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How To Care For & Propagate A String Of Pearls Plant

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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26 comments:

  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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  11. 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?

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

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

  15. 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 :).

  16. 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

  17. 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 :D

  18. 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

  19. Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

  20. Thank you!!! Very simple!

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. You’re welcome Sara!

  24. 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.

  25. 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

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

  27. 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!???

  28. 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

  29. 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!

  30. 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

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