Senecio Peregrinus, or also known as String of Dolphin or Dolphin plant, is the kind of succulent that would make you fall in love with instantly! It’s a rare animal-like variety that develops a beautiful curvy leaves which perfectly resemble a pod of little jumping Dolphins. It is a cross-pollination of Senecio Rowleyanus (String of Pearls) and Senecio Articulatus (hot dog cactus), which can grow up to 15 cm (6 inches) tall.
In general, taking care of String of Dolphin is relatively easy, but considering how challenging it is to find their variety, you may want to give them a bit of extra care and attention. Luckily, we got you covered and listed everything that you need to know about how to take care of one.
Like String of Pearls, the String of Dolphins may easily get sunburned when exposed to too much sun. They are not heat-loving succulent so don't give them direct sunlight when it is getting too hot. If you want to place them together with your other plant collections outside, place them in a shaded spot where they will get indirect or filtered sunlight all day. They are often grown in zone 10 so they are not cold-hardy either.
However, if growing them as a houseplant, you should place them in a south-facing window where they can get at least 6 hours of morning sunlight per day. You may also put them under a T-5 fluorescent or LED Grow Light if needed during winter.
Unlike other succulents, String of Dolphins loves cool air and can withstand temperature as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit during winter. In the summer months or during their growing season, it is ideal for them to have around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, keep in mind that the String of Dolphins are “soft succulent” meaning, they will not survive a hard frost. So if the temperature in your area gets colder than 30 degrees Fahrenheit, it is advisable to plant them in a container where they can easily be transferred inside.
Like most succulents, the String of Dolphins can rot if overwatered. Therefore, choosing a well-draining soil like a cactus/succulent mix and plant them in a container that has drainage holes in the bottom.
On top of that, Dolphins thrive well in a little crowded conditions, so make sure to use a container only a bit larger than them.
Unlike some rare succulents that can get super tricking with watering, it is pretty easy to water String of Dolphin. The best way to do this is by giving them a good soak of water until it runs out the pot’s drainage hole, and allowing the soil to dry completely in between waterings. Do this once per week during their growing seasons (which usually happens in Spring to early Fall) and once per month during their dormant period every winter. You can adjust watering schedule to meet each individual plant’s needs based on your specific area conditions.
Compared to other Senecio like String of pearls, String of Dolphins prefers a bit more watering, which mostly makes them suffer from being under-watered.
So keep in mind to always check their leaves for a sign to help you determine if they lack watering or not.
When you see signs like dull, deflated and dry leaves, that implies that your Dolphin is underwater. On the other hand, if you see squishy, yellow or transparent leaves, it means your Dolphin is getting more water than needed.
String of Dolphins doesn't need much fertilizer, as over-fertilizing it may result in losing its iconic jumping dolphin look. It is best to feed them only once or twice a year at the beginning of spring and when they start to bloom.
While leaf propagation is not an option, you can propagate String of Dolphin easily from stem cuttings. Here is how you do it:
First, pick a sturdy, healthy stem with plump leaves then carefully cut below a leaf using a clean, sharp knife or a pair of scissors. Make sure the stem is around 5" or more. Remove the bottom leaves to expose the stem and let it dry out for about 2 days.
Once the cut end have calloused well, stick it on good draining soil then water the soil deeply. Place the cutting in partial shade, avoid direct sunlight. Slowly introduce it to more sunlight in a course of 1-2 weeks.
Water the cutting again when the top soil is fairly dry. Give your cutting more water in 2-3 weeks or once the roots have formed. Don't forget that the soil needs to be soaked thoroughly and to never let it dry out completely.
When growing indoors, the plant may suffer from spider mites or mealybugs. Spider mites are likely to spin webs on the undersides of the leaves while mealybugs appear as white cottony growth.
In removing mealybugs, try using cotton swabs soaked in rubbing alcohol. For spider mites, bring it outside and spray it with cold water. For more information on how to deal with pests, check out our guide here.
Now, if the procedures above don't solve the issue, using miticide for spider mites and insecticidal soap for the mealybugs might get the job done.
Disease of String of Dolphins is generally limited to fungal issues, which can easily be avoided with proper watering, well-draining soil and a pot that can release excess water.
All in all, String of Dolphins is a beautiful little draping succulent. Whether mixed with other succulents or on its own in a hanging basket, it will definitely give a unique charm. So make sure to properly care for your Dolphins for them to continuously thrive and bring that little ocean spirit into your home.
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