This odd-looking succulent hails from the Canary Islands; in its native habitat, Senecio kleinia can reach an impressive 3m (10ft), but the restricted root system of container-grown plants means that it averages 1.5m (5ft) in the home. The stems, which are thick and stubby, branch in a whorled pattern, radiating out from the main trunk. The sides of the stems are patterned with the remains of the old leaf bases -remnants of long fallen leaves. The life cycle of Senecio kleinia is unusual; the long, rather solid leaves appear on the ends of the youngest branches in Autumn and fall during the following Summer. The creamy yellow blooms are borne from Winter to Spring.
Grow Senecio kleinia at a minimum Winter temperature of 7°C (45°F), although 10°C (50°F) will result in better growth. In Summer. Cooler temperatures are preferred; try to provide a range of 16-20°C (60-68°F).
Grow this plant in direct sunlight, but take care that the temperatures associated with full and direct sunlight do not harm this Senecio, which prefers a cooler environment.
Senecio kleinia prefers slightly drier conditions during the cool of Winter; provide enough water to prevent the leaves from shrivelling. At other times, water thoroughly, then allow thesurface to dry out before giving the next thorough watering.
This attractive, fleshy-leaved plant has no need of any additional humidity, and it actually prefers to be kept in a dry atmosphere.
Regular repotting of this plant in fresh compost will ensure that it is provided with an adequate supply of plant food.
Repot Senecio kleinia at any time during the growing period, using a free-draining compost mixture, or a proprietarycompost as an alternative.
Use this unusual plant in r a modern home where strategically-placed lighting can make the most of the linear leaf patterns and the rather angular stems. The foliage of Senecio kleinia is of greyish green, and is a good soft muted tone not often seen in the more usual foliage houseplants.
Pests: S. kleinia is prone to attack by Mealy Bug and Root Mealy Bug: remove the former with methylated spirit and a cotton bud. The latter can be cleared from plants in moist compost by using a systemic insecticide as a compost drench.
Rot: Very wet and cold conditions in Winter may result in root rots.