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Senecio confusus Mexican Flame Vine

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


This twining, evergreen sprawling vine has 4 inch long, coarsely toothed, dark green leaves and terminal clusters of orange-red, one-inch, daisy-like flowers with golden centers. Although it appears throughout the year, peak periods of bloom are spring and summer. The quick growth of Mexican flame vine is ideal to add interest to palm trunks, to soften fences, or to veil a trellis. Occasional heading helps some foliage and flowers at the bottom of a fence or other structure supporting Mexican flame vine. Left unpruned, foliage and flowers accumulate at the top.

Full Form - Senecio confusus: Mexican Flame Vine
Figure 1. Full Form - Senecio confusus: Mexican flame vine.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


Leaf - Senecio confusus: Mexican Flame Vine
Figure 2. Leaf - Senecio confusus: Mexican flame vine.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


Flower - Senecio confusus: Mexican Flame Vine
Figure 3. Flower - Senecio confusus: Mexican flame vine.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Senecio confusus

Pronunciation: sen-NEESH-shee-oh kun-FEW-sus

Common name(s): Mexican flame vine

Family: Asteraceae

Plant type: ground cover

USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Figure 4)

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year-round

Origin: native to North America

Invasive potential: aggressive, spreading plant

Uses: ground cover; cascading down a wall

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 4. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: depends upon supporting structure

Spread: depends upon supporting structure

Plant habit: spreading

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: fast

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: dentate

Leaf shape: ovate

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: orange-red

Flower characteristic: summer flowering


Fruit shape: oval

Fruit length: less than 0.5 inch

Fruit cover: dry or hard

Fruit color: brown

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable

Current year stem/twig color: green

Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: occasionally wet; slightly alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam

Drought tolerance: moderate

Soil salt tolerances: poor

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding

Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Easily grown in full sun or partial shade, Mexican flame vine thrives in any soil with little care. Although knocked down by frost, it will quickly recover in USDA hardiness zones 8b and 9. Growth rate is so rapid, it can be used as an annual vine, planting yearly in areas subjected to freezing winter temperatures.

The cultivar 'Sao Paulo' has deeper orange, almost brick red flowers.

Propagation is by seed or stem cuttings. The green, fleshy stems will root at the nodes when in contact with soil.

Pests and Diseases

Nematodes, mites, scales, and caterpillars all bother Mexican flame vine.

No diseases are of major concern.

Publication #FPS545

Release Date:January 23, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS545, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman
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