String of Pearls Care Instructions

String of Pearls Care Instructions

Scientific Name: Curio rowleyanus
Synonym: String of Pearls, Senecio rowleyanus

The String of Pearls is an eye-catching trailing succulent much loved and prized by indoor plant enthusiasts. These adorable strings of pea-shaped leaves make for a delightful accent to any bright interior or patio.

Indigenous to South Africa, these little glories are often found as a ground cover in more arid, desert regions of the country. Considering the String of Pearls' trailing nature, it's a good idea to either pot it in a Hanging Basket or display it somewhere where its dense bunches of trailing stems can cascade down to form a veritable curtain of green pearls.

As succulents, the String of Pearls is relatively drought tolerant, and requires little water, making them forgiving of neglect. To keep these houseplants happy, it is best to provide them with top down, very bright indirect light. This will prevent your plant from ‘balding’ wherever light is not received, as well as avoid the plant discolouring to a reddish brown tone, which is a sign of too much light.

With good care, String of Pearls will live for several years. Over time, they may become straggly, so it’s a good idea to propagate it every few years to keep a fresh replacement at hand.

Top Tip: Loop some branches back over the soil, as this will anchor new stems into the soil, supporting the growth of the plant, and preventing its crown from thinning, over time.

String of Pearls plants will flower under the right conditions and the blooms are highly desirable! Small, white trumpet-shaped flowers studded with colourful stamens with a light cinnamon fragrance. To encourage your plant to bloom you should give it a rest over winter in temperatures of 13-16°C and cut back on watering while not letting the potting mix dry out completely. These conditions over winter will promote flowering in spring.

String of Pearls are a versatile houseplant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors, either in a protected area of the yard or on your patio. Wherever it is displayed, it is sure to be a hit.

Please note: String of Pearls is considered toxic when ingested.

String of Pearls

String of Pearls Common Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms that String of Pearls encounter, and how to address them.

  • Root rot and mushy pearls are caused by relative over-watering your plant. Remove any dead and mushy stems and leaves and allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Take stock of your plant’s environment and adjust your watering schedule. Don’t allow the potting mix to stay moist for long periods. Read up more on Under / Overwatering here.
  • Flat, shrivelled pearls are a sign that the plant is too dry. Give your plant a good drink by soaking the plant in a container of water for 15 minutes, allow to drain well. Best practice is to assess the plant’s environment. If your plant is in a very hot area, you might find that you need to water your plant more often than usual. But don’t forget to ease up over winter time!
  • No Pearls on top: This is caused by lack of light, the Pearls will only grow where they receive sufficient light. Be sure to provide your plant with top down light to avoid balding in the planter. This can be achieved by hanging your planter lower near a window, or placing on a shelf that receives light over the top of the pot. To remedy, take a few branches and trail them over the top. This will encourage new stem formation.

String of Pearls Care Instructions

  • Origin: Southwest Africa
  • Height: Trails 60 – 90 cm
  • Light: Bright light with some soft direct sun. Avoid Midday direct sun or placing right against a window. Give your plant at least 15cm space between the glass and its hanging position.
  • Water: Water thoroughly, then allow to dry out to near dry between waterings. It is very important to note that String of Pearls DO NOT tolerate soggy soil - it is better to err on the side of underwatering than to overwater. It is good to remember that this plant is drought resistant and is not used to too much water. Cut back on watering in winter, without allowing the soil to dry out completely. A safe approach, while you get familiar with your plant is to water it when you notice the Pearls shrivelling slightly. 
  • Humidity: Average to dry room humidity.
  • Temperature: Warm, spring through autumn 21 – 27°C. In winter, cool 13 – 16°C.
  • Soil: Cactus potting mix will work for this plant. Otherwise, use a basic Potting Soil amended with Perlite, coarse river sand or pumice for extra drainage.
  • Fertilizer: Feed once a month spring through autumn with a balanced liquid Fertilizer diluted by half.
  • Pruning: Every so often you may find that you’ll need to prune your String of Pearls in order to maintain its appearance or size. Simply trim off any dead stems and pearls, as well as stems that have lost a lot of their pearls. Pruning your String of Pearls promotes a fuller plant.
  • Re-pot if your plant out-grows its pot, re-pot in springtime. It is important to use a pot with a drainage hole and fast-draining, sandy soil mix to prevent water clogging and subsequent root rot. Read up more on Repotting Houseplants here.
  • Propagation: Take 10 cm stem tip cuttings in spring or summer and insert them in moist potting soil. Press them into the potting mix until the leaves are almost covered. Keep soil light moist. Find more info on Propagating Succulents here.

If in stock, shop String of Pearls here.

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