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Products > Senecio serpens
Senecio serpens - Blue Chalksticks
Image of Senecio serpens
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflowers)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [Curio repens]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Senecio serpens (Blue Chalksticks) - A small succulent that hugs the ground, branching from the base, suckering from roots and rooting along the stems. The prostrate stems hold short powdery 1 to 2 inch long blue-green finger-like fleshy leaves. Small white flowers in few flowered corymbs rise just above the foliage summer through fall.

Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Requires little water. Hardy to around 20 F. This plant is a great small-scale groundcover and while similar to the more common Senecio mandraliscae, it grows a bit tidier and lower, has smaller leaves and is far less vigorous.

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".

Senecio serpens is much smaller and slower growing than the similarly colored and far more vigorous Senecio mandraliscae. Recent treatment of this plant in the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew databases has the current name of this plant as Curio repens, but we continue to list this plant that we have grown since 1989 under its older more commonly used name for convenience and to avoid confusing our customers and staff. 

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