Crested Senecio Vitalis: The Magical Mermaid Tail Succulent

crested senecio vitalis

Last updated on August 8th, 2022 at 09:02 am

The crested senecio vitalis, also known as mermaid tail succulent, mermaid tail plant, or just mermaid succulent, has long been one of the most popular houseplants, owing to its ease of care and distinctive appearance.

Mermaids are mythical creatures who possess a fishy tail in place of legs, and they often have green-colored hair, like the plants in the Crested Senecio Vitalis species of succulent.

You’ve likely never heard of the crested senecio vitalis, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know its cousin. The succulent plant resembles the seaweed we often see in aquariums and it’s also known as mermaid tail succulent.

Why does it have such an odd name? Well, it’s simply because of its appearance, which draws one to think of the flowing green locks of a mermaid, with her shimmering tail that seems to mimic the movements of ocean waves as she swims underwater.

When you hear the name crested senecio vitalis, you probably think of it as an ordinary succulent plant. But this magical plant looks like something out of an underwater fantasy world, and it could be your next succulent obsession!

Origin and distribution

Crested senecio vitalis is a succulent native to South Africa. It’s also known as the mermaid tail succulent because of its long, cascading leaves. This plant is easy to care for and can thrive in both indoor and outdoor settings.

Also referred to as mermaid tail cactus, the crested senecio vitalis is a popular choice for succulent gardens and makes an excellent houseplant. Due to their small size, they are perfect for living rooms or bedrooms. If you want your crested plant outside on your porch or patio, be sure to place them in pots with drainage holes so that they don’t sit in water which could rot the roots.

Crested senecio vitalis propagation

crested senecio vitalis

Crested senecio vitalis is a beautiful succulent that’s perfect for anyone who wants to add a touch of magic to their home. This plant can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings. To propagate by seed, simply sow the seeds in well-draining soil and keep them moist until they germinate. Once the plants have established themselves, transplant them into small pots so they don’t outgrow their space.

Schlumbergera russelliana

Another common way to propagate this plant is by stem cuttings. Take a stem cutting from an existing crested senecio vitalis plant and place it in a bowl of water overnight. Make sure the bottom of the cutting is touching the water but not submerged. Planting it as soon as possible will increase your chances of success.

Transplant your new crested senecio vitalis once it has rooted and established itself in its new pot. It only takes three weeks for roots to form on these stems! Carefully wrap the base of the cutting in a damp paper towel, then cover it with aluminum foil and put it in a warm area away from direct sunlight. Roots should start forming within 3 weeks!

Crested senecio vitalis care information

crested senecio vitalis

Crested senecio vitalis, or mermaid tail succulent, is a beautiful and easy-to-care-for plant. It’s perfect for those who are new to succulents or looking for a low-maintenance plant. Simply give it bright light and well-draining soil, and water when the soil is dry.

Light requirement

Crested senecio vitalis thrives in bright, indirect light and can even tolerate some direct sun. However, too much sun will cause the leaves to fade and may cause scorching on the plant’s surface, which could lead to leaf drops.

Crested senecio vitalis, or mermaid tail succulent, is a beautiful plant that is perfect for those who do not have a lot of light in their home. As long as it gets its daily dose of sunlight and plenty of water, this magical plant will live for years!

Soil/potting mix

This succulent prefers a sandy, well-draining soil. You can make your own potting mix by combining 1 part perlite or sand with 2 parts cactus potting mix. Or you can purchase a pre-made succulent mix from your local nursery or garden center.


Crested senecio vitalis is a succulent that stores water in its leaves, so it doesn’t need to be watered often. When you do water it, make sure to give it a good soaking so that the water can reach the roots. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.


Crested senecio vitalis is a succulent that resembles a mermaid’s tail. It’s a beautiful plant that does well with proper fertilizer. Fertilizing your crested senecio vitalis regularly will help it to grow and stay healthy.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Zee Zee Plant)

Here are a few tips on how to fertilize your plant:

  • Use a balanced fertilizer that has equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Apply the fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. – Make sure not to over-fertilize. If you notice stunted growth or yellowing leaves, it might be time for a break from fertilizer.
  • Avoid applying too much fertilizer at once because this can cause scorching or burning of the plant’s leaves and roots.
  • When applying fertilizer make sure not to get any liquid near the base of the plant or where new growth emerges from the ground. Keep in mind that fertilizers contain salts that can burn delicate plant tissue.
  • You should also avoid using chemical fertilizers because they contain toxic materials like synthetic weed killers and insecticides. These materials may adversely affect the health of your plants.

Organic fertilizers such as bone meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, or bat guano are safer alternatives to chemical fertilizers. They provide many of the same nutrients without risking harm to your succulents and other houseplants.


Crested senecio vitalis is a tropical plant, so it prefers warm temperatures. It can tolerate some cold, but if the temperature dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the leaves will start to drop off. If you live in an area with cooler winters, you can bring your plant indoors or put it in a greenhouse.

Keep your plant in an area that gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight every day and make sure it has plenty of room to grow and stretch out.


Crested senecio vitalis is a succulent that thrives in high humidity environments. If you live in an area with low humidity, you can create a mini greenhouse for your plant by placing it on a tray of pebbles and water. Be sure to change the water every week to keep your plant healthy.

You can also mist your plant regularly to increase the humidity around it.

The ideal humidity range is between 60-80%. It will start drooping if the environment is too dry or wilting if it’s too wet. In addition to needing humid conditions, this succulent needs at least 6 hours of sunlight per day in order to thrive.

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When you first get your crest senecio vitalis, it will probably be in a pot with other succulents. You’ll want to carefully remove it from the pot, taking care not to damage the roots.

Once it’s out, you can gently shake off any excess dirt. Take a look at the plant and decide where you’d like to make your cut. If you’re using a cutting board, place the cutting board so that one of its long edges is parallel to the direction that you plan on making your cut.

With a sharp knife (careful!), make your incision by slicing down vertically along this edge and following it all the way around until you have created an even circle of cuts around the base of the plant.

Gently pull up the circular piece to separate it from the rest of the plant, then dispose of or compost the leftover pieces. Shake off any excess soil and water thoroughly before repotting in a fresh soil mixture.

When to repot

crested senecio vitalis

Repotting is typically done every one to two years, depending on the size of the pot and how quickly the plant is growing. If you notice your plant starting to outgrow its pot, or if the roots are coming out of the drainage holes, it’s time for a new home.

Be sure to use a well-draining potting mix and a pot with drainage holes. These plants don’t need much water in order to thrive, so be careful not to overwater them! Well-drained soil will help prevent root rot and other fungal diseases.

Dormancy/Winter rest

In its natural habitat, crested senecio vitalis experiences a winter dormancy period during which the plant rests. During this time, the plant’s leaves will turn brown and dry up.

However, don’t worry – this is perfectly normal! Once spring arrives, new growth begins to appear on the old stems and you’ll have your mermaid tail succulent back in no time. If you want to speed up the process of getting your plant back to life (for example if it’s potted), soak it in water with Epsom salts for 10-15 minutes every week.

Be sure not to overwater the plant as well; overwatering can be detrimental to any succulent plant.

Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe Cactus)

Crested senecio vitalis flower & fragrance

Crested senecio vitalis is a succulent that produces beautiful, fragrant flowers. The blooms are white with yellow centers and have a delicate, sweet fragrance. This plant is native to South Africa and can be found growing in rocky, mountainous regions.

Growth rate

The Crested Senecio Vitalis grows quickly and can grow up to two feet in a single growing season. This succulent is perfect for those who want to add a little bit of magic to their gardens.


While all succulents are technically poisonous if ingested, the crested senecio vitalis is especially toxic. All parts of the plant contain saponins, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death if consumed in large quantities.

Ingesting just a small amount can cause irritation and burn in the mouth and throat. If you have pets or small children, it’s best to keep this plant out of reach.

USDA hardiness zones

Crested senecio vitalis grows best in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. Planting should be done in spring or summer and requires at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. When grown indoors, it will require 6-8 hours of direct light per day and at least 2 inches of water every 7-10 days.

It is important to remember that crested senecio vitalis has a very shallow root system so it must be planted with great care.

Pests and diseases

Crested senecio vitalis is susceptible to mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects. It is also susceptible to root rot and fungal diseases. To help prevent these problems, the plant should be watered from the top instead of from the bottom.

One way to avoid damping off fungus is by keeping the soil moist but not wet or waterlogged at all times. When you water this succulent for the first time, water until it drains out of the pot so that any stale water can be removed before adding new soil.