Senecio fulgens 'Blazing Glory' (Mountain Fire Kleinia) – An erect evergreen perennial or subshrub growing to nearly a foot tall with gray-green stems rising from an irregularly shaped (amorphous) basal caudex holding chalky blue narrowly elliptical succulent leaves that have a slightly concave center vein near the base on the upper surface and a distinct broad pale green midline on the lower surface. The leaves have entire leaf margins without any dentations and are blushed a violet color when first emerging and also on the underside of the leaf. In fall into early winter appear the few branched inflorescences rising above the foliage to 18 inches and holding at their tips the one-inch-wide composite flower heads of lightly fragrant coral-red disk flowers with orange stamens that in bud are held pendulous but right themselves as the flowers open - quite showy!
Plant in full sun to part shade in hot locations in a well-drained garden soil or as a decorative potted plant. Water occasionally to very little. Has proven hardy to the mid-20s. This is a charming succulent with nice foliage and beautiful fall flowers that is useful as a small garden specimen in the rock or succulent garden or as a container plant.
Whether this is a species, or a hybrid is a bit of a mystery. Various sources list it as a cultivar of Senecio cephalophorus (now Kleinia cephalophora), which is not a good match for this plant and while there remains some question in our minds about whether this plant might not be of hybrid origin, we currently are listing it as a cultivar of Senecio fulgens, a plant that occurs naturally in hot, dry areas of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and to the north in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. See our page about the nomenclatural issues and origin of this plant at Origin of Senecio 'Blazing Glory' for an explanation why we have chosen to list it under this name. We received our propagation stock of this plant in 2016 from the late Richard Bogart of Desert Images Nursery in Ojai, California. Confounding the issue of which species this plant might be is how Bogart had labeled the plant as "Senecio "Nova" (Arabia)", which would seem to indicate that he believed it to be a new undescribed species from the Arabian Peninsula.
Current nomenclatural treatment is to consider this group of Senecio to fit better in the genus Kleinia, a name used previously for many of the succulent Senecio, while other commonly grown ones have been reclassified into the genus Curio, but there remains some disagreement in this treatment and so we continue to use the name Senecio for customer familiarity until such time as this gets decided and the use of Kleinia becomes better recognized. The name for the genus Senecio comes from the Latin word 'senex' meaning "old" or "old man" in reference to its downy head of seeds and the name Kleinia honors the German zoologist, Dr Klein (1685-1759). The specific epithet is from Latin and means "shining" in reference to the vibrant scarlet color of the flowers.
Information about Senecio fulgens 'Blazing Glory' 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.