Senecio Vitalis
Plant Care,  Propagation,  Rare Houseplants,  Succulents and Cacti

Senecio Vitalis

Welcome to our guide to Senecio Vitalis care, all you need to know to care and propagate this plant, including soil, water, light and humidity.

Senecio Vitalis Care Summary

Light needs:Bright indirect sunlight.
Watering needs:Check soil weekly, only water if the soil is dry all the way down.
Fertilizer:A dedicated cactus and succulent feed every 2 or 3 weeks in the summer months.
Soil:A succulent soil mix.
Temperature:16-26°C (61-79°F)
Where to buy:Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.
Other names:Blue chalk fingers, mermaids tail.
Common issues:Overwatering


The Senecio Vitalis aka ‘blue chalk fingers’ aka ‘mermaids tail’ is a beautiful succulent known for it crests of thin finger like leaves that can look like a mermaids tail. It’s from from South Africa, and so can take full sun and is very drought tolerant. It is fairly easy to grow. They can be good outside if well draining, as can tolerate some frosts for short periods of time.

See also: Succulent Soil, Snake Plant Care (Dracaena Trifasciata), Whale Fin Plant, Propagating Succulents In Water, Agave Desmettiana, Anacampseros Rufescens, Bear Paw Cactus, Dracaena Compacta (Dracaena Janet Craig), Tigers Jaw Succulent, Trachyandra Tortilis, Sansevieria Fernwood.

Tip: we recommend Etsy for buying plants. Look for the best rated seller you can, and try to buy as close to your home as possible so the plant does not travel too far.

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Senecio Vitalis Light Needs

Bright indirect sunlight is best, they are succulents and love bright light.

How Often To Water

Check the soil weekly with your finger, but only water if the soil is dry all the way down.

Tip: only water the plant when the soil is dry all the way down of you can get root rot very easily. Make sure you are especially careful when temperatures drop at the end of the summer as the plant will need less water – only water if 100% dry.


You don’t need to feed them but t may grow quicker if you do, you can use a dedicated cactus and succulent feed every 2 or 3 weeks in the summer months.

Senecio Vitalis Soil

A well draining mix is ideal, I would recommend a dedicated cactus and succulent mix, you can make your own or buy one, we cover all in our guide: Succulent Soil.

When to Repot

They won’t need repotting each year by any means, but check them yearly and if the roots are getting crowded you can pot it up a size.


40% is ok, they don’t need any special humidity requirements.


Aim for 16-26°C (61-79°F) in the day, an a minimum of 0°C (32°F) at night.

How to Propagate Senecio Vitalis

You can propagate your mermaid tail by taking stem cuttings, or leaf cuttings. Let them callous over for a couple of days so the wounds seal which reduces the chance of rot.

Then root them by putting the cuttings in moist (but not soaking) soil, and cover the pot with a plastic bag. Leave it slightly open so air can get in and out but humidity increases.

Keep it moist and humid, but change the air every 2 or 3 days and keep it well lit.

They will root in 2 or 3 months and eventually you’ll get new leaf and stem growth when you treat them a plant in their own right and lessen the humidity.

See also: Succulent Propagation (with pictures).

Why Is My Senecio Vitalis Turning Yellow?

They turn yellow from overwatering as well as underwatering. It should be easy to tell which one it is from the soil moisture. You should check the soil each week and only water it if needed.

Senecio Vitalis USDA Zone

Zones 9-12.

Is Senecio Vitalis Toxic To Cats?

It is toxic to cats if ingested, so seek vets advice if your pet eats any.


At maturity they can get about half a meter (20 inches) tall but spread to a meter (40 inches) wide.

Other Names

Blue chalk fingers, mermaids tail, senecio vitalis blue chalk fingers.

For more on succulents and cacti, see our succulents category with all our care guides.

Where To Buy

Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.

FAQs and Common Problems

The main issues are overwatering, especially when the temperatures drop in winter and the plant needs less water but we keep watering them! Always check the soil is dry first.

Other Articles You Might Like

There you have it, here ends our guide to this beautiful plant. You might also like our other articles:

Succulent Soil, Snake Plant Care (Dracaena Trifasciata), Whale Fin Plant, Propagating Succulents In Water.

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