A small shrub that grows between two and five feet tall, Senecio cineraria is a plant native to Central America and is grown widely in USDA Zone 9-11. It thrives in full sun, as well as semi-shade, and needs moderate water--sufficient to keep its soil evenly moist. This plant features ornamental foliage in shades of grey, green, and silver with brilliant yellow and orange flowers that are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
Growing and caring for your Senecio cineraria can be a bit of a challenge in a cold region. While the shrub can handle some dry weather, prolonged periods can cause the roots to die and the plant to develop a rust disease. To ensure success, you will need to water the soil deeply when it is dry, particularly until it is established, and keep it consistently moist. Mulching can help to retain moisture, but make sure to keep mulch away from where the stems meet the soil. Apply a balanced fertilizer in the early spring for maximum health and blooms.
With proper care, your Senecio cineraria will fill your garden or container with lush foliage and captivating blooms that bring with them the beauty of nature and the joy of their feathered and butterfly guests.