How to Grow Senecio articulatus Plants

Guide to Growing Candle Plant (Hot Dog Cactus)

Senecio articulatus, commonly called the Candle Plant or Hot Dog Cactus, is a member of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family and a native of South Africa.

Other closely related species in the 1250 plus member Senecio genus include weeds such as Ragwort and Groundsel, and Garden plants such as 'Dusty Miller' (Senecio cineraria), and Zinnia .

It is an evergreen perennial that reaches 40 to 60 cm (16–24 inches) in height.

Senecio articulatus
Senecio articulatus picture by Stephen Boisvert.

As it is a drought-resistant clump-forming succulent sub-shrub, it is ideal for growing in dry arid areas.

Senecio articulatus Description Senecio articulatus Description

Senecio articulatus has pale grey green succulent stems with markings of darker green or purple just below the petioles.

The stems are tubular and jointed. If leaves do appear (approximately 50% of the time), they are usually divided into leaflets, are succulent, and are green on top and purplish below.

Senecio articulatus variegata
Senecio articulatus variegata photograph by Salchu.

Senecio articulatus is dormant for most of the year, with both vegetative growth and flowering occurring in the winter months.

Flowers are white, tiny and cup shaped, and form as a cluster attached to 15 to 25 cm (5–8 inch) long stems. Seeds are small and cylindrical.

Candle Plant flower
Candle Plant flower and buds, photograph by Stephen boisvert; CC.

Growing Senecio articulatus

Senecio articulatus Growing Guide

  • In many areas, Senecio articulatus is grown indoors as a pot plant, but it can also grow outdoors in areas where winters are not severe; ideally, the temperature should not drop below 7°C (45°F).
  • Prefers partial shade.
  • Soil conditions: preferably, the soil for container-grown plants should be a mixture of two parts sand, one part loam, one part pea gravel, and one part peat moss. Plants should perform well in soils of pH 6.0 to 7.5.

  • As it is a drought tolerant pant one of the biggest problems that gardeners have with this plant is a tendency to overwater it; this often results in plant rotting. Water once a month and allow the soil to dry out completely before re-watering.
  • New plants can be propagated from stem cuttings. First allow the cutting to form a callous before planting.
  • Common pests and diseases: some of the common pests of Senecio include spider mites, scale insects, and mealybug. Plants are susceptible to fungus and rot.
  • Growing Senecio from seed

    The following is a general Senecio seed growing guide and is not specific to Senecio articulatus but should hopefully prove to be successful if you want to experiment with propagating plants from seeds instead of by the usual cutting method.

    Perennial varieties of Senecio can grow successfully in zones 7 and above. Sow seeds outdoors on the surface in the autumn.

    Alternatively germinate seeds indoors in vermiculite, and provide water from below to prevent rot. Germination is performed in the light, and typically takes 1–3 weeks. If planning to transplant outdoors do so in the autumn.

    Senecio articulatus flower close up
    Close up of Senecio articulatus flowers, photograph by soutyu Yamada; CC.

    I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Senecio articulatus plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Crepis and Dimorphotheca plants.