A sprawling succulent plant with rambling stems and distinctive cylindrical foliage. Leaves can range from blue-gray to pale-green in color and grow to 4-5 in. long with pointed tips.
This species occurs in South Africa’s Cape region where a number of subspecies have been selected for ornamental use. Two subspecies grow well in California and are planted for their striking foliage color and texture in rock gardens, containers and as ground covers. They do best in full sun, with good drainage and low moisture. One cultivar, S. t. ssp. cylindricus, Narrow-leaf chalksticks, is a rambling plant, 18-30 in. high and 4-5 ft. wide. Thin yellow-green cylindrical leaves are translucent and grow 3-5 in. long. A lower growing cultivar, S. t. ssp. mandraliscae, Blue finger, has bright glaucous-blue leaves that are 3-4 in. long and grow on succulent stems 12-18 in. high and several feet wide; small white flowers on branched stems appear in summer. Both cultivars survive temperatures to 15°F.