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How To Care For & Propagate A String Of Pearls Plant


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 the video at the end so you can see for yourself.

string of pearls plant care

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.

Do you want String Of Pearls for your very own?  Then please check out my pop-up String Of Pearls store.   I’m offering cuttings of this fascinating succulent, which range in length from 3 – 10″, direct from a local grower to you!

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.

string of pearls plant care

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 OrnamentsI’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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  1. Hi: Found your site and this article in particular when looking up “sring of pearls” online. I grew a very nice one from a few “pearls” given to me by a friend in the 70’s, and kept it as an indoor plant since we lived in the Chicago area. Then I had babies, we moved to Florida, and the only gardening I did was whatever was necessary – and very few indoor plants. The children are grown and living back in Chicago, but we’ve moved to the Houston, TX area and I’ve gotten really interested in succulents (a great area to grow them outside here!) I’ve aquired a few oddities from clippings from friends: life saver plant, snake plant, etc. and thought of string of pearls to add to my collection but have not seen it in years..

  2. Lillia – Succulents are so easy to take care of & propagate that you’ll be addicted to them in no time. You should be able to find String of Pearls in Houston – I know of one large succulent nursery near there called “Cactus King Nursery”. I’m sure your neighbors have some cuttings to share. We frequently do posts on succulents so be sure to check back. Thank you for your message!

  3. I’ve just purchased what I’ve always called a String of Beads plant. I’ve wanted one since I first saw one as a kid. Thank you for sharing how you care for these. I assumed that they would be similar to the String of Hearts plant, but can see that they are quite a bit different after having transplanted mine from the plastic pot it came in to a ceramic pot I had on hand. I was thankful that I had cactus soil on hand. Having mentioned it, do you happen to have a String of Hearts?

  4. You are certainly welcome – my String of Pearls is very happy & just loves the spot it’s in. I don’t have a String Of Hearts (also commonly called Rosary Vine) but they are very easy plants to maintain also. And yes, you’re certainly right, they are different. String of Pearls is a Senecio & String of Hearts is a Ceropegia.

  5. I live in Phoenix. I found a source for string 0f pears on e-bay. It got t me in great shape and I’ve shared cuttings with neighbors and friends. They only grow indoors here of course.

  6. Paula – I used to live in Tucson so that hot sun would be way to intense for them. They are great house plants & easy to propagate. I’ve given cuttings away to my friends & neighbors too.

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  10. I found a source for string-of-pearls on eBay and my strands are growing beautifully, happy in a wall vase on our covered porch. My question now is: how low of a temperature will they tolerate? Or any succulent plant ? I’ve never grown them outside and we are predicted to have a cold winter here. It hasn’t gone below freezing, but I am concerned that it could while we are traveling over the holidays. Should I take them indoors?

  11. Hi Lilla – We rarely go below freezing or even 40 degrees here in Santa Barbara & min stays outdoors all year long. I’ve heard they’re hardy to 25 degrees but I would think 30-35 would be a much safer bet. There are so many succulents it’s hard to generalize. Some are much more cold hardy than others. I would take your String of Pearls indoors while you’re traveling – a cold snap could do it in. If you’re home & they’re predicting cold temps than try covering it. Happy Holidays!

  12. Hi there,
    How funny! When searching for string of pearls propogation I found your youtube video. I did another search for string of pearls care and came up with this one. The best part was recognizing the plant at the top of your blog post “Hmm.. that pot and trail of pearls looks just like the one in the youtube video”. I had posted a question on youtube so I won’t repeat myself here, but thanks for all the info on this little plant!

  13. You’re welcome – glad you found them both. As a matter fact I was just doing a little pruning on that plant yesterday!

  14. Hi there! Found your post on Pinterest. I do have a String of Pearls plant that I love, but I can’t seem to keep it alive :(. The “strings” that hang down are pretty healthy, but there’s a clump at the “top” of my pot that are short and have dried up. At first I thought I overwatered it, but after being out of town for about 5 days I figured it would be ok and now it looks even less healthy :(. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you for this article :).

  15. Hi Yajaira – I see you love succulents too! String Of Pearls is one succulent that likes water in the warmer months. Depending on how hot the spot is where you have it, you’d need to water it every 2-3 weeks keeping it lightly moist. In the cooler months, back off on the watering. Make sure the water drains all the way through it & out the bottom. Don’t let it stand in any water. Make sure the light is nice & bright but not direct & burning. Hope that helps – happy gardening. Nell

  16. Hi Nell!! Love your website and blog. Just getting into more house plants at the moment and bought a medium sized string of pearls. But while at the checkout realised it wasn’t looking so healthy on top, got a discount and now trying to work out how to salvage the little thing. I think it’s rots have rotted from over watering or something… I think I’ll try and propagate a couple of strings or should i propagate most of it? Any advice would be amazing! Thank you so much 😀

  17. Thank you – we’ll be launching our new website in a few weeks so be sure to come back & visit our site! String Of Pearls is a succulent so you most likely over watered it. You might as well propagate all of it because this plant doesn’t grow too fast. Let the stems heel off for a few weeks & then replant them into succulent & cactus mix. Good luck with that – &, keep them on the drier side. Nell

  18. Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

  19. Thank you!!! Very simple!

  20. Oceanside, CA For years I have purchased the string of pearls plant. I just love the looks of them. The Nuns at school (Years ago…) called them the “Rosary-bead vine”
    I have been very unlucky with this plant though… I thought I was supposed to plant the Beads (seeds I thought) so I was never successful at propagating it and would end up with a plant with a few strings, and try to water it whenever I could till it kinda just rotted. I am going to find a new one here and follow your directions!! Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge with us! God Bless, ellen

  21. Hi Ellen – Rosary Vine or String of Hearts is another plant & not this Senecio. However, they certainly do resemble rosary beads! Go easy on the watering (they do need more in the warmer months) & you’re plant should be just fine. I love sharing information & I’m glad you found it helpful because that’s why I do it. All the best to you, Nell

  22. You’re welcome Sara!

  23. I am glad I found you on pinterest. I plan on doing a youtube video on planting cuttings (succulents ) and you provided wonderful information.

    Thank you.

  24. I’m glad you found us Brandy & the info has been useful for you. We have lots more coming on succulents & do youtube videos also. All the best, Nell

  25. Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted
    to write a little commentt to support you.

  26. Purchased a Strong of Pearls plant in September from a market in Florida. It was not a large plant but had plenty of 4-6 in strings. I brought it home and placed it in indirect sunlight window with other plants that thrive there. The S O P plant turned dark at the soil and began to die off it appeared..yet the ends of the strings stayed green. The soil area is all brown now. Could I have overwatered it??? Or underwatered it? Its now Jan. What to do!???

  27. Hi Shirley – Because the plant turned dark at the soil line, it sounds like you overwatered it. If the “pearls” are looking dry & shriveled a bit, then it dried out. I’m not sure if your other plants are succulents too. If they’re not & you’re watering them at the same time as the SOP plant, then it’s too much. SOPs are succulents which store water in their leaves & stems & especially in the winter, then need even less water. If the pearls are looking fine, you can cut the strings off, heel the stems a bit then replant. Hope that helps! Nell

  28. I grew this as a beautiful indoor hanging plant for years….it was in a corner window that got constant year around light but very little direct sunlight. It trailed pearls about 5 feet in length and never had any problems. Sadly, I moved and my new place gets very little light. My chain of pearls died. I didn’t want to give up so I tried again twice to grow a new one – with the same results. So, I think the key is LOTS of indirect light!

  29. Hi Jackie – Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned! I haven’t grown 1 indoors in ages. Mine grows outdoors & I have it in a spot where it gets indirect light. Succulents (not cacti) with water-filled leaves & stems actually burn in direct sunlight in nature. Fortunately, there are other plants (no succulents) which do well in low light situations. Nell

  30. So elated I found your website and boards to pin. Just bought my String of Pearls from Amazon. Looks great but as soon I unboxed realized it was way too wet. Will place under grow lights to see if that will help it to dry out. Keep up the ideas.

  31. Hi Diane – Glad you found us! String of Pearls is a succulent that takes a little more water than most because those stems are so skinny & don’t store a lot of water. However, it doesn’t like to be soaking wet so let it dry out a bit so those roots can breath. We have a lot more videos & posts coming your way. Happy gardening, Nell

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  33. This is such a beautiful plant! I’ve had little luck with succulents in the past, but I think it was due to overwatering and inadequate drainage, and a simple lack of knowledge. I left my little collection on the porch of my last apartment when I moved, so I wonder if they’ve been nursed back to health…but I did just acquire an empty hanging basket and I think these would be great on my covered front porch. I live in Tucson, so I’ll have to see if these will work in that spot as the position of the sun moves going into summer. Fingers crossed! I’ll have to check back here for some more succulent info c:

  34. Hi Emily – Yes, I love String Of Pearls & am propagating some of the individual pearls right now. How coincidental, I’m coming to Tucson next week. I finished my college years at the U of A & know how hot it gets & how strong the sun is,especially in the summer. String of Pearls likes a little shade here in Southern California so be sure to keep it out of the sun where you are. And, it’s going to need more water too. Most fleshy succulents can take the heat but not the sun. Yes, please check back, lots of vlogs coming your way! All the best, Nell

  35. Hello all!!

    I’ve had my string of pearls plant for many years, it’s very happy in a southern facing window. Over the past year I’ve moved twice so I left my string of pearls in the care of family. ..who have loved it too much and had it sitting in standing water! I just received it home tonight and it’s in sad shape. I dumped any excess water and removed dead strands. I am a little nervous about reporting it in such a weakened state. Thoughts?

  36. Howdy from Germany, I have my string of pearls in my kitchen on a shelf with partial light, it grows fairly slow and the pearls are actually flat not round . I do water once a week, but just a with little water. Now my question is do they just simply grow slow or is there anything else I can do? I had the plant for about 5 months but other than getting a little longer and dropping some of the pearls. By the way a Little FYI in Germany we call this plant Band of peas…..Greetings

  37. Hi Carol – Too much water is the enemy of succulents! There are 2 things you can do & the choice is yours. Let it dry out thoroughly & take your chances that it recovers. Or, you can cut off all the living Strings Of Pearls, let them heel over (where the stems air dry) for about a week & then replant them in new, fresh succulent planting mix. FYI, if it were me, I’d do choice #2. Once a succulent is overwatered & starts to rot, it’s hard to get it to recover because the roots are water logged & deprived of oxygen. I hope that helps! Nell

  38. Hi Birgit – Greeting from California. This is a plant which grows much faster outdoors. Indoors, the growth is much slower. Also, know that all plants, even those indoors, don’t do any growing during the winter months. They don’t really need fertilizer but you could try giving it more light if you can. You should see more growth in the warmer months where the days are longer & sunlight is stronger. Hope that helps, Nell

  39. Hello! Great blog and YouTube video. Do you have any tips how to propogate just the pearls? I ordered a few succlent leafs online to propogate, and for the pearls all I received was three pearls!! Each pearl has a tiny nog where the stem was. Wondering of I should point that end in the soil or keep just above…thanks for any advice 😉

  40. Thank you Keri! Really, I should start selling String Of Pearls – 3 pearls, goodness. Yes, you stick the end that was attached to the stem in the soil. I put it on the top & press it in a hair – not too much. And, I mist the leaves once a week. Actually, I’m waiting for my pearls to root (they take a while!) & will be doing a video on this subject soon. Nell

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  42. Are String Of Pearls poison. I have looked all over for these beauties and my brother found them in Texas. Can’t wait it get them. But wondered if they are poison. Thank you for all the info on taking care of them. Very helpful .

  43. Hi Elaine – You’re very welcome. String of Pearls are considered mildly toxic to cats & dogs but then again, so are so many other plants & houseplants. I’ve found that my cats like to chew on crunchy leaves like bromeliads & palms, not soft fleshy leaves. If its a concern to you, then hang it or put it out of their reach. Hope that helps, Nell

  44. Monique Clouatre

    Maybe a stupid question. Can I make new plants with just the beads in water or soil.

    Thanks for answering me.

    Monique (Québec)

  45. Hi Monique – Not a stupid at all – I’ve been asked that question a few times before & plan to do a video on it soon. Oh yes, you can propagate from the individual pearls but never in water. Make sure you have the end which came off the plant touching or lightly pressed into the soil. That’s the end which roots. The pearls are so small that a terra terra saucer will do fine. When I propagate the leaves of succulents, I lightly spray the soil twice a week. Try to avoid soaking the leaves if you can. Give them nice, bright light but no direct sunlight. I’ve found that it takes a while for the pearls to root so be patient. Hope that helps, Nell

  46. latonya johnson

    Hello, We just purchased our first String Of Pearls. I’m so excited to to have this gorgeous plant and feel, I’m armed with knowledge after reading your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your vast experience with us. l.johnson

  47. Thank you so much l.johnson. I have 3 String of Pearls plants now & love them. Just keep them out of hot sun because they will burn. And, I find they need a bit more water than most succulents because their stems are so small. Enjoy your pearls! Nell

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  50. Love this plant too! I am off to the Garden Centre next weekend to find this plant.

    Keep your great video’s coming

    Wendy B. x

  51. Lots more videos in the queue Wendy! If you can’t find String Of Pearls locally, just remember, we have you covered because we sell cuttings. Nell

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  53. Great info! If anyone is near the Mendocino Coast in California, there’s a wonderful succulent nursery, Simply Succulent, that has String of Pearls and thousands of other succulents and drought tolerant perennials. Located in Ft. Bragg, CA. I love this place.

  54. Hi Cheryl – Thanks for the tip, Northern California readers will appreciate that! I lived in San Francisco for 20 years & love that coast. And, thanks for visiting the blog! Happy gardening, Nell

  55. My SOP is in a oriental pot that has no holes in the bottom but I added rocks inside, it’s shriveled up and I don’t know what to do. Is cat us mix a must or can I sub it for regular potting mix with sand?

  56. Hi Rosie – Succulents require excellent drainage. As I say in some of my videos, succulent mix is not a necessity but it’s what I prefer. If you use potting soil, water even less because it holds more moisture than does the succulent mix. You can add coarse sand (just make sure it’s clean) or perlite to lighten your potting soil for your SOP. Hope that helps, Nell

  57. I have always loved string og pearls ? was over excited when I saw 1 little 4in plant at Walmart so much that I shared it with two other friends ! Sad to say theirs were dead within days and mine is bairly hanging on maybe 10 pearls ! Very hard to find in Wyoming for some reason . Ive been trying to just give it a spritz if it dies could be years before I see another one ! I had to have the florest order me astring of hearts which I paid plenty for and have shared with many . Your pearls are Awesome ! My Grandma use ti grow them in her hiuse

  58. Hi Angie – Sounds like you love String Of Pearls as much as I do! I now have 4 of them & don’t do anything to them except give them water every 2 weeks or so. You can propagate them from the individual pearls although it’s a much slower way to do it. Thanks for stopping by, Nell

  59. Hi . I live New York .I have grown String of Pearls as a house plant for years. I have a large kitchen window that warms nicely and gets lots of sun . When it get too long I just clip it and stick it back into the pot .In the winter when the heat is on and plants tend to dry out faster. I top it with a little moss . I have had my String of Pearls for about 6 yrs.

  60. Good to know Colleen, thanks for sharing so others can read & learn from what you’re doing right. It’s nice that your String Of Pearls has had longevity. Best, Nell

  61. Hi Nell

    I am wondering about getting a String of Pearls plant for our bathroom. It would go in a window that is not that bright, and it would also get quite a bit of steam as the ceiling is low. Do you think it would be ok in there? If not, could you recommend any other trailing plants that might?
    Many thanks! Beatrice

  62. Hi Beatrice – String Of Pearls would not be the best choice because they like brighter light & drier air. You can’t go won’t with Pothos, the old standby for low light. They come in many beautiful foliage colors & patterns now. Heartleaf Philodendron is another classic. Non-variegated Hoyas or Peperomias would be worth a try as many of them are tropical succulents. Hope the helps! Nell

  63. Hi Nell!

    I visit your site regularly and love your advice! I’m betting you’ve heard similar stories to mine by now but I wanted to share about my tough little string of pearls. I’m living in a tiny apartment in Nashville TN with two small north facing windows. Also, a big Bradford pear is growing right in front of them…so I pretty much have no natural light. But in spite of all that, my little s.o.p. from Home Depot has been growing like wild from the ends, sprouting all sorts of new peas. It hasn’t stretched out even though it is November and it seems to be very happy on my windowsill.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  64. Hi Beth – That’s great to know, thank you for sharing! Sometimes when you buy plants from places like Home Depot they aren’t optimally cared for that’s a testament to how tough these delicate looking plants really are. I’m glad you’re enjoying my site, & stay tuned, because I have a lot of videos & posts planned for next year. Thank you for stopping by & a very Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Hugs from California, Nell

  65. Hi Nell,
    I loved your video on “how to propagate strings of pearls’, I got 2 strings given to me by friends, I have managed to kill one string, not sure what I have done wrong, can you please help?
    this is what i have done since i got them:
    -I have left the end to dry when they were first cut off.
    -they are in succulent soil
    -water every 4 days to a week
    -its been almost a month, all pears in 1 string had all dried up and turned yellow

    Thanks for your help

  66. Hi Gabrielle – Thanks for watching the video – glad you enjoyed it. I let the ends dry off for a few days max because the stems are so narrow. If you’re watering every 4 days, that’s likely the cause. I propagate my String Of Pearls outdoors & water them every 7-10 days. Indoors, you may need to water less depending on the temps of your home. When propagating SOP, you don’t want the soil to dry out completely but you don’t want to keep it constantly moist. Make sure they’re in bright light but no direct sun. Hope that helps! Nell

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