Mermaid succulents or Crested Senecio vitalis and Euphorbia lactea ‘Cristata’ owe their common names to their appearance. This unique plant looks like a mermaid’s tail. Read on to learn more about this interesting succulent. About Succulent Mermaid Tail Plants You may not be familiar with crested plants in general and what that means. Crested succulents are uncommon and therefore more valuable. A plant acquires a crest through a process called fasciation, commonly observed in flowers. In succulents, it is an “abnormal flattening of the stems.”
If you look closely at a hooded plant, you’ll notice that the stem is flattened along the growing points. This causes the plant’s budding foliage to be short and swollen. The stems appear to be fused together at the bottom and spread out at the top, creating the hood plant appearance. The mermaid tail succulent gets its crest from the distorted shoots created by this process.
If you absolutely have to have one, as many of us decide when we first see it, buy one that’s already growing. While the mermaid cactus succulent can grow from seed, there is no guarantee it will sport a comb that gives it its unique look. Even if the plants often have a comb, there is no guarantee unless you see this feature at the time of purchase. Without the crest mutation, you’ll get either a regular Blue Chalk plant (Senecio vitalis) or a Dragonbone plant (Euphorbia lactea).
When purchasing, check the botanical name on the label to ensure which plant you have. Luckily, both plants require the same care and should therefore grow vigorously in the same conditions. Mermaid Succulent Care The blue-green foliage is the draw of this interesting toque plant, with the Senecio type being more spiky and the Euphorbia being serpentine and bordered with coral (which also leads to its common name coral cactus). The exotic succulent will add a touch of the tropics to your home or anywhere it is placed. This low-maintenance succulent is suitable for indoor and outdoor growing, except where temperatures get too cold.
When growing mermaid tail succulents, whatever variety you have, start with gritty, well-drained soil in a container with a drainage hole. This provides the right planting medium for the mermaid tail. Caring for this plant includes acclimating it to a sunny spot outdoors or a bright or partially sunny area indoors.
Limited watering is required for this succulent. Allow the soil to dry thoroughly before watering again. As with many succulents, too much water can cause root rot, especially if water is left around the roots. The right soil promotes water flow. Also, do not leave the pot in a saucer of water. How often to water depends on the conditions.