Care Guide for the Senecio Barbertonicus.
While every plant seems to die off or become dormant by winter, the Senecio barbertonicus blooms in all its glory. So when it comes to growing succulents in your garden, make no mistake to overlook the Senecio barbertonicus.
Senecio barbertonicus are quite hardy plants that can often be referred to as Barberton Senecio, Barberton Groundsel, Succulent Bush Senecio, or Lemon Bean Bush.
These succulents are native to South Africa, particularly in the Barberton region, hence its name. Senecio barbertonicus is, perhaps, the largest of all the finger-leaved senecios in the Sunflower family Asteraceae.
The name “Senecio” is its scientific name, and it simply means “old man.” Probably because of the production of thistle-like flowerheads or the grey hairs on its seeds.
For the most part, the Senecio barbertonicus is one interesting evergreen succulent shrub that is a must-have in your garden. Its leaf shape is its most striking and unique feature.
The Senecio barbertonicus is widely distinguished from other Senecio species with their two-inches long bright green succulent leaves. These leaves crowd the stem tips and tend to grow in an upward direction, parallel to the branches. The stems of these plants tend to be somewhat brittle, but they’re quite thick compared to your palms.
In addition, the Senecio barbertonicus are winter-blooming plants. They will flower during winter, and in some cases, during fall. They radiate delicate, brightly colored orange-yellow flowers<span data-preserver-spaces=”true”> with a sweet-scented fragrance capable of filling up your entire garden area.
On multiple occasions, you’d most likely see butterflies visiting and hovering around this plant, feeding off its nectar juice. Most notably, the Painted Lady Butterfly. This is no surprise as the nectar appears to be the painted lady butterfly’s favorite meal.
The Lemon Bean Bush can be easily grown as a free-standing shrub <span data-preserver-spaces=”true”>outdoors. However, they make good creeping plants as well. When placed amid tall trees in your garden, they can scramble their way up the trees. Likewise, these garden plants will grow just as perfectly when placed indoors.
If you want to capture the glorious view of this plant, check it out in the morning. You cannot help but notice how beautifully they glow in the morning sunlight. You’d most certainly love waking up to the view of these plants.
Read on to learn more about the beautiful Senecio barbertonicus, from what you should avoid while growing them to the best practices for vigorous and healthy growth.
How to Propagate Senecio barbertonicus.
Fortunately, much expertise isn’t required to propagate these Senecio barbertonicus plants. The best time to propagate is during the summer and spring, when they are actively growing. The Senecio barbertonicus can easily be grown from cuttings; even small cuttings would still do the trick.
To begin the propagation process of the Senecio barbertonicus, easily cut the stem off the parent plant. Allow to callous for 2 to 3 days. Afterward, you bury the cut ends about 2” deep into a well-drained potting mix.
Finally, lightly compress the soil to make the cuttings stand firm and erect. Then place your pot in a spot where your young succulents can get a sufficient amount of bright light. Ideally, the cuttings need light to root perfectly in about 4 to 6 weeks.
Although, it’s worth noting that the cuttings must be healthy and free from visible signs of pest or disease attack. You sure want to avoid transmitting diseases to an entirely new plant.
How to Grow the Lemon Bean Bush.
Many gardeners make minor yet tragic mistakes that could cost the life of their succulent Bush Senecio plant and make them not grow properly. As a result, they have to repot all over from the start. It’s typically a make-or-break situation, so you want to get it right. To be a proactive gardener –which I’m sure you are – here are the requirements you must follow for the successful growth of your succulent bush Senecio.
Pruning and Maintenance.
The Lemon Bean Bush can grow as high as 3 to 6ft tall, given its required nutrients are met. However, growing this high increases their chances of toppling over at the slightest wind. To avoid encountering these challenges, you should prune these succulents at this point.
Pruning can be done at any time of the year during their active growing season. Start by slightly cutting off the top part of the plant with garden shears. Fret not to cut them off; these succulents would surely sprout back up.
Although, you also want to be careful not to cut the entire plant in half either.
Pruning your Lemon Bean Bush regularly will enable them to grow less floppy and stronger stems.
Plus, those pruned stems could come quite in handy. So don’t be too quick to chuck them away. You can also multiply your Senecio barbertonicus succulent plants from these cuttings.
As with every other succulent, the Senecio barbertonicus requires sufficient exposure to sunlight too. However, this plant would love and flourish so well under full sun to a light shade.
The interesting part about the Senecio succulent plant is that they also grow pretty well under tall trees. Aside from the support the tall trees provide for these plants, they give a filtered sun environment perfect for their growth. If by chance they happen to be completely deprived of sunlight, you’d end up with a dying plant.
When growing the Senecio barbertonicus indoors, keep them at a spot in your home with sufficient and direct access to at least 6 hours of filtered sun every day.
There are various ways to go about their soil mix that are equally as effective. First, you can formulate it on your own. Also, you can use a well-drained commercially available succulent or cactus soil mix as a great alternative.
Although before formulating your potting mix, keep in mind that the potting mix mustn’t hold too much water and, at the same time, doesn’t dry up quickly. If it holds water, your plants could eventually die from root rot. And on the other hand, if it dries up quickly, you deprive your plant of adequate water.
To avoid this mishap and support your plant’s growth, you can mix one part coconut coir, one part decomposed or crushed granite and rich organic compost into your two-part garden potting soil.
The coconut coir improves water retaining capacity. And the decomposed or crushed granite will provide the necessary drainage while still stuffing them up with the required nutrients for optimal growth.
Moreover, you can substitute the decomposed or crushed granite with pumice and sand. In addition, keep in mind that the ideal pH for the Senecio barbertonicus plants should lie within the acidic to neutral range.
As with most plants, the Senecio barbertonicus also requires water to survive. However, watering should only be done from spring to early fall<span data-preserver-spaces=”true”> when the top appears and feels dry to the touch. Otherwise, the plant could die from root rot.
As succulents, they are mostly drought-tolerant. This is because they have plump leaves that store enough water in them. Therefore, overwatering won’t be the best of ideas. Likewise underwatering. Ideally, these hardy plants should be watered graciously once or twice a week. And only when the water dries out.
You could go even further by potting them in terracotta pots with good drainage holes at the bottom. As a result, the soil doesn’t become too soggy for the plants, and the water can easily drain out.
Temperature and Humidity.
Temperature also plays a huge role when growing a healthy string of the Lemon Bean Bush. Usually, the Lemon Bean Bush will grow best in regions that mimic the temperature and humidity of their native regions. In this case, hot and dry climates are best suited for them. Anything above or below that for a prolonged period, and you risk killing the plant.
These plants have, moreover, proven to be hardy at 25 to 30°F. So these Lemon bean bush plants would do just great when planted in zones 9b to 11b. Although, as mentioned earlier, always keep your Lemon Bean Bush in a position where they can receive an excellent amount of bright morning sun to part shade in the afternoon.
While it might seem like a winning idea to load your plants up with so much fertilizer, it’s a great food to boost your plant’s growth the right way; you may want to cut back on the frequency at which you apply these fertilizers.
When trying to grow this plant successfully, you must feed them with an appropriate amount of fertilizer. But only apply these fertilizers sparingly. Else you put the growth of this plant at risk.
Ideally, a tablespoonful is enough. Or, you can dilute your liquid fertilizer to half-strength with water before applying. Then, use once a year and ensure not to apply during winter. Generally, these winter-blooming plants will do just fine without fertilizers.
Other Interesting Cultivars.
Aside from the Senecio barbertonicus, the best senecios to also keep an eye out for includes the Senecio radicans, Senecio articulatus, Senecio serpens, Senecio mandraliscae, and Senecio pleistocephalus. Each cultivar has its distinct stunning foliage colors, shapes, and flowers.
Common Pests and Plants Diseases Associated with the Senecio barbertonicus.
Of course, the Senecio barbertonicus are not exempted from pest attacks. Even as hardy plants, it’s easy and common to see a few pests feeding off these glorious plants. Most of the problems include mealy bugs, scales, and aphids.
When it comes to diseases, Root rot is the prevalent disease of the Senecio barbertonicus. And root rot mostly occurs during the rainy seasons when kept outdoors. Or when overwatered rather too frequently when kept indoors.
How to Manage Pests and Diseases.
If you turn a blind eye to these pests, they can create a nuisance to your plant. In a worst-case scenario, your plant could become inactive or die. So it will be best not to ignore these pests and get rid of them quickly.
Therefore, run a routine check on your plant frequently to inspect for pests. Most of the pests are smart enough to hide under the leaves or crowns and suck out the sap of your plants. So, ensure not to miss out on those spots. Spraying the pests with a bit of neem oil formulated with two tablespoons of neem oil and one tablespoon of liquid castile soap should do the trick.
You can as well use cinnamon powder as another alternative. Either way, you rid your plants free of these unwanted pests, and they grow freely. Also, it’s worth noting how overwhelming your plants with excess water can make them more prone to root rot. Cut down on the amount of water you give to your plant. And at the same time, do not underwater.
Tip: Water the soil until you see the water running out from the pot’s drainage holes. Then water next when it goes completely dry.
Common Problems with Senecio barbertonicus.
When deprived of water, the Senecio barbertonicus leaves appear wrinkled, less plumpy, and curve downwards. This clearly shows that you are not providing your plant with enough water.
To bring your plant back to its usual condition, ensure to water following the approach explained above. And also, check that your plants are not deprived of sunlight.
Uses of The Succulent Bush Senecio.
The Succulent Bush Senecio flowers once a year; giving rise to a unique form, color, and texture that supplements your garden view. The evergreen succulent can be well grown for its ornamental value in the home. In addition, they attract the painted lady butterfly, which helps pollinate.
Being low-maintenance plants<span data-preserver-spaces=”true”>, growing the Senecio barbertonicus plant is super easy. Even as a beginner gardener, you’d be able to navigate your way into growing this plant successfully. So long as you follow these requirements, you can rest assured that you’d see their foliage flourish in no time with showy sweet-scented blooms.
Now you know the dos and don’ts behind growing the Succulent Bush Senecio plant. You can now get out there to plant yours today. Diversify your collections while upping your outdoor landscape game with these Senecio species and you’d be glad you did. Plus, it’s worth noting how well these plants play out on rocky terrains.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
How do You Care For Senecio barbertonicus?
The Senecio barbertonicus (aka Lemon Bean Bush) can be cared for by keeping them in bright sun to light shade in well-drained rich soil. It’s best to water only when the topsoil appears completely dry, as they don’t do too well in soggy soil.
Is Senecio barbertonicus Toxic?
The Senecio barbertonicus is one of those toxic plants you should never have around your pets. Ideally, the stems and leaves should be kept well away from the reach of animals. Otherwise, if ingested by chance, its toxic components would threaten the lives of cats, dogs, etc. Typically, livestock also detests the taste of these plants.
How Do You Trim Senecio barbertonicus?
The Senecio barbertonicus should be pruned when it grows out of proportion. This will maintain a tidy appearance and prevent it from toppling over when grown in pots and placed indoors. Also, don’t be afraid to cut off the top stem of the parent plant, as this will encourage fresh new growth.
How Big Does A Lemon Bean Bush Get?
Provided its required favorable conditions are met, the Lemon Bean Bush is quite a hardy plant that can grow as big as 6ft. They produce long and slender cylindrical green leaves up to 2 inches that curve slightly and point upwards facing the branch.