|Scientific Name||Curio Ficoides ‘Mount Everest’ (Senecio Ficoides ‘Mount Everest’)|
|Common Name(s)||Blue Skyscraper, Blue Chalkstick, Blue Fingers, Silver Senecio, Curio Aquarine, Skyscraper Senecio|
|Origin||South Africa (Namaqualand, Northern Cape, Alexander Bay)|
Curio Ficoides “Mount Everest” is a perfect succulent plant for beginner gardeners. It has distinctive features that catch the eye of an experienced succulent lover like me. Its elongated, fleshy, blue-green or blue-gray leaves and upright stems are covered with a chalky coating. It branches near the soil surface and stems grow upward and hold themselves without support.
A plant rarely blooms when it grows indoors. It can give small white flowers at the tips of the stems if it has ideal conditions.
Curio ficoides can grow up to 4 ft tall and 2 ft wide and spread quickly, so it’s considered an invasive species in some parts of the world. If you grow them in pots, there is no risk of uncontrolled spreading.
When buying a plant, you can find it under different names: Curio aquarine, Curio serpens, Curio repens, and Curio crassifolius. It is a cultivar introduced to the public in 2011.
If you grow plants outdoors, they are a great choice for ground covering, rock gardens, edging plants in flower beds and borders, or Mediterranean or cottage gardens.
If growing as houseplants, you can place them in a spot with a lot of light, together with other succulents and cacti.
How To Care For Curio Ficoides ‘Mount Everest’
Curio “Mount Everest” prefers spots with very bright light. Even growing in medium light can cause problems in just a few days.
If you grow your plant indoors, the best position is in a sunny window. South-facing windows would be a perfect solution. However, if you have access only to windows with less light, such as southwest-facing, you might need to rotate your plant every couple of days for all the parts to receive enough light.
Outdoors, a plant will thrive in the full sun, so the rock garden in the south corner of the garden would be a great choice. It can tolerate partial shadow, especially during hot summer days.
If they lack light, plants will survive but suffer, become leggy, and probably need some support. They might even lose their distinctive color.
This plant, like all succulents, prefers well-drained, neutral, to slightly alkaline soil.
If they grow as houseplants, they are not extremely picky when it comes to potting soil. They can grow in regular potting mixes but prefer mixes with added perlite, sand, or other material to improve drainage.
Plants’ roots are not very deep, but they need something to stabilize the plant that can be quite tall. A good potting mix for succulents and cacti should do the job. You can also use peat-free compost if it has good drainage and doesn’t retain too much water.
It best thrives in poor, gritty, neutral, or alkaline soils when growing outdoors.
A plant originates from South Africa and is well adapted to harsh conditions. It belongs to USDA hardiness zones 9a-11b and can survive temperatures 20-50 degrees F.
When growing as a houseplant, optimal temperatures are 62-77 degrees F, but it will thrive in higher temperatures too. You should avoid exposing it to freezing temperatures, as they can irreversibly damage the plant.
Senecio “Mount Everest” has low watering needs, like any other succulent, and it’s better to underwater than overwater it. The soil can dry out quickly as a plant grows in bright light and prefers higher temperatures. In the summer, it can happen in a few days after thoroughly watering, but they can withstand dry soil for another week.
Ensure not to let it completely dry for too long. Ideally, water your plant thoroughly when the soil is almost completely dry. You can use tap water, not too cold; rainwater would be perfect, but the plant is not sensitive to minerals from water.
Curio ficoides is a fast-growing plant that doesn’t need additional feeding in ideal conditions. If you’re growing your plant indoors, especially if there’s more than one plant in a pot, you may use fertilizers.
You can apply regular liquid fertilizer for houseplants, but it’s best to use special fertilizers for cacti and succulent plants once a month during the growing season. It will improve growth, making plants more resilient to pests and diseases like gnats, aphids, and mealybugs. Make sure to use as labeled, as plants are sensitive to overfertilizing, which can cause root burns.
“Mount Everest” is an extremely hardy succulent and doesn’t need to be repotted often. It can thrive in the same pot for years and years. You will need to re-pot it once it completely overgrows a pot it’s in.
A general rule of thumb is to re-pot your plant every three years, but it’s not written in stone, and you can re-pot it when you think it needs it. One thing you have to keep in mind is to choose a pot with at least one drainage hole.
Pests and Diseases – Curio Ficoides ‘Mount Everest’ (Skyscraper Senecio)
Curio ficoides plants are pests and disease-hardy but can occasionally be affected by pests and fungal diseases, especially when their general health is compromised.
Senecio’s most common pests are aphids, mealybugs, and thrips. To prevent the damage they can cause, you should inspect your plants regularly. If you notice an infestation, you can treat them with mild natural preparations such as Neem oil or horticultural oils.
In cases of heavy infestation, use chemical insecticide directly on the affected parts. If possible, isolate the plant from others, as pests spread quickly.
The most common diseases that affect Curio plants are powdery mildew and fungal leaf spots.
You can recognize this fungal disease by white spots on the leaves and stems. Those spots can become brown in later stages. To prevent powdery mildew, avoid watering in the evening to allow leaves to dry out before night. If you notice signs of disease, treat a plant with fungicides.
Fungal leaf spots
Symptoms of this disease include dark spots on the leaves, often with a yellow halo. Preventing and treatment are similar to powdery mildew.
Propagation – Curio Ficoides ‘Mount Everest’ (Skyscraper Senecio)
Curio ficoides “Mount Everest” is a plant that can easily supply you with many young ones from one parent plant. It is incredibly easy to propagate.
The simplest and most common method of propagation is stem cuttings. You will need 3-4 inches long top growth. Remove leaves on the lower 1-2 inches of cuttings. You can leave them to form callous tissue, but it’s not necessary.
Make a hole in the potting mix, place the cuttings, and press the soil around them. Water the soil slightly, and place cuttings in a bright and warm place. Roots will start to grow in a couple of weeks, and new leaves and buds will follow.
Propagating using seeds is also possible, but it is much more complicated and usually not that successful. Therefore I would not recommend that.
Is Senecio Ficoides ‘Mount Everest’ Suculent Toxic?
Senecio ficoides “Mount Everest” is considered a mildly toxic plant. It can cause stomach problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested, and it should be grown carefully around children and pets.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can we keep Curio ficoides “Mount Everest” indoors?
Senecio ficoides is a popular and low-maintanance houseplant. However, if the climate allows, growing outdoors will give bigger, stronger, and healthier plants.
What are the benefits of Curio ficoides “Mount Everest”?
This succulent is extremely easy to maintain and propagate and can be a great addition to your indoor garden or easy-spreading ground cover in the right climate zone. The only downside is its toxicity, but the smell naturally repels pets, so it’s pretty safe overall.
How long did Curio ficoides “Mount Everest” live?
It is a perennial plant and, in the right conditions, can live for several years, even decades.
Why is Curio ficoides “Mount Everest” dropping leaves?
If dropping leaves happen suddenly, it is often caused by overwatering or