The easy-to-care-for cascading succulent string of pearls or string of beads (senecio rowleyanus) is one of the dearest plants I’ve encountered. It adds a modern vibe to any home or office.
It’s especially recommended to newbie indoor gardeners as the pearl-like beads retain moisture, helping it survive potential periods of neglect.
It’s a perennial flowering vine that grows naturally in the south west of Africa. There, it tends to trail on the ground and develops roots where the stems and beads touch, forming dense surfaces.
It hides from direct sunlight and enjoys shade; this is why it’s often seen growing under other plants and rocks. It’s really a stunner- its leaves the size of grapes and trailing capacity make it unique.
Each leaf has a thin dark green tissue band on the side which is known as the window. It blooms in summer- its flowers are small and white and their stamens are colorful.
Although the flowers only last around a month or so, the aroma they release of cinnamon and other spices is wonderful! Plus, it’s not a demanding plant in terms of light-a bright room without any direct sunlight will be enough.
And, being a succulent, it produces oxygen at night, making it the perfect choice for bedrooms; proper oxygen flow in our homes is essential for calmness, good sleep, and less anxiety and insomnia.
Important to Know:
Despite its impressive looks, it’s not impressive for humans and dogs in the case of ingestion- it’s toxic according to the ASPCA. So, make sure it’s out of the reach of children and pets!
String of Pearls Care Tips
Though it’s known as a shade-loving plant, it still wants a fair share of brightness. Preferably, this would be bright indirect sunlight area, for example, near a window with strong natural light.
But, make sure they’re not overexposed to direct sunlight-it can burn them!
It’s best to set them near a south- or west-facing window or 5 to 10 inches away from these windows in case you live in hotter areas.
In the colder months, moving them where it’s brighter would be great.
This succulent will thrive if you keep it within a temperature range of 70 and 80 degrees F. In winter, it prefers a cooler temperature, around 55 and 60 degrees F.
Remember to never place it where it’s drafty or directly exposed to the air from ACs!
Water & Humidity
Be careful with watering your string of pearls, i.e. make sure you don’t overdo it. The recommended frequency is once every 15 days.
Before watering, make sure you use your finger to check out the soil’s dampness. I recommend doing it only when the soil is dry half an inch down.
In the dormant season, you can reduce the watering to once a month.
When it comes to humidity, it will do well in the humidity of an average home; still, make sure you keep it higher than 50 percent. You can also mist it from time to time if you’re worried about low humidity in your home or office.
Succulents love a well-draining soil.
You can therefore use any type of succulent potting soil, although sandy soil is preferable. A good mix is 3-parts potting soil and 1-part sharp sand using a 4-6 inch pot.
A general rule of thumb is that succulents aren’t the biggest fans of fertilizer and too much can kill them, including the string of pearls.
However, when it’s growing season, use a liquid fertilizer once every 2 or 4 weeks (spring and mid-summer). Make sure you dilute it to 50%, prior to application.
String of Pearls care is even easier in the dormant season, as there’s no need to feed the plant.
When you notice the roots coming out of the drainage holes, it may be time for repotting. Or, you just bought the plant and you want to put it in a different pot.
To do it, gently fold the trailing stems up towards the center.
Put your hand gently on the top of the plant and then flip over the pot, gently squeezing it so that it comes out easily.
The best time for repotting is when the soil is dry; otherwise, as I once made a mistake and transplanted one while the soil was wet, the risk of damaging the foliage is higher.
If you want to divide it, do it now and prep the new pots.
Choose pots that are a bit larger than the previous ones. It shouldn’t be too large or too small.
Add soil to half of the pot and put in the plant. Press it around the sides and add remaining soil.
As it’s one of the easiest plants to propagate, it’s a lovely choice to share with your family and friends. The best way is through cuttings.
Cut a 3-4 inch long cutting and lay it down on the soil. Press it down slightly. Soon, the roots will begin to develop from it.
You can also do it through leaf cuttings; put them in soil to cover the growth nodes.
Best String of Pearls Varieties
- citriformis or the String of Tears
This stunner succulent has wonderful teardrop-shaped foliage growing on erect and long stems.
The foliage has a soft green to a deep green color and translucent stripes.
It’s also covered with waxy coating and blooms small yellow flowers in the period from late summer to winter.
- radicans or the String of Bananas
This trailing succulent has green leaves shaped like fish hooks or bananas and grows on the ground, not in hanging gardens.
It’s a more suitable variety for outdoor gardens. It’s easy to propagate and it’s known to be a fast grower.
- herreanus or the String of Watermelon
This is a really pretty and unusual succulent with a lovely name. It has a trailing nature and small melon-shaped leaves with purple stripes.
It’s a common choice for ornamentation and known to be the most similar to the original string of pearls.
If you want to encourage the plant to bloom and see those beautiful and fragrant white flowers, you should reduce watering and keep a steady temperature of 60 degrees F in winter.
Make enough room around the plant so that it can easily sprawl. A hanging basket is the best pick in my opinion- the plant will start cascading down, reminding of a real string of pearls.
Pruning can be beneficial; cut any bad-looking stems or beads to keep the plant healthy and clean.
Trouble Shooting- Common Issues
Problem: plant is looking mushy and weakened
Solution: Reduce the watering- do it only when the plant has nearly dried off entirely or has gone dry entirely.
Problem: leaves turning yellow & drooping
Cause: aphids or mealy bugs.
Solution: Shower the plant to remove the insects or use insecticidal soap.
Problem: plant is looking shrivelled & beads have scars
Cause: too much/too little sunlight
Solution: Place the succulent where it will be bright and warm, yet they’re not exposed to direct sunlight for long hours. And, avoid areas with too much shade and no natural brightness.
I hope you’ve found this article on string of pearls care helpful and if you haven’t already, you add this beautiful, easy to care for plant to your indoor garden.
If you love succulents like I do, check these out;
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