Botanical Name — Senecio scaposus
Common Name — Woolly Senecio, Silver coral, Silver Spider
Plant Family — Asteraceae
Senecio scaposus is a small, stemless succulent from South Africa that is striking for its silver-white coloration and fuzz. Native to rocky cliffsides and outcroppings, this plant has evolved a white felt covering to reflect the intense sun of its habitat.
- Senecio scaposus love plenty of direct sunlight. Provide southern exposure as much as possible. However, when it’s hot, these plants prefer partial shade at peak hours. The diffused light of a screen door or sheer curtain will be perfect.
- Leaves may take on a darker green color if the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight.
- Senecio scaposus are sub-tropical plants, meaning they thrive in temperatures between 65 to 80 ºF. They should always be kept above 55 ºF.
- Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Make sure to drench the soil thoroughly until water is dripping from the bottom of the plant.
- In the winter, when these plants are not actively growing, ease up on watering. Reduce the frequency of watering to about half of what you would provide in the summer.
- Overwatering could lead to leaf drop or root rot. Always err on the side of underwatering.
- Give Senecio scaposus a light, gritty arid plant soil. A typical cactus potting soil amended will work. You can increase aeration and drainage by amending with sand, pumice, or perlite up to 50%.
- Flowers are small, star-shaped, and silver-white like the plant. Expect the tiny white blooms to blossom in midsummer after a large stalk grows from the center of the plant.
- These plants do not require fertilizer though it can be added to give container grown plants a boost or to supplement poor soil. Apply a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer monthly, diluted at half strength.
- These plants can be easily propagated by stem or leaf cuttings.
- Scale, mealybugs, and aphids are not common but may occur. Remove pests with a cotton ball or q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol, or treat the plant with diluted neem oil. Prune away unhealthy leaves or stems.
- Root rot may occur if this plant is overwatered.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- This plant grows and blooms best when somewhat rootbound. Repot every two or three years, moving it to a pot just 2 inches wider.
- These plants are toxic if ingested by animals and humans.
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