to Southwestern.  Also known as “String of Beads” or “Gooseberry Plant”, it is an easy to grow indoor houseplant, or outside if you are Zone 9-12.  With garbanzo bean sized, globular succulent leaves, it is similar in appearance to the Senecio rowleyanus.

Senecio rowleyanus, still going strong in our front window.  It is a close cousin to S. herreanus...but with smaller leaves.

Senecio rowleyanus, still going strong in our front window. It is a close cousin to S. herreanus…but with smaller leaves.

We want to give a shout out to Hans Herre (1895-1979) German botanist for which this plant species is named.

Here are some stats so you can have success growing your own.
Water: IBT (Infrequent but through).  Sun: Light to Part Shade.   Soil: Well drained soil.  Growth rate: 6” H x 24-48” L vines.  Zones: 9-12.  Hardy to: 45°F

The plant table was a frenzy, but we did manage to snag two plants.  BTW, that is one of Matti's cow paintings in the background.

The plant table was a frenzy, but we did manage to snag two plants. BTW, that is one of Matti’s cow paintings in the background.

Foliage: Can be variegated, crimson in color with smooth textured, fleshy leaves.  Stronger light will cause less spacing between leave nodes making the plant more compact.  Flowers: Small white, non showy, having a strong cinnamon smell.  Landscape Uses: Grown for its cascading foliage.  Hanging baskets, ground cover.  Pests: Fungus, aphids, mealy bugs, and cochineals.

Propagation: From herbaceous stem cuttings.  A single leaf will root and form a small plant at the base, however using 4 nodes is more reliable.  Where the nodes touch the soil, new roots will form.  Propagate them in evenly moist soil, mist occasionally, and keep in filtered sunlight until they are growing.

I have placed a side by side of the Senecio herreanus  (one the left) and Senecio rowleyanus (hanging on the right) below.  S. herreanus has on average 4 times the diameter spherical leaves as the S. rowleyanus.  Photo taken at night.

Senecio herreanus side by side to Senecio rowleyanus.

Senecio herreanus (left side), Senecio rowleyans (right side)

–Matti and Megan Far Out Flora

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