Senecio rowleyanus f. variegated
No synonyms are recorded for this species name.
Senecio rowleyanus f. variegated is a nursery cultivar, and thus it’s not present in nature. The regular species instead, Senecio rowleyanus, is native to South Africa. It usually grows at ground level, hidden by bigger bushes.
Senecio rowleyanus commonly known as “String of Beads” is very popular among succulent lovers, for the striking aspect of its leaves, which look precisely like a neclace made of green pearls! It has in fact wiry stems with perfectly sphaerical green leaves, present all along its length. The variegated form is more rare and thus much more sought after: it’s particularly appreciated for the yellowish or purplish tinges of its leaves. Both in the regular and in he variegated form, leaves are 6 to 9 millimeters in diameter, slightly elongated but almost perfectly sphaerical, and mucronated (mucronated, in botanical language, means “pointed in a sharp apex”). The sphaerical form is probably an evolutionary device to store as more water as possible, minimizing, at the same time, the leaf surface in contact with the air, which is the main medium of water loss. In the variegated forms, usually pale yellow is the more common colour that replaces green. The phenomenon of colour variation is due to chlorophyll loss, and it may affect either entire leaves, definite portion of leaves, streakes on the green colour, or it might appear as a hinted shade of yellow upon green leaves. The inflorescence is a cluster of daisy-like flowers, not so special as the leaves but also colourful: they are white, funnel-shaped, 5-petaled, with prominent, purple stigmas and a yellow flashy part at their top which are actually the stamens. To be clear, stigmas are the feminine part of the flowers, while stamens are the male part. These kind of dandelion-like flowers is actually an inflorescence called “capitulum”. The blooming season occurs in a period between Spring and Autumn.
Senecio rowleyanus f. variegated is not difficult to grow. Here below are some tips:
Put it under direct sunlight if grown indoors and in partial shade if grown outdoors.
Senecio rowleyanus f. variegated is quite cold resistant, as it can handle short frosts, with temperatures close to 0ºC, if its substrate id maintained dry. To stay safe, we suggest to keep it at temperatures above 10ºC.
Water regularly in Spring and Summer, always waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. In Autumn, dradually decrease the irrigation frequency until stopping completely to water in Winter.
Choose a well-draining substrate with an abundant mineral part that could be made of clay or pumice, for example.
Fertilization is not indispensable. It’s sufficient to dilute a fertilizer for succulent with water once a year, during the growth season.
We advice to repot every year or anytime you see that the plant is outgrowing its pot. Senecio rowleyanus f. variegated, in fact, is a fast-growing succulent and can fill a 30 centimeters pot in a year or two. However, be careful: the “strings of pearls are very fragile and the ball-shaped leaves tend to fall apart easily.
The easiest method to propagate your Senecio rowleyanus f. variegated is undoubtely the cutting. Detach a “sausage-segment” in late spring-summer, let it dry for one-two weeks and then replant it in a well-drained substrate.
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