No matter how much we`re used to finding new and unique-looking succulents, from time to time a species caught global attention and leave us breathless. This is lately the case with Mermaid Tail succulents. They took the internet by storm and it’s not surprising, given their appearance and the fact that everything about them is a happy accident.
Mermaid Tail– When Mother Nature Intervenes
Succulents are perfect just the way they are, but sometimes, Mother Nature decides to give them something extra special. That’s the story of Mermaid Tail succulent. This is not a specific species, but a crested version of Senecio vitalis. This uniquely looking succulent is a form of cactus-succulent hybrid that sometimes happens due to fasciation. Fasciation is a process that causes plants to flatten and start growing upwards and away from the light, instead of towards it.
Senecio vitalis is hard to find and there`s no guarantee it will mutate. They are native to the eastern areas of South Africa. However, if you get your hands on a mutated Mermaid Tail, try to take a cutting and propagate it. That’s the surest way of continuing the creation of the mother plant to new babies.
Mermaid Tail grows up to 2 feet (60 cm) high and can get up to 5 feet (1.52 m) wide. Very similar to Senecio vitalis, this succulent has a narrow leaf chalk stick. With Mermaid Tail, they are wavey and growing out from the fan-shaped base. Mermaid Tail is green-bluish, but leaves can light green with purple tips if the plant is “happily stressed” when it matures. On the base, Mermaid Tail has cactus-like bumps, but to spikes.
Grow and Care Tips
If you’re lucky enough to grow a beautifully mutated Mermaid Tail, you should follow the Senecio vitalis`s caring routine. They thrive in direct sunlight. It’s best to please it somewhere outdoor where they can have a full sunbath for at least 6 hours a day. Mermaid Tail is deer resistant and spreads easily. Usually, these succulents are used for garden fillers, so you should keep an eye on them not to overpower the ground.
When it comes to soil and water, Mermaid Tail has typical succulent needs. The soil needs to be well-draining since it`s highly sensitive to root rotting and fungi infections. If you’re planning to plant it in a pot, make sure to add some sand or perlite to a soil mix. For watering, stay on the safe side and use the “soak and dry” method. Make sure that the topcoat of the soil is completely dry before you add water again.
Mermaid Tail is not a cold-hardy succulent. If temperatures in your area tend to get below 30° F (-1.1° C), it’s smart to plant this one in a container you can bring inside when needed. Also, Mermaid Tail is a winter-grower. During the summer, this succulent goes into a dormant phase, so you can safely cut down the water a bit since you don’t want to drown it.
Since the Mermaid Tail is a mutation, there’s no guarantee that the new plant is going to resemble the mother. However, this happens and you can end up with your own collection of these fairytale beauties. This succulent easily propagates from cuttings. Just use a sterile knife to cut off one of the leaves, let it callus for a day or two, and replant it in well-draining, fresh soil. Remember not to water the new cutting for a few days, to give it a time to readjust to a new environment.