How to Grow and Care for Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) Indoors

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Blue Chalksticks Plant, Curio repens

Botanical name: Curio repens
Synonmy: Senecio serpens, Senecio repens
Family: Asteraceae
Common names: Blue Chalksticks Plant, Dead Man's Fingers

Blue Chalksticks Plant Description

Curio repens commonly called Blue Chalksticks Plant or Dead Man's Fingers is a low-growing plant which bears fleshy, cylindrical, powdery, blue-green leaves on a prostrate stem.

The genus name, 'repens' means creeping which is in reference to the creeping growth habit of the plant. The stem starts off erect then lies prostrate and roots at the nodes as it grows.

The odd shaped leaves in Blue Chalksticks Plant is an adaptation to arid conditions and allows for the storage of water while exposing minimum surface area to the dry air.

This greatly reduces water loss as the fleshy leaves and stems store water, which allows the Blue Chalksticks Plant to go for a considerably long period without being watered.

Blue Chalksticks Plant Size

Blue Chalksticks Plant grows to a height of 1 ft by 2-3 ft wide. The finger-like leaves are about 1-2 in. long.

Blue Chalksticks Plant Origin

Curio repens (Blue Chalksticks Plant) also called Senecio serpens is a perennial, succulent plant native to the Western Cape Province of South Africa where it is found growing from crevices in the rocky sandstone slopes.

Blue Chalksticks Plant, Curio repens

Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) Care Indoors

Light Requirements

Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) grows best in bright light with some morning or late afternoon sunlight of at least 4-6 hours. Keep it away from direct hotshine to avoid scorching the leaves.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Blue Chalksticks Plant

Water Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) moderately during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering during the cold period to maintain the soil barely moist. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole inorder to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.


Temperature

Average warmth between 20-270C during the growing season is ideal for Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens).

A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for Blue Chalksticks Plant. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant.

Ensure that there is good air circulation for your Blue Chalksticks Plant to prevent fungal diseases infestations.

Feeding (Fertilizer)

Feed Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) monthly during the growing season with a Cactus and Succulents Fertilizer. This plant is not a heavy feeder so be careful when feeding.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) has a small root system so frequent repotting is not necessary. Repot the plant 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 and one that 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 stems to prevent rotting.

Soil for Blue Chalksticks Plant

The best soil for Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) 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 for Blue Chalksticks Plant. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil for your Blue Chalksticks Plant from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) involves removal of any dead flowers, leaves and stems to keep the plant neat and tidy.

Propagation

Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from leaf and stem cuttings or by plant division.

1. How to propagate Blue Chalksticks Plant from leaf cuttings

Take leaf cuttings from a healthy Blue Chalksticks Plant 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. the leaf cuttings in moist, Cactus and Succulents Soil and lightly firm the soil around the cutting.

Place 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 new leaves.

Transfer the rooted cuttings to individual pots and water the soil thoroughly until water comes out through the drainage holes.

Place the pots in warm place where it can receive bright light but away from direct sunlight. For a fuller plant, plant several plantlets in one pot.

Maintain the soil moist until the new Blue Chalksticks Plants are well established after which you can begin routine care.

2. How to propagate Blue Chalksticks Plant from stem cuttings

Take 3-5 in. of Blue Chalksticks Plant stem cuttings 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 Blue Chalksticks Plant stems are rooted.

Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Blue Chalksticks Plant after which you can begin routine care. For a fuller plant, plant several cuttings in one pot.

3. How to propagate Blue Chalksticks Plant by plant division

Water the Blue Chalksticks Plant 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 out the Blue Chalksticks Plant from its pot and carefully divide it into sections by pulling apart the roots. 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 Blue Chalksticks Plant 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 it was in the previous pot.

Water the soil thoroughly and place the set up in a well-lit, warm place until the new plant is well established after which you can begin routine care.

Blue Chalksticks Plant, Curio repens

Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) Problems Indoors

Sudden leaf drop

There are two possible causes on sudden leaf drop in Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens).

One possible cause of sudden leaf drop in Blue Chalksticks Plant is watering with very cold water. Being a tropical plant where temperatures are warm, watering with too cold water will shock the plant.

Water Blue Chalksticks Plant with water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking this tropical plant.

The second possible cause of sudden leaf drop in Blue Chalksticks Plant is underwatering. Water your Blue Chalksticks Plant moderately and allow the soil to dry out but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

Leggy stems (elongated stems)

Leggy stems (elongated stems) in Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) during the cold season is due to too much water (overwatering) or soggy soil.

Water Blue Chalksticks Plant 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 Blue Chalksticks Plant happens during the growing season, then the cause is too little light.

Blue Chalksticks Plant 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 plant to a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright light with some direct sunlight of at least 4-6 hours. Also, turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Brown dry spots

Brown dry spots in Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) are due to underwatering resulting in too little moisture in the soil.

Water the Blue Chalksticks Plant moderately during the hot season while allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Wilted and discolored leaves

Wilted and discolored leaves in Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) are caused by overwatering during the cold period.

Reduce watering for Blue Chalksticks Plant during the cold season and maintain the soil barely moist.

Rotting base and stem collapse

Rotting plant base and stems collapse in Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) is an indication of basal stem rot disease which is brought about by overwet conditions.

Avoid overwatering during the cold season. Use the upper stem to propagate new plants and discard the infected parts.

Brown, soft leaf spots

Brown, soft leaf spots in Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) are an indication of leaf spot disease.

Avoid wetting the leaves and improve air circulation for Blue Chalksticks Plant to prevent disease infestations.

Diseases

The common diseases in Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) are powdery mildew and leaf spot. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the diseases.

Pests

The common pests in Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) 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.

Is Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) toxic?

Blue Chalksticks Plant (Curio repens) 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 Blue Chalksticks Plant sap may cause skin irritation or skin rash in sensitive skin therefore, always wear gloves when handling the plant.

Keep your Blue Chalksticks Plant away from the reach of children and pets to avoid mishaps.

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