|Classified:||(G.D.Rowley, 1956) P.V.Heath, 1997|
|Propagation:||From cutting, seed|
|Adult size:||Vines up to a meter|
|Watering:||Let the soil dry completely before watering|
|Fertilization:||Monthly during active growth|
|Soil:||Extremely well drained|
|Toxicity:||Slightly toxic to humans and animals|
|See more Curio|
String of tears, Senecio citriformis, Kleinia citriformis
Curio citriformis is a succulent in the Asteraceae family. They are adapted to long periods of drought and can make excellent, low effort houseplants. It is native to South Africa.
Curio is derived from the Latin "curiosus", meaning "curious".
Senecio comes from the Latin - 'old man'. This name, used by Pliny, is in reference the plant becoming grey and hairy when fruiting.
Citriformis means 'citrus-like' and refers to the lemon shaped leaves.
C. citriformis has small light blue-green tear-drop shaped leaves that creep along the ground. In the home these vines tend to cascade over the edge of the container they are in, giving them the nickname 'string of tears'..
C. citriformis has small yellow flowers with a sweet and spicy cinnamon scent.
C. citriformis wants high light. As much direct light as possible should be provided, a south or west facing window (in the northern hemisphere) would be ideal. When placing this plant in direct sunlight it should be slowly acclimated over a few days to avoid the risk of leaves scorching or yellowing.
Use an extremely well draining soil mix (see succulent soil) and water thoroughly, allowing excess to drain. Do not allow the plant to sit in water. Allow the soil to dry through completely before watering again.
Moving the plant from a low-light indoor aspect to a bright, south facing window or outside in direct sun will lead to leaves bleaching and scorching. When moving the plant outdoors, choose a spot in shade or that gets dappled or screened sunlight. Let the plant slowly acclimate to being outdoors and never move the plant into direct sun without slowly building up a tolerance first. Some direct morning or evening sun is fine but hot midday light will scorch the leaves without acclimatisation.
Succulent plants can experience a slow decline and death in the home. You are giving the plant lots of direct light and watering only when the soil is completely dry and yet the plant is still slowly dying. This is almost always because the soil and substrate the plant is in is too moisture retentive. The soil used by growers is often peaty and retains too much moisture, or becomes extremely difficult to rehydrate once it has dried through. This means your plant experiences extreme drought followed by long periods of being waterlogged.
Repot your plant using an extremely well draining succulent soil, stripping away as much of the existing substrate as possible. With a soil that is mostly inorganic minerals you can get away with watering your plant frequently, and knowing the substrate will be dry within a day or two. You should see an almost immediate change in your plants condition within a week or two.
Exposure to the right temperatures can be the difference between a thriving plant and a plant that looks ugly and unhealthy. C. citriformis will survive temperatures down to 5°C / 41°F. Daytime temperatures between 15°C and 26°C (60°F and 80°F), and night temperatures between 12°C and 21°C (55°F and 70°F) are ideal for healthy growth.
C. citriformis is highly pest resistant, however it can be affected by spider mites and mealybugs.