Senecio Jacobsenii (sen-ek-ee-o, jay-kob-SEN-ee-eye), also known as Kleinia Petraea, is a creeping succulent plant from the Asteraceae or Compositae family.
The plant was previously a part of the genus Senecio.
However, it was reclassified and incorporated into the Kleinia genus.
Senecio is a Latin word meaning old man, referring to the hairy parts of the plant’s flowers whereas Jacobsenii refers to a Danish professor Niels Jacobsen who was a specialist of succulent plants.
Native to Kenya and Tanzania, the plant is often confused with jade plants (Crassula Jades). But, the two are unrelated.
Senecio Jacobsenii’s resemblance with the jade plant and its growth habit has earned it the following common names:
- Trailing jade
- Weeping jade
- Vining jade
The plant is also sometimes referred to as Notoniopsis Petraea.
Senecio Jacobsenii Care
Size & Growth
Featuring succulent, thick stems and flat, egg-shaped leaves, trailing jade displays a creeping growth habit, forming a network of roots as it spreads along the ground.
The leaves are green, fleshy, and grow up to 3” inches.
They are arranged along the stems in an overlapping pattern, somewhat like shingles.
In addition to adding texture and visual interest to your garden, senecio jacobsenii also adds a pop of color to an otherwise dull winter garden with purple/maroon leaves and bright orange flowers.
Although weeping jade is a creeping groundcover, its leaves and flower stand upright on the stems.
When grown in hanging baskets, the plant can form a long and dense cascade of up to 4’ feet long.
Flowering and Fragrance
Vining jade is an unreliable bloomer. However, when it does bloom, the plant produces bright orange flowers in fall or winter.
The flowers are composite and rayless and make a great display against the green to purple foliage.
The flowers of trailing jade have a rich cheesy smell, like many other Kleinia species.
It is, however, not pleasant.
Light & Temperature
Weeping jade enjoys full sun, but also grows well in part shade.
The Senecio jacobsenii plant, in fact, appreciates some shade on very hot summer days.
It is also fairly winter-hardy with good frost tolerance and can tolerate temperatures down to 20° degrees Fahrenheit (-7° C).
But, it needs to be protected from the frost. Trailing jade doesn’t like cool, shady, and moist conditions.
In the United States, the plant is only hardy to USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
However, some say the plant can grow in USDA zone 9b.
Watering and Feeding
Like other succulents, such as cacti, kleinia petraea doesn’t have very high watering requirements.
While it appreciates moist soil during the summer, be careful to not over water as the plant cannot tolerate wet soil for extended periods of time.
Since the plant goes into dormancy during the winter, let the soil dry out between waterings in the cold weather.
Once established, the weeping jade plant becomes extremely drought tolerant.
Feed with an all-purpose fertilizer, once a year, to supply essential nutrients.
However, fertilize only lightly – too much feeding will lead to leggy growth.
Soil & Transplanting
Grow your trailing jade in sandy soil for the best results.
Though it likes slightly acidic soil, it easily adapts to a range of soil pH.
However, make sure the soil is well-drained.
The plant responds well to transplanting.
Early spring is the best time to transplant a vining jade plant.
Grooming and Maintenance
While kleinia petraea is a low-maintenance plant and can even survive with minimal care, it may need to be pruned if it gets floppy.
This usually happens when the plant grows too much.
When needed, prune the plant to the point where the stem is firm.
These cuttings are used for propagation.
Early spring is the best time for pruning trailing jade.
How To Propagate Weeping, Trailing Jade
Weeping jade can either be grown from seeds or propagated through plant cuttings.
However, the latter is the preferred method as it is easier, faster, and almost always remains successful.
Seeds, on the other hand, require constant moisture and warm temperatures to germinate.
Early spring is the best time to take plant cuttings.
However, they are taken at any time during the growing season.
Plant the cuttings in containers in sandy soil and they will root easily.
Weeping, Trailing Jade Pest or Diseases
Trailing jade doesn’t usually suffer from pest infestations and diseases, like most other Kleinia species.
However, it may sometimes get affected by mealybugs and scales.
Senecio Jacobsenii Uses
Weeping jade makes a striking groundcover.
It also makes a great display in a hanging basket or as a window box specimen in containers and hence, is ideal for full sun balconies, terraces, patios, as well as for growing indoors; it makes an excellent houseplant.
The plant looks particularly beautiful during the bloom time.
Potted plants need good drainage to prevent the soil from getting waterlogged.
Several cultivars of trailing jade are also available, some of which produce variegated leaves, further enhancing the beauty of the plant.