Updated: May 28, 2022

The Dolphin Plant, also known as Senecio peregrinus, is a fascinating succulent that is native to South Africa. This unique plant has a distinct shape that resembles a pod of leaping dolphins, hence its name. The Dolphin Plant is part of the Asteraceae family and is a hybrid of two other succulent plants, Senecio rowleyanus, and Senecio articulatus.

The Origins of Senecio Rowleyanus

Senecio rowleyanus, also known as String of Pearls, is a succulent plant that is native to the eastern region of South Africa. This plant has elongated stems that dangle downwards and are covered with small, spherical leaves that resemble pearls. Senecio rowleyanus typically grows in rocky areas and can be found growing on cliffs and slopes.

The Origins of Senecio Articulatus

Senecio articulatus, also known as Candle Plant or Hot Dog Cactus, is another succulent plant that is native to South Africa. This plant has thick, cylindrical stems that grow upright and can reach up to three feet tall. The stems are covered in small, waxy leaves that give the plant a candle-like appearance.

The Hybridization of the Dolphin Plant

The origins of the Dolphin Plant can be traced back to the 1970s when it was first discovered as a hybrid in Japan. The exact circumstances surrounding its creation are unknown, but it is believed to have been a chance occurrence where the two succulent plants were grown in close proximity to each other. Over time, the two plants cross-pollinated, resulting in the unique hybrid that we know today.

The Dolphin Plant has inherited many of its physical characteristics from its parent plants. It has elongated stems like Senecio rowleyanus but instead of spherical leaves, it has small, teardrop-shaped leaves that are arranged in pairs along the stem. Like Senecio articulatus, the Dolphin Plant has thick, cylindrical stems, but they are shorter and have a more curved shape.

How to Care for Dolphin Plants

Now that you know where the Dolphin Plant comes from, it’s important to understand how to care for it properly. Here are some tips on how to care for your Dolphin Plant:


The Dolphin Plant is a succulent, which means that it stores water in its leaves and stems. As such, it is important not to overwater it as this can cause root rot. Water your Dolphin Plant once a week during the growing season (spring and summer) and reduce watering during the dormant season (fall and winter).


The Dolphin Plant prefers bright, indirect light. It can tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much can scorch its leaves. If you notice that your plant’s leaves are turning yellow or brown, it may be getting too much sun.


The Dolphin Plant prefers well-draining soil. You can use a mixture of potting soil and sand or perlite to create a suitable growing medium.


The ideal temperature range for the Dolphin Plant is between 60°F-75°F (15°C-24°C). It can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures but cannot withstand frost.


Is the Dolphin Plant toxic?

Yes, the Dolphin Plant is toxic to humans and pets if ingested. It contains alkaloids that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

How often should I fertilize my Dolphin Plant?

You can fertilize your Dolphin Plant once a month during the growing season using a balanced fertilizer.

Can I propagate my Dolphin Plant?

Yes, you can propagate your Dolphin Plant by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in soil or water.

How fast does the Dolphin Plant grow?

The Dolphin Plant is a slow-growing plant and can take several years to reach its full size. However, with proper care, it can produce new growth each year.