Senecio Barbertonicus Care Infographic
Senecio Barbertonicus Care Infographic

The Senecio barbertonicus is a “must-have” in your garden due to its beautiful appearance that is enhanced by its cylindrical leaves and tubular yellow flowers.

This article is a step-by-step guide on how to take proper care of the Senecio barbertonicus plant. It also enlightens you on the problems that you should anticipate as you grow your plant as well as the strategies that you can put in place to remedy the issues if they arise.

Read on and have all your questions answered with regard to the care needs for the Senecio barbertonicus.

What Is Senecio Barbertonicus?

The Senecio barbertonicus is a flowering succulent with light green leaves that are cylindrical and densely arranged along the stems. This plant is a member of the Asteraceae family and is native to Southern Africa.

Other common names for the Senecio barbertonicus include the succulent bush Senecio and lemon bean bush.

Senecio Barbertonicus Care

Once they are established, the Senecio barbertonicus are strong and drought-resistant. However, knowing how to take care of your plant will help you get the best out of your efforts. Learn about the care requirements of the Senecio barbertonicus in the section below.

– Water Requirements

Succulent Bush Senecio Senecio barbertonicusWatering the Senecio barbertonicus is best done using the “soak and dry” method. This strategy involves watering the plant thoroughly until you can see water coming out through the drainage holes of the plant.

You will then have to wait until the soil of your plant is completely dry before you can water again.

The lemon bean bush requires more water in summer as this is the plant’s growing season. Reduce the frequency at which you water the succulent in winter, considering that it will be relatively dormant during this time.

Just like other succulents, the Senecio barbertonicus is quite sensitive to waterlogged soil conditions. Therefore, you should be careful of the amount of water that you add to the plant’s soil as much as you keep an eye on the watering frequency as well.

Always check the moisture levels of your soil before you water. You can use your finger for this, especially if you don’t have a moisture meter. Another tip that is worth mentioning 一 water your Senecio succulent between 8 am and 10 am in the morning.

– Light Requirements

The Senecio barbertonicus thrives well when it is exposed to partial or full sunlight. Ideally, you should put your succulent bush on a spot where it can receive sunlight for about six hours every day.

If you are growing your succulent bush outside, put it in a spot where it can receive a lot of morning sunlight and some shade in the afternoon. In the event that you are growing your succulent as a houseplant, identify a spot where it can receive the brightest light. Such spots are usually close to windows, particularly southern-facing ones.

– Soil Requirements

The soil for your Senecio barbertonicus should be more on the sandy side to make sure that the plant does not sit in water.

A substrate that promotes good drainage will protect your plant from root rot, which develops when the plant is left in too damp environments for extended periods of time, making the roots die.

The Senecio succulent is not so particular when it comes to the pH of the soil. Neutral pH values that are around 6.0 and 7.0 are fine.

For the best potting mix for your plant, buy a commercially available cactus or succulent mix. Add some perlite to this mix to improve the porosity of the soil. You can also use pumice or sand in place of the perlite. If you feel that your plant needs more nutritional support, you can also add compost.

– Fertilizing Requirements

The fact that the soil of your plant should be porous also means that it can lose nutrients with increased ease. Therefore, supplementing the nutritional requirements of your plant is of paramount importance. Add fertilizer to your plant once a year and avoid being too generous. Too much fertilizer will cause your succulent bush to grow leggy.

Make sure that the fertilizer that you add to your plant is diluted to half-strength. Also, ensure that it is balanced and water-soluble.

– Temperature Requirements

In regions where temperatures drop below 30 F, we recommend that you grow your Senecio succulent in a pot. This way you can move your plant indoors or outdoors, depending on where it can get favorable temperature conditions.

However, please note that the Senecio barbertonicus can survive in temperatures that are around 25 F without suffering from any adverse effects.

The lemon bean bush can tolerate high temperatures even up to 110 F. Please be advised that this plant’s tolerance for high temperatures does not mean that it is also happy under bright direct sunlight. As a matter of fact, the Senecio barbertonicus is sensitive to direct exposure to bright light. 

Your succulent bush can survive well under room temperatures if you are growing it inside the house. In winter, when the succulent is dormant, it prefers lower temperatures that range between 50 F and 55 F.

– Humidity Requirements

The Senecio barbertonicus plant is native to the arid regions of South Africa. Therefore, they can only tolerate lower levels of humidity. Exposure to humidity for extended periods of time causes your plant to suffer from leaf rot.

– Pruning

The Senecio succulent bushes can grow very tall such that the top part can become too heavy for the stems. The foliage of the plant might even begin to topple over. If this happens, it’s a clear sign that you need to prune your succulent to a size that is more manageable.

There is no harm in beheading the top part of the plant, leaving the stem only. Doing this gives the stem enough time to recuperate from the stress that it would have experienced.

This process is not some form of a loss because you can prepare cuttings from the beheaded part and use them to grow new plants. Pruning the Senecio barbertonicus is best done during late winter or early spring. 

– Repotting

When the foliage of your plant becomes crowded in the pot, we recommend that you separate the plant and repot them into new pots. Doing this will reduce the competition for nutrients. This means that more nutrients will be available to each separated plant, leading to more vigorous and healthy growth.

Propagation

A time will come when you will need to multiply your plant so that you can enjoy more of it. Buying more plants when you have one already can be a costly option. Instead, learn how you can propagate your Senecio barbertonicus on your own.

– Cuttings

Successful propagation is guaranteed when you multiply your Senecio barbertonicus using cuttings. This is best done during the summer and spring seasons when the plant’s growth is at its peak.

Make sure the stem that you use for propagating purposes is free from pests, diseases or any other form of physical damage that might compromise the health of the plant. To further avoid possible infection of the mother plant and the new plants from the cuttings, disinfect all the equipment that you will use on the propagating procedure. Also, wear your gloves as you handle the plants.

Once you have obtained the cuttings off the mother plant, leave them to callus for about two days or so. Simply place the cuttings on a flat surface where air moves freely to quicken the natural drying process. After the cuttings are dry, dip the callused end into well-draining soil in a pot.

– Seeds

Propagating your Senecio barbertonicus using seeds is feasible as long as you are ready to provide the patience because the process is quite lengthy.

Be sure to maintain warm temperatures and constant moisture conditions if you choose to use this method of propagation. Failure to provide these conditions will increase the chances that the seeds will not germinate.

Problems

As we mentioned earlier, the Senecio barbertonicus is a strong plant but it is not completely resistant to some pests and diseases, among other problems. You are more likely to conquer the problems if you are knowledgeable of the problems to expect and the possible troubleshooting methods.

– Toxicity

Most known varieties of Senecio are toxic to animals. For this reason, care should be taken as you care for your plant. Put your succulent bush on a spot where it is unreachable to your pets and minors in your home.

If you place the plant where kids and pets can access it, be sure to monitor all activities around the plant.

– Scale

Scale insects are tiny, flat and oval; they appear harmless because they look like a mere scale, not a living thing. However, under that “scale” is a living organism that is drawing the sap of your plant.

The effects of the scale might not be so visible when the infestations are still low but a larger presence of these pests can affect the vitality of your plant.

Destroying the scale is usually difficult as the pest strongly protects itself during most parts of its life cycle. For example, the eggs are protected under the outer coating (scale) of the mother insect.

The scale is better controlled if you are able to attack the “crawler stage” of its life cycle. At this point, the nymphs that appear from the hatched eggs crawl from one point to another in search of new spots to attach and ultimately feed on.

– What To Do

Some of the most common strategies for eliminating scale insects are applying 70 percent alcohol, insecticidal soap, and Neem oil. You can also consider spraying horticultural oil, which is usually a petroleum-based mineral oil.

Beneficial insects such as the lady beetle, soldier beetles and parasitic wasps can also feed on the scale insects. Pruning off the affected parts of your plant can also help, especially when the pests have not fully spread throughout the Senecio barbertonicus plant.

– Mealybugs

Mealybugs are soft-bodied and are also classified among sucking pests. Their survival is based on drinking the sap of your Senecio barbertonicus beauty using their piercing mouthparts known as stylets.

On your plant, mealybugs appear like a cottony substance. Leaf curling and yellowing are evident when large numbers of mealybugs infect your plant.

When mealybugs feed on your plant, the insect is usually accompanied by honeydew, a sticky substance that promotes the development of sooty molds.

– What To Do

Controlling lighter infestations of mealybugs can be done by dabbing a Q-tip that has been dipped in 80 percent isopropyl alcohol or by pruning the affected parts. Other interventions include using beneficial insects like ladybugs or even insecticidal soap.

Neem oil is another effective alternative for destroying mealybugs from your Senecio barbertonicus. Most gardeners prefer it because it is more natural and safer compared to other commercially available insecticides. Neem oil works by closing the breathing pores on the mealybugs, thereby killing them.

Conclusion

Single Senecio Barbertonicus SucculentWe hope you enjoyed the theoretical exploration of the care needs of the Senecio barbertonicus. Before you go and get busy applying what you learned, let’s have a recap of some of the main points once again:

  • The Senecio barbertonicus will survive well if you expose it to bright, indirect sunlight. Your watering schedule will greatly depend on seasons and climatic conditions. Always keep in mind that the Senecio barbertonicus hates excessive moisture.
  • Porous soils are best as they promote aeration and good drainage. Apply a fertilizer that is diluted to half-strength about once a year and refrain from being too generous.
  • Temperatures below 25 F and those above 110 F are not conducive to your plant’s growth, and the Senecio barbertonicus is not happy in high humidity conditions.
  • You can prune your plant in late winter and early spring to maintain a manageable size and vigorous growth, and you can propagate the Senecio barbertonicus using seeds or cuttings.
  • Mealybugs and scale are the major concerns that you need to be on the lookout for.

If you follow the tips and tricks that have been outlined in this article to the tee, you will soon be a practical Senecio barbertonicus caregiving expert. Enjoy your plant!

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