Senecio Barbertonicus Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Succulent Bush Senecio”

Complete Guide to Senecio Barbertonicus - Everything you will ever need to know! Tips for growing and caring for “Succulent Bush Senecio”
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Senecio Barbertonicus is a species of flowering succulents that belongs to the Asteraceae family. This plant is native to Southern Africa and it was named after Barberton, a South African town situated near the Songimvelo Game Reserve and surrounded by the Barberton Mountains Range.

Senecio Barbertonicus is commonly known as Succulent Bush Senecio, Finger-leaved Senecio, Lemon Bean Bush, and Barberton Groundsel.

This plant can be found growing in desert areas and at the base of rocks. It is cultivated worldwide for its drought resistance and for its beautiful clusters of sweetly fragrant flowers that bloom in winter. The flowers of the Senecio bush are very attractive to butterflies (the Painted Lady butterfly in particular) and other pollinators.

Senecio Barbertonicus is one of the most low-maintenance houseplants, so it’s a perfect companion for novice gardeners who are just starting their succulent journey. When planted in full sun, in your exterior succulent garden, this perennial succulent bush can become a green ornamental canopy.

Read on to learn more about growing, watering, and propagating Senecio Barbertonicus succulents.

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About Succulent Bush Senecio

  • Senecio Barbertonicus succulents belong to the family Asteraceae.
  • This succulent is also referred to as the daisy or sunflower Senecio (Curio) and its genus contains about 1600 species of shrubs, small trees, climbers, or aquatics.
  • Senecio is one of the largest genres of flowering plants, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are plenty of mesmerizing Senecio plants
  • Their scientific genus name Senecio comes from the Latin word “senex” which means “old man” and is probably referring to their lazy hanging stems or to the hairs that cover the seeds.
  • Succulent Bush Senecio is an ideal succulent for adding diversity to your garden or your indoor succulent collection.
  • This Succulent Bush can grow pretty tall. As a result, it can also become heavy and fall over. If it begins to collapse, prune the top until the stems are more stable.
  • Like all desert species, Senecio Barbertonicus plants prefer warm environments and plenty of bright sunlight. They are not frost-hardy but can handle hot temperatures well.
  • The ideal growing medium for Senecio succulents is a well-draining potting soil. When you plant or repot Senecio succulents, make sure the containers have drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Succulent Bush Senecio plants require repotting once every 2-3 years and occasional feedings. Use fertilizers that are low in nitrogen, but rich in potassium and phosphorous.
  • Senecio succulents can store large amounts of water, so they are very drought-tolerant. They need to be watered only when the soil has dried out completely.
  • They can be toxic for humans and animals if ingested, so it is recommended to grow them in a place where curious cats and dogs cannot reach their succulent leaves or stems.
Senecio Barbertonicus
Senecio Barbertonicus

Succulent Bush Senecio Features: An Overview

  • Senecio Barbertonicus is an evergreen, richly-branched bush that can grow up to about 2 m (6,5 feet) high.
  • It has a fleshy main stem that branches near the base and then re-branches higher up.
  • When this succulent is planted in a proper environment, it can grow into a small tree that reaches over 3 m (10 feet) in height and width.
  • The stems are short, fleshy, cylindrical light greyish-brown, or light green. The mature stems are smooth and hard.
  • Succulent Bush Senecio has finger-like leaves pointing upwards along the branches. This is a distinctive and attractive feature that gives it the name Finger-leaved Senecio.
  • The leaves of Senecio bush are succulent, densely packed around the stem, light bright green to olive-green, cylindrical, 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) in length, and 5-10 mm (0,2-0,4 inches) in diameter.
  • In winter, when most plants either go dormant or die, Succulent Bush Senecio produces clusters of tufted, daisy-like flowers with a sweet fragrance and a beautiful golden-yellow color.
  • The flowers are discoid, 10 mm (0,4 inches) wide, and 75 mm (3 inches) long. They grow on short scaly peduncles from the branch tips. They produce seeds covered in a thick tuft of grey hairs.
  • The fruits are 3,5 mm long achenes. They have a cylindric shape and a ribbed texture.
  • The Barberton Senecio will thrive in a rock garden, along with other succulent plants with similar growth requirements.
  • Senecio Barbertonicus can be paired with other plants that have finger-shaped leaves and stems, such as the Rubber Euphorbia or Euphorbia Tirucalli. It is also compatible with most types of succulent plants, such as Plakkies (Crassula family), Vygies (Mesembryanthemum family), Euphorbias, Aloes, and Carrion flowers.

Growing Succulent Bush Senecio

Succulents are the best! They are attractive, they have interesting foliage patterns, beautiful flowers, and the best thing about them is that they are very easy to grow and care for. And Senecio Barbertonicus is no different! As long as you simulate the conditions from its natural habitat, this beautiful succulent will grow healthy and happy.

When it comes to growing Succulent Bush Senecio, the first thing that you need to do is to place your Succulent Bush Senecio in a location that suits it well. If you live in a region where temperatures drop below -1.1 °C (30 °F) for longer periods, it is recommended to grow this plant in a container that can be moved indoors when necessary.

Light-wise, Senecio Barbertonicus plants thrive when they are exposed to plenty of bright and indirect sunlight. When growing these succulents outdoors, plant them in a location where they can receive lots of morning sun and some afternoon shade. Indoors, keep your succulents in the brightest area of your home, where they get at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight every day.

Senecio barbertonicus Plant, From Amazon

In terms of temperatures, Senecio Barbertonicus succulents can thrive at temperatures as low as 10 °C (50 °F). The lowest temperatures that Senecio barbertonicus can withstand are around −4 °C (25 °F). Like most desert plants, they can handle extremely hot temperatures even as high as 43 °C (110 °F), but they can be sensitive to direct sunlight.

When grown indoors, Senecio succulents are happy at typical room temperatures. During their dormancy period, however, they prefer lower temperatures that range from 10 to13 °C (50-55 °F).

For optimal growth, it’s best to plant Succulent Bush Senecio in soil that has good drainage. Look for a succulents and cacti potting mix and add a layer of perlite for extra drainage. You can also add some compost to the substrate if the soil is weak in nutrients.

Your plant may grow faster if you feed it with fertilizer, but it is not generally needed. Give your Senecio succulent a diluted and balanced water-soluble fertilizer during its active growing season, from spring to summer.

Due to its fast-growing nature, Senecio barbertonicus might need to be pruned. It is best to cut the overgrown stems in late winter or early spring.

Senecio Barbertonicus is usually a pest-free plant, but occasionally, it may be attacked by mealybugs or scale insects. If your succulent has mealybugs or other insects, you should remove them with a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol. If this method is not effective, apply suitable insecticides and pesticides or neem oil.

Watering Succulent Bush Senecio

Most succulents are quite tolerant when it comes to watering and Senecio Barbertonicus is no different! This plant has a lot of succulent stems and leaves that make it quite resilient to drought for extended periods. So, your succulent will forgive you if you forget to water it occasionally.

Succulent Bush Senecio is susceptible to root rot, so the worst thing you could do is to water your plant too much. But if you pay attention to your Senecio Barbertonicus’ needs, overwatering can easily be avoided.

The best way to water Succulent Bush Senecio is by using the “soak and dry” method. Check the soil with your finger to avoid over-watering your Senecio succulents. When the soil has dried out completely, your succulents need a deep soaking. Remember that you should remove any excess water from their tray, as Senecio Barbertonicus doesn’t appreciate waterlogging.

An important tip, given by experts, is to water the soil of your Senecio plant in the morning between 8 am and 10 am. Avoid getting the leaves wet while watering.

Propagating Succulent Bush Senecio

Do you want to decorate your home with a huge emerald green bush or maybe you want to surprise your family and friends with a gift? Say no more! Succulent Bush Senecio plants are easy to propagate by stem or leaf cuttings.

Propagation from softwood cutting can be done anytime from late spring to summer.

Look for healthy stems that have many leaves and cut about 2 inches (5 cm) off them. The cuttings must be set aside in a warm and shaded location to allow them to form a callous. Once the cuttings dry out, after about three to seven days, they are ready for planting.

Succulent Bush Senecio
Succulent Bush Senecio

Fill a pot with the same mixture you are already growing the mother plant in, such as cactus and succulent mix. If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes at the bottom, you can make a few yourself. This will be quite easy if the container is made of plastic. Plant the stems in the growing medium and keep the soil slightly damp until new roots start to develop. Once the cuttings have developed a strong root system, you can care for them as for regular Succulent Bush Senecio plants.

To grow a plant from a leaf, snatch a leaf from the main stem and let it dry for one day. Then place it on the surface of well-drained growing soil. Place the pot in partial shade. Within a few days, the leaf will start forming roots.

Wait until the roots develop, new growth emerges, and a rosette forms at the base, and you’re all done. Until you know for sure that the new plant is comfortable in its new environment, water it frequently.

In Conclusion

There is no reason to ignore this superb ornamental houseplant! Senecio Barbertonicus is a drought-tolerant succulent that can grow quickly with very little attention from its owner. Your efforts will be rewarded by this adorable succulent bush once it produces gorgeous and nicely-scented flowers.

Since the plant attracts butterflies, it is an ideal choice for butterfly gardens. Its ability to survive drought also makes it a great option for rock gardens, in borders, boundaries, and wild gardens. Also, thanks to its easy-to-propagate feature, we can say that this plant is somewhat eternal!

Are you growing Senecio succulents? Share your experience with us in the comments!


Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact

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