The kleinia cephalophora, also commonly known as the mountain fire or senecio cephalophora, is an extremely drought-tolerant succulent plant that produces gorgeous yellow flowers in summer.
This particular variety of kleinia, like many other varieties, originates from South Africa, making it well-suited to high temperatures and lots of sunlight.
While this kind of environment isn’t exactly unusual in Florida, they still need to be looked after properly to get the most out of their appearance and lifespan.
As a popular houseplant, mountain fire makes an excellent addition to your home or office because of its colorful leaves and easy care. Unlike some other plants, this kleinia does not need much direct sunlight, so you can keep it on the shelf in your kitchen or even on your windowsill without worrying about the discoloration or browning of the leaves.
Proper mountain fire (kleinia cephalophora) care can help make sure that this lovely plant stays healthy and growing strong indoors all year long.
Origin and distribution
You may have never heard of the plant kleinia cephalophora, which also goes by the common name mountain fire, but it’s native to Africa and has been used in traditional African medicine for thousands of years.
While not exactly a household name in the U.S., mountain fire has gained attention lately as more people experiment with new and alternative medicines in order to fight health problems like cancer, heart disease, and pain.
For best results, plant your Kleinia cephalophora in fertile soil with full sun and little water. As long as they’re receiving enough sunlight, they should survive well indoors or outdoors. They thrive during warmer months but can withstand colder climates provided they are protected from frost.
Grow this species inside in winter and then move it outside once the weather warms up. If you are looking for an attractive addition to your garden, this is one worth considering!
Kleinia cephalophora propagation
Senecio cephalophora, or mountain fire, is colorful and easy to grow succulent. It’s a short-lived perennial that can be propagated from stem cuttings in summer. The flowers are bright yellow and orange, which stand out against the grayish-green leaves.
Mountain fire needs very little water because it stores water in its fleshy leaves. They also thrive on neglect because they store so much water! Senecio cephalophora loves sun, but doesn’t mind partial shade.
They grow well indoors or outdoors. Their only real concern is overwatering; make sure not to let their soil get soggy wet or too dry for extended periods of time!
Kleinia cephalophora care information
A relatively easy plant to care for, Kleinia cephalophora prefers a slightly moist but well-drained soil. They are not fussy about fertilizers or light levels and make ideal plants for amateur gardeners.
This is another succulent that can be brought indoors and grown as a houseplant year-round. As with most succulents, kleinias should be repotted every few years into new pots to prevent them from outgrowing their containers.
Mountain fire needs bright light, such as a south-facing window in an office. It’s not a good idea to bring your plant into direct sunlight, as too much light will lead to scorching and browning of leaves.
Plants grown under full sunlight usually need more water than those that live indoors under artificial lighting, so be careful not to overwater your Kleinia!
Potting mix, or potting soil, is a mix of composted organic matter. It is used as a growing medium for potted plants and contains material to retain moisture, provide aeration and drainage, and support plant nutrition.
Any potting mix will work, but it’s especially important to choose one that drains well in order to prevent soggy roots.
Kleinia cephalophora is a succulent and as such doesn’t need frequent watering. It will do best if you allow it to dry between waterings, but not completely. Succulents can easily rot if they sit in wet soil for too long so be sure to check on your plants every few days and water only when necessary.
When you do water, use lukewarm filtered or bottled water and avoid getting any of it on leaves or flowers as they can burn quickly under direct sunlight.
One of Kleinia cephalophora best friends is compost. Soil that lacks humus can be a breeding ground for pests and disease, but adding compost will provide lots of nutrients and will help maintain good drainage.
Scratch some compost into your potting soil once a year when you repot your plant to keep it healthy. You can also use a time-release pellet fertilizer monthly in watering cans but never fertilize in direct sunlight.
These succulents thrive in hot and dry conditions, making them perfect for a sunny windowsill. Place it outdoors in a bright location that is protected from rainfall.
If you can’t place your plant outdoors due to rain or cold weather, find an area inside your home that receives plenty of sunlight. The ideal temperature range for kleinia cephalophora is 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 85 to 95 degrees during daylight hours.
To care for your Mountain Fire plant, you’ll need to pay attention to humidity. Although they can survive in low humidity conditions, it is not ideal. Try to keep humidity at 50% or higher if possible.
The idea is that as long as you provide high humidity levels while they are young and small, they will be able to deal with lower levels later on.
Regular pruning is a must for keeping your mountain fire in good health. It needs to be pruned every time you repot it, and some people say that you should leave at least one or two pairs of leaves on each branch, and never cut off more than 25 percent of its foliage at once.
When repotting it, be sure to use a shallow container with great drainage; also remember that Kleinia cephalophora are thirsty plants, so make sure to water them thoroughly after transplanting.
When to repot
If you’ve had your Kleinia cephalophora for a year or more, it’s time to think about repotting. Once you start to see gaps between branches or notice that your plant is beginning to look rather crowded, it’s time to consider moving it into a larger pot.
Repotting at this point will also encourage new growth and prevent your plant from becoming rootbound as it matures. Be sure to use fresh soil each time you repot your Kleinia cephalophora because old soil can be dry and lack nutrients which could stunt the growth of your plants.
It’s best to use a clay-based potting mix instead of using pure peat moss because peat moss can get waterlogged over time which could cause the roots of your plants to rot!
As winter comes to an end and temperatures begin to rise, your Kleinia cephalophora will start coming out of dormancy. However, their new leaves are quite soft and can be damaged by sudden changes in temperature or sun exposure.
Carefully move your plant outdoors when night-time temperatures remain above 55°F, preferably in a protected spot such as a porch or under a tree.
Kleinia cephalophora flower & fragrance
This evergreen shrub, which can grow to be 5 feet tall, has pale yellow flowers that produce a citrusy fragrance. The flowers bloom in clusters and can last as long as two months. You can pick and enjoy a single flower or pluck it by its stem, making it perfect for use in home arrangements.
The Mountain Fire is a slow-growing succulent, growing only about an inch a year. It can take about 10 years to reach maturity under ideal conditions; in reality, it usually takes 15 to 20 years for optimal growth.
Caring for your Mountain fire requires patience and careful monitoring, but once it reaches its peak, you’ll be thrilled with your results! The best time to repot and/or transplant your Mountain fire is during the early spring months or late fall.
This is a toxic plant that should not be ingested in any form. Toxicity may vary by species and with growing conditions, so be sure to read and follow all instructions carefully when caring for your Kleinia cephalophora.
Also, note that certain animals such as cats are sensitive to certain chemicals in these plants and should not come into contact with them.
USDA hardiness zones
Kleinia cephalophora thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 8-10. Due to its sensitivity to frost, it is recommended that they be planted in a container and moved indoors during the winter months.
Pests and diseases
Like any plant, your mountain fire is susceptible to pests and diseases. Mountain fire is susceptible to black spot disease, so make sure it is not exposed to any moisture or wetness.
When you do water this plant, make sure you water it deeply so that the root system can take up as much of the water as possible.
This plant is also prone to scale insects, spider mites, and whitefly. Scale is easy to deal with, but it can be more difficult to get rid of spider mites and whitefly. This plant needs full sun for at least 8 hours per day, so move your Kleinia cephalophora if shade from a tree blocks sunlight from reaching it for most of each day.