Cineraria - Senecio


Senecio is a genus that includes about 3000 species of plants, very different from each other also due to their botanical characteristics. In fact, it includes both herbaceous and shrubby plants, both succulent and fleshy. Below we will deal mainly with a very common biennial species such as the senecio cruentus, whose variety "hybridus" is perhaps the most widespread plant of the genus, and of the senecio roweleyano, a succulent species.

The senecio hybridus

It is a flowering plant of variable height between 15 and 45 cm, which can also be grown starting from the seeds. From the time of sowing to flowering, about six months pass.
The leaves are roundish and are very large compared to the rest of the plant. The flowers can be red, pink, white, and blue.

The maritime senecio

The maritime senecio (or cineraria) grows spontaneously on sandy soils along the coasts. In fact, it resists saline and drought soils, withstands low temperatures, even below 00, and even salt water sprays, so it lends itself to being cultivated in coastal areas with mild winters. However in places with winter frosts it is cultivated as an annual plant or is kept in pots and brought indoors during the coldest months (November to April).
There cineraria It is an ornamental plant with a very special silvery foliage, used to embellish gardens, flower beds, borders and rocky gardens, or balconies or terraces, if it is planted in pots and planters. The leaves with the singular color allow to create beautiful compositions in a garden close to other plants, and the yellow flowers contrast effectively with the color of the leaves. The flowers can be dried and used to add a particular note to dried flower bouquets.
There cineraria it creates thick bushes with a rounded shape that reach 50 or 60 cm in height. The stems and leaves are covered with a silvery gray hair. The leaves are persistent, lobed and with incised edges, the flowers are bright yellow and gathered in inflorescences.


To geminate the plant needs a temperature of about 20 degrees C ° but at higher temperatures it begins to suffer from excessive heat. The ideal temperature is between 8 and 16 C °, while the minimum tolerated in the period of flowering is about 3 C °.
Ideal temperatures range from 16 ° to 18 °. The cineraria fears above all too cold temperatures.

Senecio marittimo in brief
Family Asteraceae
Gender Senecio
Type of plant shrubby
Origin Mediterranean basin
Vegetation Bush
Foliage Persistent
Use Balcony, terrace, flower bed, border or rock garden
Height at maturity 50 cm
Growth rate Normal
Diseases and pests Aphids, rust
Temperature Fears frost and temperatures below 00

How to cultivate maritime senecio

The maritime senecio can be grown in pots or in the open ground, but must be kept in a place exposed to the sun and needs a well-drained soil, even if poor. It is advisable to carry out the planting between April and June.
If you grow it in the ground, dig a hole much larger than the size of the plant and, if the soil is not sufficiently draining, add sand and thin gravel. Plants must be placed at a distance of 25-40 cm from each other. After planting, water. If, in the months immediately following the planting, it did not rain enough, provide water sparingly. During the winter, if the cineraria has been planted in the garden, protect the roots with a straw mulch or dry leaves.
If you put it in a vase, ensure good drainage by placing gravel or expanded clay at the bottom of the vase, and adding sand to the soil. Watered at the time of planting, cover the soil with expanded clay, which will ensure the plant a sufficient dose of moisture. In case of high temperatures, water, but do not leave water in the saucer.
In the growth phase, the plant does not need pruning, but if you want to make it thicker, check the stems.

Cinerary cultivation


Maintenance Limited
Exposure Full sun
Ground Well drained, not too rich
Cleaning / Pruning Remove the dried flowers
Water needs Low
Soil moisture Absent
Multiplication Sowing, cutting


It must be as sunny as possible. The cineraria, like most of the flower composites, needs good lighting to grow at its best but it must not be exposed to the direct rays of the sun that could burn or dry its leaves.


We recommend watering abundantly and letting the surface of the soil dry before watering again. Be careful not to use too cold water. The plant needs moisture, but it is good not to spray it directly. Instead, use a saucer filled with gravel. Take care, however, that the vessel is not permanently in contact with water because water stagnations are counterproductive.
Plants grown in the open ground do not need watering because they are satisfied with the rain water, even if sporadic. For plants grown in pots or in planters, the water supply must be minimal.

The rowleyano senecio

Senecio rowleyano is a succulent plant characterized by creeping stems that form a turf. If it is grown in pots and this is hanging, the stems hang about 60 cm. This type of plant is ideal for embellishing balconies and terraces or bringing joy and liveliness to your living room. It also does not require special care and attention.


The senecio is a light-loving species and it is therefore advisable to place the plant in a sunny place where the rays can reach the plant directly. It also loves the mild temperatures and does not tolerate cold, being very sensitive to low temperatures. In the coldest months it is advisable to place the plant in a sheltered area of ​​the balcony or on the veranda.
The cineraria loves sunny positions, so expose it to direct sunlight or choose a location where it can enjoy a few hours of daylight.


As for irrigation, this species of cinerary needs constant watering. In the summer soak the jar for a few minutes and then let it dry completely before repeating the operation. In winter keep the soil always moist, but moderately watering; when the temperatures are more rigid, it will be enough to water the plant once a month. We recommend placing a layer of shards on the bottom of the pot in order to favor the release of excess water.

Multiplication and propagation

The propagation of cineraria can take place by sowing, cutting or offshoots.
For cutting
The cuttings are obtained by taking a 5-7 cm portion from a mature stem in the August-September period. Then they are placed in a soil made of sand and flower soil. They can be left outside, in partial shade, until November. During the winter period, protect them with a cloth or place them in a cold greenhouse, before planting them in the ground in the following spring.
For transplanting it is advisable to use a soil of 2/3 compost and 1/3 of coarse sand. Always remember to protect the cuttings from the sun.
For sowing
Sowing must take place in the April-May period, in a greenhouse or in a protected place where the temperature must not fall below 100 degrees. As the seedlings grow, thin them by removing the slimmer ones. When they are large enough, transfer them to small pots. Planting will take place the following spring.
If you intend to recover the seeds of adult plants, do not cut all the flowering stems, but leave some of them from which you will collect the seeds in September. After having collected them, place them in a paper bag so that they are kept until they are used.
For offshoots
In order to carry out this type of reproduction it is necessary that the stems of the plant are sufficiently long. Choose one and carve the part that will be buried on the surface. Fold the stem and place it at a sufficient depth, after working the soil and removing the weeds. The part that comes out must be kept upright by tying it to a guardian. In the following spring, if the layers are provided with roots, you can cut them to get more plants. Place each of them in full earth or in a vase.


For optimal growth the soil should be composed of peat and sand in equal parts. It prefers well-drained soils and resists even in very poor soils.

Pests and diseases

This variety of cineraria fears the attack of pests and fungal diseases. It is in fact attacked by thegreen aphid and powdery cochineal. If you want to eliminate the root problem, you can perform some preventive treatments at the beginning of the spring season using good insecticides.
The cineraria is very resistant to pests, but can be attacked by aphids and rust. If you want to avoid root rot, which can cause the death of the plant, it is necessary that the soil is well drained, that the waterings are not excessive and that the plant has enough light and sun.

Pruning of cineraria

In young plants it is advisable to tick off the stems to make the plant thicker. With pruning, the stems are shortened with a return cut, leaving some shoots before the point of the cut. If you let the cinerary grow spontaneously without any pruning, the plant will soon lignify and lose the leaves at the base.

Advice and curiosity

The cineraria is collected throughout the flowering period and dried to be used both in bouquets of dried flowers and in pot pourri. The drying must take place in a cool and ventilated place.
The cineraria is used in homeopathic treatments for conjunctivitis and ocular inflammation, but if ingested it can cause problems in the digestive tract due to the high quantity of alkaloids it contains.


The senecio cruentus It is an ornamental plant with flowers that are similar to daisies of very different colors (red, pink, mauve, blue, white). During the flowering period the plant is covered with many flowers that almost completely hide the leaves. Flowering begins at the end of winter and continues throughout the spring. The plant has a bush-like habit and is between 30 and 40 cm high, with large dark green triangular leaves. If you use it as a houseplant, choose a well-lit place, but not exposed to direct sunlight.
The senecio cruentus it can be grown as an annual or biennial.

The calendar of the maritime senecio


April May
Planting April-June
Flowering May, June, July, August (depending on the variety)

The cultivation of senecio cruentus


Maintenance Limited
Exposure Position lit, but not direct sunlight
Vegetation Bush
Use Balcony, terrace, flower bed, border or rock garden
Height at maturity 30-40 cm
Growth rate Growth rate
Diseases and pests Aphids
Temperature Fears frost and temperatures below 0 °
Ground Well drained, not too rich
Cleaning / Pruning Remove the dried flowers
Water needs Average
Soil moisture Absent
Multiplication Sowing, cutting

Cineraria - Senecio: How to grow senecio cruentus

Senecio cruentus can be grown in pots or in the open ground. Place the seedlings in the spring. If it is planted in the open ground, the cineraria will reproduce itself by spontaneous sowing. The fast-growing plant will allow you to quickly enjoy its flower bouquet.
The plant loves light, but not direct exposure to sunlight, which would make the leaves wither.
Senecio cruentus prefers cool temperatures.
The plant loves well-drained soils with peat and sand.
Watering must be regular, especially during the flowering period. Fears excessive humidity that would cause root rot. Therefore always empty the saucer from excess water.
Pests and diseases
Senecio cruentus is subject to attack by aphids and whitefly.
The fertilizer should be administered during the flowering period every two weeks.
The plant does not require pruning, but only the normal cleaning operation with elimination of the yellow leaves.
Watch the video
  • Cineraria

    Senecio cineraria is a small perennial with yellow flowers and greyish foliage; there are many hybrids on the market

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