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Products > Senecio leucostachys
Senecio leucostachys - White Groundsel

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflowers)
Origin: Argentina (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Creamy White
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Senecio viravira]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Senecio leucostachys (White Groundsel) An evergreen sprawling sub-shrub that grows 3 to 4 feet tall by 5 to 8 feet wide with stems and finely divided 3 inch long leaves covered with soft silver-gray hairs that when wet turn a flat gray. In summer appear small creamy-white ray-less disk flowers but it is the foliage that is most attractive, so trimming the tips to remove the flowers when in bloom makes the plant look better and keeps it tighter and repeated pinching is the best way to keep the plant neat. It is attracts butterflies when in bloom and is resistant to deer predation. Plant in full to part day sun (a bit greener in shade) in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to very little. Hardy to around 15-20 F but used as an annual in colder climates. This plant can often be found listed as Senecio viravira or S. cineraria 'Candissimus' but its valid name is Senecio leucostachys. It was first described by the British botanist John Gilbert Baker in Flora Brasiliensis in 1884, but hails from Argentina where it grows at elevations between 2,300 and 6,200 feet in Villavicenzia Mountains above Mendoza and in Northern Patagonia. It was first introduced into England in 1886 as a greenhouse or half hardy plant from Uruguay with the note that it was "An undershrub with white tomentose pinnatisect leaves". (Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information: List of Published Names of Plants Introduced to Cultivation: 1876 to 1896 published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1900). The name for the genus comes from the Latin word 'senex' meaning "old" or "old man" in reference to its downy head of seeds and the specific epithet means is a combination of the Latin words 'leuco' meaning white and 'stachys' meaning "spike" in reference to the plant have a white-flowering stalked inflorescence. This plant is sometimes listed under the name Senecio viravira (or S. vira-vira) or S. cineraria 'Candissimus' and is one of the many plants often commonly called "Dusty Miller". We previously grew this plant from 1992 through 1997 but discontinued only because, like so many great plants, it never looks that great in a nursery container but it is such a good plant in the garden we had to grow it again!  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Senecio leucostachys.