Senecio relocation

In early 2011 I planted a Senecio vitalis on the edge of the succulent bed next to our front door. Closely related to the ever popular blue chalk fingers (Senecio mandraliscae), Senecio vitalis is more upright and has a greenish-gray coloration as opposed to Senecio mandraliscae’s steely blue. Both plants are reasonably common in local nurseries, and I would recommend them both for a drought-tolerant landscaping scheme.

Senecio vitalis  on 9/17/2011

This was a good spot for Senecio vitalis—at least for a while. As the stems grew taller, they began to flop over onto the flagstone path. I trimmed them back regularly (and rooted some of the cuttings to give away) but I eventually realized that the plant had to come out. In my mind, there’s no reason to live with a plant that bothers you. They are supposed to give you joy, not aggravation.

Senecio vitalis on 4/15/11

As is often the case with succulents, I was able to lift out this Senecio vitalis quite easily since its roots didn’t go down very deep. I was surprised by how heavy it was—the leaves are full of water and hence quite heavy. No wonder the stems flopped over!

I transplanted the Senecio vitalis into the succulent bed next to the driveway. This bed slopes from the top of the driveway down towards the lime tree planted on the edge of the sidewalk, and here the Senecio vitalis can flop and droop all it wants.

Senecio vitalis in its new home
I had to put a rock on top of the root ball, otherwise the weight of the top growth would have pulled the roots clear out of the soil
This succulent bed isn’t as flashy as the other one (I originally used it for plants I had left over) but there’s still a lot to like here. I’ll do a separate blog post about it soon.

Not wasting any time, I filled the hole left by the Senecio vitalis with pig’s ears (Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata) I had just bought at Annie’s Annuals.

Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata
Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata

My specimen is still small, but soon it’ll look like this clump, which I photographed at Annie’s last year.

Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata at Annie’s Annuals


  1. Soon I will be relocating my Senecio back outside, from a winter spent on the windowsill. We are both very excited about that.

    Meanwhile I yesterday I moved a plant that in theory I liked, but was driving me crazy where it was. Now I love it again...I just hope it survives the move.

    1. Now's a good time of year to move plants, at least here. With the recent arrival of temperatures in the mid 80s, the plants in our garden have kicked into overdrive.

      Is yours a S. vitalis or mandraliscae?

    2. Both! I've got S. vitalis and S. mandraliscae over wintering indoors.

  2. Moving plants around is something I wish more gardeners (myself included) did. Why do we put up with plants in bad locations?

    1. I used to do just that for many years. But the older I get, the less patience I have. Of course moving a relatively small succulent is trivial compared to a shrub...

  3. I seem to spend all of my time every Spring relocating succulents while weeding, cleaning off dead leaves etc... I love a fresh look and they are easy to move.


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