The string of pearls plant is a relatively low-maintenance plant to care for. Also known as Senecio rowleyanus, it is a popular succulent houseplant. It is known for its long, trailing stems that are covered in pea-shaped leaves.
String of pearls are native to South Africa, where they grow in rocky, well-drained soil. They are relatively drought-tolerant and can survive in low humidity environments. We’re sharing all the info you would need to keep your string of pearls plant growing and thriving in this care guide!
Caring for String of Pearls
This is a relatively low-maintenance plant to care for, but there are a few things you need to know to keep a string of pearls healthy and thriving.
String of pearls plants need bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so it is best to place them near a window where they will receive filtered light. Mine is happy on a shelf near a west-facing kitchen window. If you live in a low-light area, you can use a grow light to supplement the natural light.
The ideal humidity level for string of pearls plants is around 40-50%. This is the average humidity level found in most homes.
If your home is particularly dry, you can increase the humidity around your string of pearls plant by misting it occasionally or placing it on a pebble tray filled with water. However, it is important to avoid misting the plant too often, as this can lead to waterlogging and root rot.
String of pearls plants need well-draining soil. A cactus or succulent potting mix is ideal. You can also make your own potting mix by combining equal parts potting soil, perlite, and sand.
Fertilize your string of pearls plant once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength. Do not fertilize during the winter months.
In addition to their attractive foliage, string of pearls can also produce delicate, white flowers with a sweet, cinnamon-like scent. These flowers typically bloom in the summer and can last for several weeks.
To encourage string of pearls plants to flower, give them plenty of bright, indirect light and keep them well-watered during the growing season. You can also fertilize them once a month with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength.
Watering String of Pearls
These are drought-tolerant plants and do not need to be watered often. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. To water, soak the soil thoroughly until water flows out of the drainage holes. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.
Signs String of Pearls Needs Water
Here are a few signs that your String of Pearls plant is thirsty:
- The leaves start to shrivel and wrinkle. This is the most obvious sign that your plant needs water. The leaves will start to lose their plumpness and become soft and wrinkled.
- The leaves turn dull and lose their shine. Healthy String of Pearls leaves have a shiny, translucent quality to them. When the plant is thirsty, the leaves will become dull and opaque.
- The leaves start to drop. If your plant is severely underwatered, the leaves may start to drop off. This is a sign that the plant is in serious distress and needs to be watered immediately.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to water your String of pearls plant. However, it’s important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. The best way to water your plant is to soak the soil until water runs out of the drainage holes. Then, allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.
Additional Watering Tips
Here are some additional tips for watering your string of pearls plant:
- Use room temperature water.
- Water your plant in the morning so that the leaves have time to dry before nightfall.
- Avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can lead to fungal problems.
- If you live in a humid climate, you may only need to water your plant once a month or even less.
- If you live in a dry climate, you may need to water your plant once a week or more.
Propagating String of Pearls
String of pearls plants are easy to propagate in soil from cuttings.
To propagate, simply cut a vine from the plant and allow it to callous over for a day or two. Then, plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil moist and place the cutting in a bright, indirect light location. The cutting should root within a few weeks.
Filling out a Pot
In fact, string of pearls are so easy to propagate that all you need to do is simply wrap a vine around the top of the soil. This is a great method if you’re looking to make a pot fuller. Make sure the vining is directly in contact with the soil. You can use a bobby pin to make sure it stays in place. It should form roots from that point and begin producing new vines and pearls within a few weeks.
Repotting String of Pearls
String of pearls plants do not need to be repotted often. However, here are some tips when that time does come.
When to Repot String of Pearls
Repot the plant every year or two, or when it outgrows its pot. You will know that it is time to repot when the roots are growing out of the drainage holes or when the plant is becoming rootbound.
How to Repot String of Pearl Plants
The main issue with repotting string of pearls is to watch out for stem and leaf breakage. They are delicate and need to be treated carefully.
What you will need:
- A new pot that is one size larger than the current pot
- Well-draining potting mix
- A chopstick or other long, thin object (optional)
- Water the plant thoroughly the day before repotting. This will help to loosen the roots.
- Fill the new pot with potting mix, leaving about an inch of space at the top.
- Gently loosen the roots of the plant with your fingers or a chopstick.
- Place the plant in the new pot and fill in around the roots with potting mix.
- Water the plant thoroughly and place it in a bright, indirect light location.
String of Pearls Repotting Trick
To prevent the stems from breaking, you can try repotting the plant upside down. To do this, carefully remove the plant from its pot and place it upside down on a piece of paper or towel. Then, fill the new pot with potting mix and place it over the plant. Gently turn the pot and plant upright, and remove the paper or towel.
More Tips to Repotting String of Pearls
Here are some more tips and tricks to repotting string of pearls:
- Water the plant thoroughly before repotting. This will help to loosen the roots and make the repotting process easier.
- Use a pot that is one size larger than the current pot. The pot should have drainage holes.
- Use a well-draining potting mix. A cactus or succulent mix is ideal. You can also make your own potting mix by combining equal parts potting soil, sand, and perlite.
- Be careful not to overwater the plant after repotting. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
- Place the plant in a bright, indirect light location after repotting. This will help to prevent the plant from becoming stressed.
Common Problems with String of Pearls
The string of pearls plant is relatively low-maintenance to care for, however some issues could involve:
String of pearls plants can drop leaves if they are overwatered, underwatered, or not getting enough light. Check the soil moisture and light levels to make sure the string of pearls is getting the plant care it needs.
Yellowing leaves can be a sign of overwatering or root rot. If you notice yellowing leaves, check the soil moisture and roots. For soggy soil, allow it to dry out completely before watering again. If the roots are brown and mushy, the plant has root rot.
Root rot is the most common problem with string of pearls plants. It is caused by overwatering. If you suspect that your plant has root rot, unpot it and check the roots. If the roots are black and mushy, trim away the affected roots and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining potting mix.
Common Pests Found on String of Pearls
Be sure to check for signs of pests regularly as part of the care for string of pearls. Once an infestation occurs on this plant, it’s difficult to get control of with all the crevices to hide. The most common houseplant pests on string of pearls include:
Mealybugs are small, white insects that can infest string of pearls plants. If you see mealybugs on your String of Pearls plant, you can remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also treat the plant with an insecticidal soap. If it’s a large string of pearls, the best method may be to dunk the whole plant.
Scale is another type of insect that can infest string of pearls plants. These insects are small, brown bumps that attach themselves to the leaves and stems of the plant. To remove scale insects, you can scrape them off with a fingernail or you can treat the plant with an insecticidal soap.
In short, string of pearl plants are a beautiful and easy-to-care-for houseplant. They are perfect for adding a touch of eclectic, yet classy, greenery to any home. With proper care, your string of pearls plant can thrive for many years.