book4 600x120 3

by anja


Senecio scaposus


I have a silver coral Senecio scaposus which has been doing very well until about two three days ago. It has started to lose its leaves which turn a dark brown slowly. One of the off shoots has wilted and some of the leaves are turning dark. How can I save it? I don’t believe I have over watered it.

It was completely dry when I watered it last… does any one have any experience with this plant? Could it be going dormant for the winter or should/can i do anything to save this beautiful plant?

I am not sure on the age of the plant and I believe it had flowered previously. It had a dry stick-like shoot which I took to be an old flower shoot which has since been removed.

Drought Smart Plants reply:

Hi Anja – this sounds serious. First of all, in my experience, these plants (that originate in warm climates) don’t tend to lose all their leaves when winter is near, usually it’s something much more dire.

In this case, I would quickly take some cuttings so that if you do lose the main plant, you may be able to salvage a replacement. See the page on succulent plant propagation for more.

Next, I would carefully take the plant out of the pot, and see if there is damage to the roots – dark, watery, rotten or otherwise abnormal roots.

If you can, cut away any parts that can’t be saved, leaving any roots that appear viable. Use scissors that can be dipped in rubbing alcohol between cuts, so you can try and limit the spread of the disease (whatever it may be). Hopefully, your quick action will save what may otherwise be a doomed plant.

Another possible cause for damage like this is natural gas poisoning – if you use natural gas or propane for heating your home (or for cooking) this might be why it looks so sick. Move the plant to a more ventilated place, and have your system checked for leaks.

Good luck, I hope you can get this resolved and save your plant!