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Photo Credit: Green Meadow Growers
Botanical name: Senecio barbertonicus
Synonmy: Kleinia barbertonica
Common names: Barberton Groundsel, Succulent Bush Senecio, Barberton Senecio
Senecio barbertonicus commonly called Barberton Groundsel, Succulent Bush Senecio or Barberton Senecio is perennial, succulent plant densely packed with lime-green, finger-like fleshy leaves on fleshy stems.
The leaves are about 2-4 in. long and lie parallel to the fleshy stem and point upwards. The inflorescence is a cluster of tufted terminal flowerheads of golden-yellow, tubular-shaped and sweetly scented flowers.
Barberton Groundsel can grow to a height of 6 ft by 6 ft wide but when grown indoors, the size can be limited by regular pruning.
Senecio barbertonicus also called Kleinia barbertonica is a perennial, succulent plant native to Southern Africa in Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and eastern part of South Africa where it grows in the substropical woodlands and rocky grasslands.
Barberton Senecio is a drought-tolerant succulent plant named after one of its native localities, Barberton, a town in Mpumalanga Province of South Africa.
Photo Credit: World of Succulents
Barberton Groundsel (Senecio barbertonicus) thrives in bright light with some direct sunshine, average warmth and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soils coupled with regular feeding during the growing season.
Senecio barbertonicus requires pruning to keep the plant neat, to discourage pest and disease infestation and encourage a bushy, compact growth. Repotting is only needed when the plant becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Barberton Groundsel grows best in bright light with some morning or late afternoon sunlight of at least 4-6 hours. Keep it away from direct hot sunshine to avoid scorching the leaves.
Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the Succulent Bush Senecio receives light on all sides for uniform growth.
Barberton Senecio can also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not adequate.
Water Barberton Groundsel moderately during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Decrease watering during the cold period to maintain the soil barely moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Succulent Bush Senecio is a tropical plant, therefore water it with water that is at room temperature to avoid plant shock as it cause reduced growth and leaf drop.
Avoid wetting the foliage of your Barberton Senecio and also ensure that there is good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases infestations.
Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole inorder to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
Average warmth between 20-260C during the growing season is ideal for Barberton Groundsel.
Keep Succulent Bush Senecio from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop due to sudden changes in the temperatures.
Barberton Groundsel has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant. Ensure that there is good air circulation to discourage fungal disease infestations.
Feed Barberton Groundsel during the growing season with a Cactus and Succulents Fertilizer as per the manufacturer's instructions. This plant is not a heavy feeder so be careful when feeding.
Do not feed the Succulent Bush Senecio during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.
Barberton Groundsel has a small root system so frequent repotting is not necessary. Repot it at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes crowded in its current pot.
Use a pot that is only 1 size larger than the current one. Make sure that the pot has has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Use a shallow pot as the root system is tiny and be careful not to bury the leaves to prevent rotting.
The best soil for Barberton Groundsel should be rich in organic matter, loose and free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough.
Cactus and Succulents soil is ideal as it drains easily. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil for Succulent Bush Senecio from Etsy.
Pruning Barberton Groundsel involves removal of any dead flowers, leaves and stems to keep the plant neat and also discourage pest and disease infestations.
Cutback overgrown and leggy stems at the beginning of the growing season to control growth and maintain the Succulent Bush Senecio bushy and compact.
Barberton Groundsel (Senecio barbertonicus) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem and leaf cuttings or by plant division
Take leaf cuttings from a healthy Barberton Groundsel and ensure each leaf cutting is whole.
Allow some time for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of the leaf cuttings to prevent rotting.
Insert 1.5 in. of the leaf cuttings in moist, Cactus and Succulents Soil and lightly firm the soil around the cutting.
Position the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until plantlets form at the base of the cuttings.
Allow enough time for substantial growth of the roots and the new leaves.
Transfer the rooted cuttings to individual pots and water the soil thoroughly until water comes out through the drainage holes.
For a fuller plant, transfer several plantlets into one pot.
Place the pots in warm place where it can receive bright light but away from direct sunlight.
Maintain the soil moist until the new Barberton Groundsel are well established after which you can begin routine care.
Take 3-5 in. of stem cuttings from a healthy Barberton Groundsel and allow the cuttings to dry (callus) for about 2-3 days.
Insert 2-3 in. of the stem cuttings in moist, Cactus and Succulents Soil and lightly press the soil around the cuttings.
Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the stems are rooted.
Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Barberton Groundsel after which you can begin routine care.
Water the Barberton Groundsel thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.
Take the Succulent Bush Senecio out of its pot and carefully divide it into sections by pulling apart the roots or cutting through with a sharp knife.
Ensure each section has adequate roots to hasten establishment.
Select a 6 or 8 in. pot and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Fill the pot with Cactus and Succulents Soil and make a hole in the center of the pot. Ensure that the hole is slightly wider than the root base of the section.
Place the section in the previously made hole and lightly firm the soil around the base while taking care not to bury it too deep; maintain the section at the same soil level as it was in the previous pot.
Water the soil thoroughly and place the set up in a well-lit, warm place until the new Barberton Senecio is well established after which you can begin routine care.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Barberton Groundsel (Senecio barbertonicus) problems indoors include drooping leaves, dropping leaves, leggy growth, plant death, leaf spots, pests and diseases among others. Read on for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Leggy stems (elongated stems) in Barberton Groundsel during the cold season is due to too much water (overwatering) or soggy soil.
Water less during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
If leggy growth (elongated stems) in Barberton Groundsel happens during the growing season, then the cause is too little light.
Succulent Bush Senecio grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight of at least 4-6 hours.
Too little light will cause the plant to grow weak, elongated stems in an attempt to reach the light source.
Move the Senecio to a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright light with some direct sunlight of at least 4-6 hoursor instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.
Also, turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.
Drooping leaves in Barberton Groundsel are due to underwatering resulting in too little moisture in the soil.
Water the Barberton Senecio thoroughly and it should perk up. Thereafter, water moderately during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Cut down on watering during the cold period but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
There are two possible causes of dropping leaves in Barberton Groundsel. One possible cause of leaf drop is watering with very cold water.
Being a tropical plant where temperatures are warm, watering with too cold water will shock the plant.
Therefore, water Barberton Senecio with water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking this tropical plant.
The second possible cause of leaf drop in Succulent Bush Senecio is underwatering.
Water the plant moderately and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.
A dying Barberton Groundsel is an indication of root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil due to poor soil drainage.
Take the plant out of its pot and inspect the roots. Brown-black mushy roots indicate root-rot. Cut the rooten roots and treat the healthy roots with a fungicidal solution.
Repot the Succulent Bush Senecio in fresh soil and a fresh pot. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy.
Place the plant in bright light and withhold watering for a few days to give the plant enough time to loss the excess water.
After the dry period, resume routine care. Read more on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.
Wilted and discolored leaves in Barberton Groundsel are caused by overwatering during the cold season. Significantly, reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist.
Brown, soft leaf spots in Barberton Groundsel are an indication of leaf spot disease. Avoid wetting the leaves and improve air circulation to discourage disease infestations. Read more on how to treat leaf spot disease in houseplants.
The common pests in Barberton Groundsel are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Barberton Groundsel (Senecio barbertonicus) like other Senecio species is toxic to humans and pets as outlined by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Senecio plants contain Pyrrolizidine alkaloids which if is ingested, can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.
Contact with the sap may cause skin irritation or skin rash in sensitive skin therefore, always wear gloves when handling the plant.
Keep the Barberton Senecio away from the reach of children and pets to avoid mishaps.