Senecio barbertonicus (Succulent Bush Senecio) - This evergreen subshrub can grow to 3 to 5 feet tall (taller by a considerable margin with some support) by an equal spread with somewhat brittle fleshy stems bearing 2-inch-long bright green rounded succulent leaves that point upwards along the branches and are crowded toward stem tips. The flowers, borne typically here in the late fall and winter are bright orange yellow in compact terminal clusters.
Plant in full sun to light shade in well-drained to sandy soil and irrigate little to occasionally. Has proven hardy for us to at least down to the mid 20's F. This is a nice green leafed succulent plant that can stay as a fairly tight shrub kept dry out in the open but if planted with taller plants can climb well up into them. It has reached above 10 feet tall by climbing up into a large Ephedra tweediana in our garden. It is also noted as attracting the Painted Lady butterfly.
Senecio barbertonicus is described as one of the largest of the finger leaved Senecios and its green coloration easily distinguishes it from the other finger leaved plants with gray leaves in the Senecio talinoides group, such Senecio mandraliscae and S. serpens. An alternate common name for this plant is Barberton Senecio, though it actually occurs not only in the Barberton region but grows on rocky hills throughout most of Transvaal and scattered in eastern, central, and southwestern Swaziland. This habitat is characterized as a hot and dry climate, with some summer rains and long periods of drought and winter temperatures near freezing. is and is occasionally still seen listed as such but these two plants are quite dissimilar and really cannot be mistaken for each other.
Recent treatment by some botanists have put this plant (and many other Senecio) back in the genus Kleinia, but for convenience and until this gets sorted out and better recognized we continue to list them all in the genus Senecio so not to confuse our customers or our staff. Our thanks to Arkady Zak of La Cienega Nursery for bringing this beautiful and interesting plant to our attention in 2006, though at the time few of us recognized that this interesting succulent plant was even a Senecio until if flowered the following year.
Information about Senecio barbertonicus displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.