Blue Chalk Sticks Senecio mandraliscae: 7 Tips for Growing this Drought-Tolerant Beauty

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‘Blue Chalk Sticks’, scientifically known as Senecio mandraliscae, is a drought-tolerant succulent that is native to South Africa. It is known for its striking blue-gray foliage that grows in a trailing, cylindrical shape. The foliage grows up to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, making it an excellent ground cover option for rock gardens and sunny areas.

Blue chalk sticks feature

Native Habitat

Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ are native to the rocky, coastal areas of South Africa. They are adapted to thrive in hot, dry climates and require very little water to survive. In their native habitat, they can often be found growing on rocky slopes or in the crevices of cliffs.

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Senecio mandraliscae 'blue chalk sticks'

How to Water & Fertilize

Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ are drought-tolerant and require very little water to survive. In fact, overwatering can cause the plant to rot. Water only when the soil is completely dry and be sure to allow excess water to drain away. Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ do not require fertilizer, but you can add a slow-release fertilizer in the spring if you would like to encourage more growth.

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How to water blue chalk sticks


When it comes to soil, Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ require well-draining soil that is sandy and slightly acidic. It is important to note that these succulents cannot tolerate soggy soil, as it can lead to root rot and other issues. To ensure proper drainage, you can add soil amendments such as Turface, pumice, perlite, or coarse sand. These amendments will help improve soil structure and prevent water from accumulating at the roots.

Another important factor to consider when growing Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ is the type of pot you use. Terracotta pots are an excellent choice, as they are porous and allow excess water to evaporate, preventing the plant from sitting in damp soil. This is crucial for the health of the plant, as it helps to avoid overwatering and encourages healthy root growth. Additionally, terracotta pots have a natural, earthy appearance that complements the aesthetic of these succulents. Overall, providing well-draining soil and using terracotta pots are essential for the successful growth and development of Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’.

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Soil for blue chalk sticks

How to Propagate

Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ can be propagated easily from stem cuttings. Simply cut a stem from the plant and allow it to dry out for a few days. Then, plant the stem in well-draining soil and water sparingly until new growth appears. Propagation is best done in the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing.

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How to propagate blue chalk sticks


Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ require full sun to thrive. They can tolerate partial shade, but their foliage may not be as blue in color. If grown indoors, be sure to place them in a bright, sunny location.

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Light needs of blue chalk sticks

Hardiness Zone & Temperature

Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ are hardy in USDA zones 9-11, which means they can tolerate temperatures down to 20°F. They are best grown in warm, dry climates and may require protection from frost in colder regions.

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Common Problems & Solutions

Overwatering is the most common problem with Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’. Be sure to allow the soil to dry out completely between watering and avoid watering from above, as this can cause the plant to rot. Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ are also susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites. To control these pests, simply spray the plant with a mixture of water and dish soap.

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Pests blue chalk sticks

Is it poisonous? Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ are not poisonous, but they can be toxic if ingested. It is best to keep them away from pets and children.

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Blue chalk sticks is

Additional Facts

Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ are often used as a ground cover in rock gardens or as a trailing plant in containers. They are easy to care for and require very little maintenance once established. Senecio mandraliscae ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’ are also a favorite of pollinators like bees and butterflies.

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Blue chalk sticks flower

Blue Chalk Sticks Senecio mandraliscae: 7 Tips for Growing this Drought-Tolerant Beauty Care Guide

Growing Season:


Dormant Season:


Common Name: 'Blue Chalk Sticks'

About Blue Chalk Sticks Senecio mandraliscae: 7 Tips for Growing this Drought-Tolerant Beauty

Senecio mandraliscae is more commonly known as ‘Blue Chalk Sticks.’ It is an excellent groundcover as it spreads quickly. It looks great in rock gardens. 

Senecio mandraliscae needs full sun and can handle it all day. If grown indoors, it will almost certainly etiolate unless you have a very strong grow light. 

It grows quickly in the fall and spring, so these would be the best times to take cuttings. Be careful when taking cuttings, though, as the sap is toxic and can be irritating to the skin and should not be ingested either. White dandelion-like flowers bloom in the summer months. 

If you live in a very humid area, be sure to amend your soil heavily with inorganic amendment as Senecio mandraliscae doesn’t like much humidity. 

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Senecio Succulents: The Perfect Plant for Novice Gardeners and Hobbyist Collectors

Senecio succulents are a popular type of succulent plant that are known for their unique and interesting foliage. They are native to South Africa and are part of the Asteraceae family, which includes daisies and sunflowers. They are relatively easy to care for and are a great option for those new to succulent gardening. They can be grown in a variety of settings, including indoor and outdoor gardens, patio containers, and hanging baskets.

Types of Senecio Succulents

There are several types of Senecio succulents that are commonly grown as houseplants or in outdoor gardens. These include:

  • Senecio rowleyanus, also known as String of Pearls, is a trailing succulent with small, round leaves that resemble pearls. It is a popular choice for hanging baskets and can grow up to 3 feet long.

  • Senecio mandraliscae, also known as Blue Chalksticks, is a compact succulent that forms dense clusters of blue-gray, finger-like leaves. It is a great option for rock gardens and groundcover.

  • Senecio serpens, also known as Blue Chalksticks, is similar to Senecio mandraliscae but has a more prostrate and spreading habit. Its leaves are typically blue-green in color.

  • Senecio haworthii, also known as Hotdog Cactus, is a rare and unusual succulent that has elongated, sausage-shaped leaves that are green to blue-green in color. It is a slow-growing plant that can reach up to 2 feet in height.

  • Senecio tamoides, also known as Cushion Bush, is a compact, shrubby succulent that forms dense mounds of blue-green leaves. It is a great option for rock gardens and container gardens.

Care and Maintenance

Caring for Senecio succulents is relatively easy, and with proper care, they can thrive for many years. Here are some tips for caring for your Senecio succulents:

  • Light requirements: Senecio succulents prefer bright, indirect light but can tolerate some shade. They can be grown in full sun in cooler climates.

  • Watering and humidity: Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot.

  • Soil and potting: Senecio succulents prefer well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes. They can be planted in a cactus or succulent mix or a standard potting soil mixed with sand or grit.

  • Fertilization: Fertilization is not necessary, but if desired, can be done during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.

  • Pruning and grooming: Pruning and grooming can be done to shape and control the size of the plant. Dead leaves should be removed as they occur.

  • Propagation: Propagation can be done by taking stem or leaf cuttings, or by dividing offsets.

Pests and Diseases

Despite their hardy nature, Senecio succulents are still susceptible to pests and diseases. Some common issues include:

  • Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects: These can be treated with a solution of water and mild dish soap or with a specific insecticide.

  • Root rot: This can occur if the plant is overwatered or planted in poorly-draining soil. To prevent root rot, make sure the soil is well-draining and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.


Senecio succulents are a great option for novice gardeners and hobbyist collectors. They are easy to care for, with unique and interesting foliage that adds a touch of interest to any garden or collection. With proper care and maintenance, they can be enjoyed for many years. If you’re interested in adding a Senecio succulent to your collection, be sure to research the specific care requirements of the variety you choose. As with any plant, the key to success is providing the right growing conditions and paying attention to the needs of your plants. Happy gardening!


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