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Senecio mandraliscae

 
Senecio mandraliscae
blue chalk sticks
First year

Synonym(s) Kleinia mandraliscae
Common name blue chalk sticks
Family asteraceae
Life cycle tender perennial (Z9-11)
Flowers white (spring)
Size 12"
Light sun
Cultural notes heat and drought tolerant

An unusual representative of the daisy family, this succulent from South Africa is grown for its striking blue foliage of upright curvy fingers. It can fill a three-foot area as a groundcover, and is often used in containers or along walkways. Judicious pruning can keep the plant looking its best. We started with a tiny plantlet, full of potential, and were happy to see it steadily expand over the course of the next few years. It came through the freeze of January 2018 (24 hours of temperatures in the teens, with a helping of freezing rain for good measure) without any damage, so the zone 9 hardiness rating seemed conservative. The even more severe freeze of February 2021 (4 days dipping into the low to mid teens) was a bigger challenge: most of our plant was killed outright, but a healthy deposit of protective mulch resulted in one small piece coming back a few weeks later.
This species is definitely not grown for its flowers, which are unimpressive bordering on ugly (see photo below).

Senecio mandraliscae
Second year, early spring
blue chalk sticks
Second year, autumn
Senecio mandraliscae
Partial return after the '21 megafreeze
blue chalk sticks
The flowers are nothing to write home about

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: back fence border

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Last modified: April 17, 2021
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