Thursday, March 1, 2012

Random plant event: Senecio mikanioides

I've never tried growing Senecio mikanioides, indoors or out, but I do occasionally see people talking about doing so (mostly in books). The flowers aren't anything special to look at --

-- but I was struck by the fragrance, which was fairly strong and pleasant. (If memory serves, it was in the jasmine / gardenia neighborhood, but this was a while ago, so I may be misremembering. Or mis-describing.) The fragrance is honored by the new name, Delairea odorata: as I have just gotten it into my head that it's spelled mikanioides instead of mikanoides, I'm not going to give the old name up yet. (C'mon, taxonomists -- meet me halfway at least, eh?)

It's also an invasive species in places where winters are mild. Apparently it's particularly bad in California and Australia. (One source says Montana as well, which confuses me a bit, since Montana is not known for balmy winters.) It doesn't appear to be a serious problem elsewhere so far, though the Mediterranean coast, the Atlantic coast of the U.S., southeast England, and similar climates ought to keep a look out. I don't see the appeal of the foliage anyway:

But I could understand being tempted by the flowers' fragrance, I suppose. Anybody out there ever grown it indoors? Is it easy to keep alive and/or bring into flower? Would I have to have direct sun? I can't buy the plant in the photo, for . . . reasons, but I see it for sale once in a while around here in the spring, so if I should get one, now's the time to tell me.

If it helps with the recommendation: I've had a Senecio macroglossus for quite a while and have decided that it's probably not worth my time, even if it doesn't actually die.


Anonymous said...

I can't say if it's a worthwhile plant or not, but if you want to buy one from that place that considers you persona non grata, you can always have an agent (like the husband) do it for you.


mr_subjunctive said...


I'm not sure that would work, actually, since the husband was there too, when they threw me out. (He went out to wait in the car before they threw me out, but they would still have seen him. In fact, he reported that they seemed to be making a point of coming out and looking at either him or the car, toward the end of the visit. I'm guessing they were more interested in verifying that the car was from Johnson County, not looking at the husband.)

And anyway there's no need. I'll see other specimens for sale, probably a lot cheaper, in the next few months, if I just keep an eye open for them.

Paul said...

I imagine the leaves would appeal to ivy lovers.