Last Updated on October 29, 2021 by Sophie
The Senecio haworthii is known by many names; Ashweed, Cocoon Plant, and Wooly senecio on account of its fluffy white leaves. A succulent dwarf shrub, if you’re looking for a unique plant to add an unusual texture to your indoor garden, then the Senecio haworthii is the plant to purchase. Here’s a complete care guide, as well as propagation tips and how to water this plant!
Please note that the Senecio haworthii has since been renamed and reclassed as the ‘Caputia tomentosa’. For the sake of clarity, and for this article, we will continue to refer to the plant as the wooly senecio or Senecio haworthii.
A part of the Senecio genus, the plant originates in South Africa and typically grows at elevations of around 900 to 1200 metres. Originally called ‘Cacalia tomentosa,’ the plant never reaches a huge height and its compacted leaves feel akin to felt or fabric. Interestingly enough, the term ‘Senecio’ comes from the Latin word for ‘Old Man’ and refers to the furry nature of the succulent plant.
Instead, a mature Senecio haworthii typically reaches 10 – 25 centimetres at maturity. In the summer, provided that the plant is given the right growing conditions, it will produce bright yellow flowers. Please note that this plant is toxic to pets and humans.
Senecio haworthii Plant Care & Watering Guide
Watering your Woolly senecio Plant
Like many succulents, the Ashweed plant is a drought tolerant plant, meaning that it can go long periods of time between waterings (and thus making it the perfect plant for those who find it hard to keep on top of a watering schedule.)
With this being said, one of the most common causes of succulent death is overwatering, and so under-watering is most definitely preferable to overwatering. For a more in depth guide, here’s how to water succulent plants.
Best soil conditions for the Ashweed Plant
Due to the succulent nature of the plant, the whale fin enjoys being in well-draining soil with plenty of grit and sand. Ideally, this silver-leafed plant should be planted in a cactus mix as opposed to a soil which contains too much organic matter. A specific succulent mix can often be purchased at your local garden centre, particularly those who specialise in indoor plants.
Best light conditions for the Senecio haworthii
Like most succulents, the Senecio haworthii will do best in bright sunlight, such as by a window, though they can also get by in slightly shadier conditions (of course, with lower light the plant will also need to be watered less frequently and will likely grow at a slower rate).
Humidity levels for the wooly senecio
Like most succulents which originate from dry and arid environments, the Wooly senecio needs to be kept in an environment where humidity levels are not too high. For example, I avoid keeping my succulents in the kitchen or in the bathroom where there’s more moisture in the air from cooking/ using the shower.
How to Propagate Senecio haworthii
There are two easy methods when it comes to propagating the wooly senecio. The first of these is to propagate via leaves. Simply gently twist off a leaf from the stem of the plant and leave it to dry out for a couple of days. Then place the leaf on soil and mist every few days.
Within a couple of weeks, roots should start to appear. Trial this method with multiple leaves at a time in order to maximise your chances of success. The other propagation method for the cocoon plant is incredibly similar. Simply use a sterile pair of cutters to cut a portion of stem from the plant. Then leave it to dry out for a couple of days before placing the piece on soil.
Senecio haworthii Pests
One of the best things to know about this wooly succulent plant is that it’s not very susceptible to pests and so is pretty easy to care for, even when the plant gets stressed (too much water/ too little water can stress a plant, leading it to be more susceptible to pests). If you notice that your plant is being afflicted by pests, be sure to isolate it from other plants immediately (until it is treated) and be sure to check the surrounding plants for pests.
The Wooly senecio is can be susceptible to scale and mealybugs. Mealybugs are characterised by their small fluffy white appearance that resembles a cotton bud. Use rubbing alcohol to wipe off all visible mealybugs.
Meanwhile, as its name suggests, scale looks like miniature scales (small round bumps on stems or leaves). These are small bugs which can fairly easily be treated by using a gentle wipe/ cotton pads dipped in rubbing alcohol and wiped across the affected surface. Carry on the treatment every few days for several weeks so as to fully treat the infected plant.
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