The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - GARDEN - WORDS: MA­REE CUR­RAN

If you keep for­get­ting to wa­ter your in­door plants, then maybe you need to try grow­ing some of the trail­ing suc­cu­lents in the Senecio fam­ily. Th­ese are ideal for part-shade or in­door sit­u­a­tions and need only oc­ca­sional wa­ter­ing. In win­ter, you will barely need to wa­ter them at all. They all have long, slen­der stems that can grow more than 1m long – per­fect for hang­ing bas­kets or pots on high shelves. Per­haps the most pop­u­lar and well­known is string of pearls (Senecio row­leyanus), which has round leaves that look like green peas (or pearls) along the stems. String of beans (Senecio rad­i­cans) has longer, pointy leaves shaped like beans. There is an­other one I like, but I don’t know what species it is, so let’s just call it by its com­mon name, string of tears. At first glance it looks a lot like a string of beans, with slightly rounder, but still pointy leaves. All have lit­tle white flow­ers in sum­mer, which some peo­ple love, but I think they look un­tidy and usu­ally take them off. How­ever, the blooms do have a lovely nut­meg fra­grance so, if you don’t mind the look, you can en­joy the scent. Th­ese plants are mag­nif­i­cent for time-poor lovers of in­door plants. Apart from their min­i­mal wa­ter needs, they grow slowly, mak­ing them ideal as a pot­ted plant as they rarely out­grow their con­tainer. You can make new plants from well-es­tab­lished ones by tak­ing cut­tings, or just drape the long strings up and over the pot­ting mix so they grow roots and be­come new strands. They grow best in a warm po­si­tion in early morn­ing sun, fil­tered light, or bright shade. They will rot if they get too wet and cold in win­ter, so it’s best to keep them a bit dry. Too much wa­ter is def­i­nitely worse than too lit­tle for th­ese plants. You can use them in a mixed plant­ing with other suc­cu­lents. Be­cause they do most of the grow­ing hang­ing over the edges of the con­tainer, there is plenty of room for other things to fill out the top. They ap­pre­ci­ate a feed a cou­ple of times dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son, but back off com­pletely in win­ter or they will surely die. Have a gar­den­ing ques­tion? Email ma­ree@ede­nat by­ron.com.au

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