The String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is a beautiful and unusual succulent that makes a great addition to any indoor plant collection. Native to South Africa, this plant is characterized by its small, round leaves that grow in clusters on thin, trailing stems.
This beautiful hanging succulent is popular for its pearl-like rounded leaves that cascade down the sides of the container. Each individual leaf has a small split down the middle where light can seep through, providing more space for photosynthesis. This has the benefit of exposing less surface to the desert sun and retaining water in the harsh climate. It displays a gorgeous trailing habit, making it a perfect plant for hanging baskets or trailing over shelves and tabletops. It is easy to care for and can be kept indoors or outdoors.
- String of Pearls Main Characteristics
- String of Pearls Care
- Propagating String of Pearls
- Potting and Repotting String of Pearls
- Common Pests
- Everything You Need to Know About the String of Pearls Plant (Video)
String of Pearls Main Characteristics
|Common Name||String of Pearls, Bead Plant, Irish Beads, Necklace Plant, Rosary Vine, String of Beads, String of Marbles, String of Peas|
|Botanical Name||Senecio rowleyanus|
|Native Range||Southwest Africa|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||9b to 11a|
|Mature Size||Height: 1 to 2 feet; Spread: 1 to 2 feet|
|Propagation methods||by cuttings, by division, by seeds|
String of Pearls Care
The String of Pearls can bloom small, white flowers that appear in late spring or summer with proper care. While this plant is quite easy to care for, there are a few things to keep in mind when growing it indoors. The following sections will provide you with everything you need to know about caring for your trailing vine.
Light and Location
The String of Pearls plant requires bright, indirect sunlight to maintain its shape and prevent stretching. If possible, place your plant near a south- or west-facing window. If you cannot provide optimal conditions, you can supplement with artificial light for 12 to 16 hours per day.
Avoid placing your plant in a draft or near heating vents when choosing a location. Take advantage of their trailing habit and allow the stems to hang down the sides of the container, don’t keep them cooped up inside. It doesn’t look attractive and is a wasted opportunity.
This plant is a succulent and, as such, does not require a lot of water. In fact, overwatering can be fatal. Don’t water for a while after a session so that the soil dries out before watering thoroughly. Check the soil moisture with your fingers before watering. Water more often during the summer months than in the winter.
Keep the plant away from cold drafts. The ideal temperature range is between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. And between 55 to 60 degrees in winter.
This vine prefers a dry climate, but it can easily tolerate high humidity. Unlike other succulents that rot in too much moisture, you can easily pair this up with humidity-hungry plants without worry. But consider moving it to a drier location anyway, as this has the added benefit of increasing the chances of blooms in the flowering season.
This plant doesn’t really need fertilizer, per se, but it won’t hurt either. Feed your String of Pearls once a month with a succulent fertilizer during the spring and summer months. Do not fertilize during the winter months.
Pruning is not only necessary for this plant but also relatively easy. Simply cut back the stems to the desired length using a sharp knife or pruning shears. Make sure to sterilize before cutting to avoid any potential problems.
The plant will quickly grow back, often even bushier than before. You can also use the cuttings to propagate new plants.
String of Pearls will flower in late spring and summer. The flowers are small and white with thin white hairs and red stamens. Indoor plants don’t always flower, but you can increase the plant’s chances with dry conditions.
Propagating String of Pearls
String of Pearls can be propagated by stem cuttings or division.
By stem cutting
- Take a 4- to 6-inch cutting from the tip of a healthy stem in late spring or summer.
- Clean away the leaves from the bottom 2 inches of the cutting.
- Plant the cutting in a well-draining succulent or cactus mix and water lightly.
- Place the pot in a bright location.
- The cutting should root from the nodes underground within 4 to 6 weeks.
- Gently lift up the plant from its pot and divide it into 2 or 3 sections, ensuring each section has several leaves and roots.
- Replant the sections in individual pots and water lightly. Place the pots in a bright location, preferably warm too.
- The divisions should root within a couple of weeks.
Both propagation methods will produce new String of Pearls plants that are identical to the parent plant. Note that you can also propagate using seeds, but they are rarely available and take a long time to reach maturity.
Potting and Repotting String of Pearls
String of Pearls does best in a well-draining succulent mix. You can make your own mix or get a commercial mix from your local garden center. When its roots are tightly constrained, it thrives, so use a small pot. A 4-inch pot is ideal.
This fast-growing vine will need to be repotted every 1 to 2 years. When repotting, use a well-draining succulent mix and a pot with at least one hole in the bottom, preferably more.
Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one to prevent overpotting. In late winter or early spring, carefully remove it from its pot before the plant starts growing actively. Tease out the roots and replant in a new pot with a fresh succulent mix. Water lightly and wait for the plant to become established.
The sap of this plant is toxic and can cause skin irritation. Avoid contact with skin and eyes. Ingesting the plant might cause mild vomiting and diarrhea, whereas coming into contact is known to cause dermatitis. Use gloves for safety when handling this plant.
This hardy plant is not susceptible to many pests or diseases. However, mealybugs and aphids may occasionally be a problem. These can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Everything You Need to Know About the String of Pearls Plant (Video)
How To Propagate String of Pearls?
String of Pearls can be propagated by stem cuttings or division. The division is best carried out when it’s time for the annual repotting. You can also propagate by seeds, but they aren’t readily available.
How To Care for String of Pearls?
These vines require bright light. They also need a well-draining succulent mix and should be repotted every 1 to 2 years. 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures in summer and 50-60 degrees in winter are optimal. The sap is toxic, so use gloves when handling it. Mealybugs and aphids are occasional visitors that you can control with rubbing alcohol.
How Often To Water String of Pearls?
In its natural habitat, String of Pearls receives very little water. These vines are adapted to store water in their leaves so they can go long periods without being watered. When you do water, make sure the potting mix is completely dry before adding more water. Water the plant about once a week during the growing season and less so in winter.
How To Make String of Pearls Fuller?
String of Pearls will fill out somewhat slowly. If you want to make it fuller, simply pinch off the growing tips occasionally. This will encourage the plant to produce more side shoots.