Updated May 2023
String of pearls - Senecio Rowleyanus is a beautiful, cascading succulent that will add that little quirk to any house. The plant grows fast and propagates easily and can grow both indoor and outdoor. If you are looking for a beautiful succulent to grow, Senecio Rowleyanus Strings of pearls is a great choice. And there’re a few care tips that you need to know to care for String of pearls properly.
[Indoors or Outdoors]Should You Grow String of Pearls Indoors or Outdoors?
String of pearls is a delicate hanging succulent that thrives in a warm and dry environment. They are very easy to care for as an indoor houseplant but are also an ideal succulent to grow outdoors, especially if you live in zones 9 and warmer. But in other zones, where the temperature tends to drop lower than 30 degrees Fahrenheit, it's better to grow the String of Pearls in a container, so they can easily be carried indoors for protection.
When grown outdoors, String of Pearls should be placed in a partially shaded spot, where it can be protected from the hot sun in the afternoon, and at the same time, enjoy some bright, indirect morning sunlight.
[Toxicity]Is String of Pearls Toxic?
Although String of Pearls is a beautiful plant to look at, they contain a sap that is toxic to both humans and pets. In humans, accidentally consuming any part of the plant can cause rash, itching, pain, inflammation, dermatitis, or severe skin irritation, and moderate gastrointestinal symptoms, like nausea and vomiting. For animals, eating part of the plant can really be devastating as it can cause lethargy, drooling, itching, and painful skin, leading to your pet's distress.
With that in mind, make sure to place your String of Pearls in a spot away from any of your pets and children's reach, and it's highly recommended to wear gloves when handling.
Either grown indoors or outdoors, String of Pearls plants need to be placed in a spot where it can get at least 6 to 8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day. But again, you have to find a partially shaded spot to grow this plant outdoors.
If kept indoors, place your String of Pearls in a spot where it can receive plenty of strong natural light, like near an east-facing window. Growing it near a South or West-facing window will also do, as long as you place the plant about 5 to 10-inches away from the window, especially if you live in a hot, desert-like area to prevent it from getting sunburnt. In darker, cooler months, consider moving them to a brighter spot or closer to the window to make sure they get all the light they need per day.
String of Pearls plants need to get at least 6 to 8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day.
In case your place doesn’t have enough light for your String of Pearls, then consider putting them 6 - 12 inches under a fluorescent light fixture for about 12- 16 hours of light per day to keep them happy.
String of Pearls are very sensitive to overwatering, so make sure that you give them just enough water. Recommended amount is once every two weeks. One tip to make sure you don't overwater your plant is to check if the soil is half an inch (1.2cm) dry before the next water. During winter time, cut back watering to once per month.
String of pearls are often grown indoor, but it does not mean it can not make a great outdoor plant. For outdoor String of Pearls, it’ll depend on how hot the area is, that you can adjust the number of times to water the plant or you can let the rain does the job for you.
String of Pearls succulent should be kept at average indoor temperature of 70° - 80° degrees Fahrenheit. During winter, keep the plant at cool temperature - around 55° – 60°F. Don’t keep them in drafty areas, or areas with air conditioner and open window as cold air may causes the leaves to drop. String of pearls aren’t frost-tolerant so they’ll need to be moved indoor in the winter.
String of Pearls should be kept at average indoor temperature of 70°F - 80°F.
String of Pearls does not require a lot of humidity to thrive. In fact, this succulent is native to dry areas, so dry air wouldn't do any harm to it. Plus, it can enjoy in almost any standard household humidity setting (about 40% relative humidity).
5. Soil & Pot
Pearls Plant like any succulent need well-draining soil to thrive. Hence, choosing a well-drained pot is the first step to make your spring of hearts happy. Terracotta and unglazed ceramic pots are the two most popular choices thanks to their extraordinary drainage.
Choosing the perfect size of the pot is another important factor for succulents to grow well. The pot need to be big enough to let them fill to the brim, as if the pot is too big for the plant then the soil will stay wet for too long and the pearls resting on that wet soil will get rot. And String of Pearls have very shallow roots so they don’t need a deep pot as well.
Choosing the perfect size of the pot is for String of Pearls to grow well.
Another important thing is to make sure the crowns of the pearls stay at the same level with the top of the pot or at most 0.5 - 1 inch lower than the top, otherwise the aeration will decrease, together with wet soil, the crowns and stems of the plant will get rot easier.
String of pearls are pretty easy to take care of so you can literally start with any kind of succulent potting soil, but sandy soil is preferable. You can follow this mix with 3 part good potting soil and 1 part sharp sand.
Succulents usually don’t need a lot of fertilizer and too much fertilizer can kill Pearls Succulent too. During growth time, they might get fertilized once every 2 or 4 weeks in spring and mid-summer. And no fertilizer is needed for fall and winter. And the fertilizer should be weakened to not overwhelm the plant.
String of pearls bloom tiny white flowers with scent like cinnamon. To encourage spring flowers, cut back on watering and keep the plant in a consistent temperature of 60 degree during winter. Cool and dry condition during winter often promote blooming during summer. The blooming period will last around 1 month.
String of pearls bloom tiny white flowers with scent like cinnamon.
Propagating String of Pearls is easy because they have very shallow root and grow new root easily. The easiest way is to use cuttings. You just need a healthy 3-4 in long cutting to start propagating, just lay the cutting down on the soil and press down lightly, root will gradually grow out of the cutting. Or another way is to strip some leaves off the cutting then put that stem in the soil so that the soil covers the growth nodes (where the leaves grow), then the roots will grow out. From this rooted cutting give the soil a little misting to keep it moist until the new plant is established and starts to grow.
Strings of pearls are very delicate plants with shallow root systems. This means that there is no need to repot this succulent every year, as long as you see that it's still growing well in its current vessel. But as soon as you see that your String of Pearls has become too big for its pot, it doesn't grow as well as it used to anymore, or you noticed that the plant has become rootbound, then it's time to transplant it to a bigger pot (about 10% larger in both the diameter and height of the plant).
Again, String of Pearls are delicate, so you have to handle them gently whenever you repot them and make sure the soil is dry and to do it at the beginning of its growing season, which is in Spring.
It's best to repot String of Pearls at the beginning of its growing season.
Step 1: Gently bring or fold the trailing stems up to the center top of the plant.
Step 2: If you grew your String of Pearls in a hanging basket, it would be better to remove the clips and hooks for hanging first, so it wouldn't get in your way while you repot the plant and also to lessen the damage to the beads.
Step 3: Gently place one hand on top of the plant and flip the pot over for the plant to slide out. To help loosen the soil, gently squeeze or tap the bottom of the pot. You can also try cutting the pot and tearing it open instead. This way, you can remove your String of Pearls from the pot without damaging any of its fragile beads.
Step 4:Prepare your cactus or succulent soil mix. You can add either perlite or coarse sand to promote better drainage and pack it tightly around the side of its new pot to provide room in the center where your String of Pearls goes.
Step 5: Carefully place your String of Pearls in the pot, then put some soil again around the plant and make sure to fill in any open spaces.
Once you are done, you may now place your newly potted plant in a bright location away from direct sun. Also, during the process, a few beads may fall off from your String of Pearls. When this happens, simply place them back in the pot with the hope that they’ll root and grow a whole new plant.
From time to time, pruning may become necessary as part of a string of pearls care, especially when they have become leggy or etiolated (usually due to lack of sunlight) and to maintain their size or to freshen them back up.
To prune, simply trim off any dead stems and pearls or parts that have grown leggy, as well as any stems that have lost a lot of their beads using a pair of clean, sharp scissors.
In case you have snipped off any healthy pieces that have grown too long, you can propagate them and grow as a whole new String of Pearls.
It can be tricky sometimes while growing the String of Pearls. In other words, if they not cared properly, these striking succulents can die. However, if you spot any of these common problems in your succulent and take action right away, they would be healthy and happy.
Shriveling String of Pearls
Shriveling of leaves and stem are evident indications that your String of Pearls is not receiving proper care. You might wonder why this striking plant shrivels. Well, here are some common reasons for shriveled leaves in your succulent.
- Underwatering: Although string of pearls stores water in their leaves, they need proper watering to stay healthy. When their water storage runs down, their little round leaves begin to shrivel. Keep in mind that a young succulent will need more water than the matured ones.
- Overwatering can also lead to leaves shriveling in string of pearls. When you give them more water than they can handle, the leaves will literally burst and give the plant a shriveled and mushy look.
- Inappropriate Sunlight: Too much or too little sunlight can also make your plant shriveled. If you notice its beads are developing scars and leaves are becoming dry, it is clear that your string of pearls has begun to get burned by the scorching sun. Move your succulent to a place where it doesn’t get direct sunlight.
Using the regular garden soil mix can lead to root rots since the medium is too heavy and has a high water holding capacity. As we all know, succulents do not want to sit in wet soil for too long so well-drained and porous soil is crucial in preventing root rotting in succulents.
Overdoing the fertilizer can lead to root damage which makes the plant weak. You may inspect these signs if your String of Pearls has been over-fertilized: stunted growth, discoloration, brown foliage and burnt roots.
String of Pearls Leaves Falling
If you notice that your string of pearls leaves are falling, that means you have kept them in drafty locations, where the temperature is mild or cold. This succulent thrives well in average room temperatures. Therefore, if you keep your string of pearls outdoors, and it begin dropping leaves, move your plant indoor right away.
Aphids, mites, whiteflies, gnats, mealybugs, and ants are common bugs attracted to String of pearls. Insects often overtake it if the plant is unhealthy, and make your succulent leaves turning yellow, dropping or sooty. To fix it, use an insecticidal soap or a spray of water to remove these insects.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it hard to keep String of Pearls alive?
String of pearls is a delicate hanging succulent that thrives in a warm and dry environment. They are very easy to care and require minimal effort to keep flourishing as an indoor houseplant but are also an ideal succulent to grow outdoors, especially if you live in zones 9 and warmer.
2. How to make the string of pearls fuller?
To make your String of Pearls look fuller, trim the plant down and add the cuttings to the top of the plant. The stem cuttings will root in a few weeks and will start growing like regular plants. You can keep doing this whenever your plant grows really long.
3. Why does my string of pearls keep dying?
The String of Pearls plant keeps dying mostly due to watering too often or the soil retains too much moisture which turns the pearls brown or yellow and mushy. This plant requires the soil to dry out between the watering frequency to prevent dying from root rot.
Check out this quick video to see best tips to care for String of Pearls plant!
See more about COMMON PROBLEMS OF STRING OF PEARLS AND HOW TO FIX THEM
Find out more other Types of Succulents Care Guide.
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