Rowleyanus, not “rowdy anus.”

At work, I have a reputation for a green thumb. This is not true. I only keep plants alive longer than most people do. I have killed dozens of plants, whereas one of my coworkers, who really does have a green thumb, can reproduce them from seemingly random cuttings, leaves, and broken stems, and bring them to bloom.

Haworthia_turgida_var_longibracteata_1We take care of our plants in a rather nice conference room with nearly floor to ceiling southwest-facing windows. Plants love it, and light-loving succulents flourish, such as a species of Haworthia that looks just like the one pictured up here that even I seem to be able to keep alive, mostly because it likes being heavily watered.

The windowsill, which is mid-calf level, is actually a grate over the heating elements. The grate has holes about half an inch across.

This matters because I would love to have a Senecio rowleyanus, also known as a string of pearls plant, pictured lower down on this page. They are unique for their genuinely spherical leaves. They would love the sun and heat of our conference room windowsill.

Senecio rowleyanusWouldn’t you love to have one? If you have sun and a place to hang a pot and no children or pets that will eat the little grapelike and reportedly slightly toxic leaves, do get one here.

But unlike Haworthia, which stay nicely low in their pot, string of pearls plants have vines hanging down, as you see here, and when the leaves fall off, they roll around, and would go though the conference room grate onto the heating elements below. Having the fallen meaty leaves getting cooked by unreachable heating elements is really not a good idea.

You may be getting tired of hearing about the deficits of my little SRO, so it is good to be able to reassure you that there is actually a bright fluorescent lamp over the sink, and a counter around the sink wide enough for little plants, like African violets, which live a long time, occasionally reblooming, before, as with all plants, I eventually kill them, usually by overwatering and sometimes by underwatering.

However, the sink counter is no good for vines, and the light is not bright enough for succulents. Senecio rowleyanus, which I have tried to grow under it, rapidly turns into dead strings surrounded by drying and wrinkled pearls lying on the counter. And yes, I feel guilty about killing living things that are brought to life not for food but for decoration.

So please understand that if you have the conditions to make a Senecio rowleyanus grow, you have the opportunity to keep alive a really special, admirable, and enviable plant.


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