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String of Turtles, or Peperomia prostrata, is a unique and incredibly rare type of succulent from Brazil. Often called turtle strings, the plant’s small, circular leaves give a unique feel to any home. Unlike other succulents, String of Turtles has a relatively slow growth rate-- it takes roughly five years to reach full maturity-- making them great for apartments and smaller homes. A good fit for any home jungle, follow this care guide to make your String of Turtles grow happy and healthy:
String of Turtles is a unique mix of succulents and tropical plants in terms of care needs. While it does require many of the same succulent care tips, not all of them are best suited for this delicate plant.
String of Turtles work best indoors, and they love bright, indirect sunlight. Like most plants that thrive on indirect sunlight, keeping your turtle string in full sun will damage leaves and cause discoloration. Be sure to find a spot for your turtles to stay in because they don’t like to move! It may take a while for them to adjust to a new location.
Soil-wise, you’ll need to keep your soil relatively acidic: the best way to do so is by making your own soil mixture using succulent soil, organic matter (like peat, coir, or compost), and inorganic matter (small bits of pumice, gravel, or crushed granite). Try to avoid using premade succulent soil mixtures, and instead consider using mostly peat in your soil-- this will help keep your soil acidic for the plant. Don’t forget to check your soil’s pH levels regularly!
Since the string of turtles has such a long growth period, it may take years for it to reach its full size. Still, repotting your turtles by replacing the soil and fertilizer about once a year at the beginning of the growing season can help the succulents stay happy and healthy. When you replace the soil, check to see if any of your turtles’ roots are too big for the pot-- then you can replace the pot as needed. When you repot your string of turtles, be sure to choose a pot that is at least 10% larger in volume than the plant itself. If you need to get yourself a bigger pot, always take your plant’s measurements beforehand!
Repotting your turtles by replacing the soil and fertilizer about once a year can help the succulents stay happy and healthy
4. Preferred Environment
Unlike most succulents, string of turtles prefer cooler temperatures instead of the warmth most succulent fans have come to know and love. Ideally, try to keep your home between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity-wise, it’s good to keep things humid but to avoid any water residue on your leaves. In winter months, dry seasons, or when the heater’s on, consider running a humidifier nearby on a low setting to keep a constant, stable humidity.
Moist conditions are best for your string of turtles, and between waterings, you’ll need to give the soil some time to dry. Keep the soil moist during the growing season, and do not water again until the top two inches of soil are dry. To ensure your turtles get plenty of water, consider bottom-watering them, especially in the winter. If you need an extra hand with watering, use a moisture meter to help determine when you should water your succulents.
Moist conditions are best for your string of turtles, and between waterings, you’ll need to give the soil some time to dry
It’s always good to fertilize your succulents, and the same goes for your string of turtles! Fertilizing during the growing season will help your string of turtles hold its patterned leaves and stay vibrant throughout the off-season as well. For fertilizer, it is best to look for your traditional houseplant fertilizer (not succulent fertilizer) and dilute it in a 50/50 mixture.
Like most houseplants, string of turtles can contract the usual pests: spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and fungus from overwatering. However, like most Peperomia plants, it isn’t particularly susceptible to any one illness or pest. Instead, its finicky nature may be the cause of any yellowing, discoloration, slow growth, or leaf loss. You may also find your turtle string losing its pattern from underwatering, overwatering, or not having enough nutrients in your soil. Although turtle strings are hardy, they do need attention!
String of turtles is safe for most pets, although like all plants, it doesn’t like being eaten! When choosing your turtles’ home, keep it out of reach from pets, small children, and direct sunlight for the best growing results.
String of turtles is safe for most pets
Your string of turtles should bloom about once or twice a year during the growing season. Its blooms are small, a bit spiky, and white. They appear on the plant between the leaves. Although their blooms don’t do much, you can encourage your string of turtles to bloom with a diluted solution of flowering fertilizer. Like your traditional fertilizing methods during the growing season, dilute your liquid fertilizer solution with a 50/50 mixture of fertilizer and water.
You can propagate your string of turtles using either full cuttings of the plant or just the leaves. To propagate with a cutting, use sharp, clean scissors to cut off a section of the plant just below a node. If you want to bury the node, strip away a few of the leaves close to the base of the cutting. You can also place the cutting on top of your soil, just barely covering the base to propagate it as well. When propagating your string of turtles from a cutting, use the same soil mixture your parent plant has and keep the soil moist by lightly misting it every so often. For leaves, place a leaf cutting partially into your soil mixture and follow the same steps as above.
You don’t usually need to prune your string of turtles, but if you see any leggy or unruly strands, you can prune them off with traditional succulent pruning tools. Be sure not to prune off more than one-third of the plant at a time and save any healthy strands for propagation!
For Types of Succulents Careguide. Read more information here.
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