String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
The drought resistant String of Pearls plant looks just as it sounds, with round, pearl like ‘leaves’ that grow on long, slender stems. Although they may look a lot like green peas, don’t be tempted to eat them as they won’t taste as good.
Due to the trailing nature of the String of Pearls plant it’s a great idea to either pot this plant in a hanging basket or display it somewhere where it can trail down and show off its unique beauty.
The stems of this plant can grow up to 60 - 90cm in length. If you find that some of the stems are looking straggly, you can cut them off and then re-plant them by pushing them back into the soil where it should take root and help your plant look full and lush.
With good care, String of Pearl plants will live for several years. The plants may become straggly over time, so it’s a good idea to propagate it every few years. in this way you'll enjoy a long succession of these beautiful succulents.
The String of Pearls plants will flower under the right conditions and the blooms are lovely! Small, white trumpet-shaped flowers studded with colourful stamens. 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 may promote flowering in spring.
Some of the common symptoms that String of Pearls encounter, and how to address them.
Root rot and mushy pearls are caused by over-watering your plant. Remove any dead and mushy stems and leaves and allow the soil to dry out somewhat before watering again. Take stock of your plant’s environment and adjust your watering schedule. Don’t let the pot sit in water.
Flat, shriveled pearls are a sign that the plant is too dry. Give your plant a good drink, without over-watering and 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 before. But don’t forget to ease up over winter time!
Origin: Southwest Africa
Height: Trails 60 – 90 cm
Light: Bright light with some direct sun.
- Water: Water thoroughly, then allow to dry out slightly 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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