String of Pearls, or Senecio rowleyanus, had me at first sight – I knew that was a plant I wanted for my very own one day. When I moved to Santa Barbara quite a few pots had been left behind at my home by the previous owner so I zoomed in on one of them as a home for a String of Pearls. Fortunately, they are easy to find here so 4 years ago I bought a 2″ plant and in it went into the large pot on the patio outside my dining room to live with the Coprosma, Plectranus and whatever seasonal annuals catch my fancy . It grew fairly fast and tends to trail rather than spread so I figured it was time for a little propagation. Now I’m going to share with you how easy it is to propagate and care for these fascinating succulents. Be sure to check out our video The Simple Way To Propagate A String Of Pearls Plant so you can see for yourself.
As you evident in the picture above, I’ve been cutting them off when they hit ground. They trail down about 3′ and where they’ve been cut, a split or 2 occurs and they keep on growing from there. This would usually trigger any other plant to spread but with this one, it just keeps growing lengthwise and not widthwise. So it was time to pull out my floral nips with their long pointed blades and get busy. I cut off a few of those long, slender stems and stripped the top round leaves (aka “the pearls) off so I could stick those stems right back into the pot. I make sure at least 3 or 4 leaf nodes are down into the soil – that’s where the roots emerge from. This pot is filled with a good organic potting soil and regularly top dressed with both compost and worm compost so no soil prep is necessary here. I have lots of succulents in my yard which I normally heal off but with these stems being so minuscule in diameter, I skip that step and just directly plant them back in.
Now it’s time to share with you how I care for my String of Pearls plant. The light exposure is bright but not direct – the Coprosma shades it from any direct afternoon sunlight. Soil that is well drained, such as a potting soil or cactus mix, is very important because they like to completely dry out between waterings. Those round little pearls store water in them. Like any succulent, what I am going to tell you next is important to it’s survival – do not overwater this plant. I can selectively and routinely water the Coprosma, Plectranthus and annuals, giving the String of Pearls a drink when I feel it needs it. As for insects and diseases, mine stays free and clear so there’s no personal advice I can give on that. By the way, they do flower but the small white, fuzzy blooms are pretty insignificant. This plant is popular because it’s unusual and a conversion piece, not for a showy flower display.
So there’s an up close and personal of those adorable little leaves which I call “peas”. I’ve never grown String of Pearls as a houseplant but would be curious to know if any of you have. Have you had any success with it? Please do tell if you have.
Oh, please be sure to check out our book Mother Nature Inspired Christmas Ornaments. I’ve used cuttings of this plant to adorn some of the ornaments I made in the book. After the holidays were over and the ornaments were packed away, I planted those String Of Pearls cuttings in another container. I now have even more to design with!
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