When I saw my first String of Pearls plant or Senecio rowleyanus, it was love at first sight. I knew I wanted one of my very own. When I moved to Santa Barbara, my home’s previous owner left behind quite a few pots of all sizes. It didn’t take me long to grab one of them for propagating a String of Pearls plant.
A String of Pearls plant tends to form long trails instead of spreading out when growing. Mine grew rather fast outdoors in the warm temperate climate so it wasn’t long before I knew it was time to propagate. The trails got to be 5′ long!
Propagating a String of Pearls Plant is Simple
Since String of Pearls tends to grow lengthwise more than spreading, I usually took cuttings when they start hitting the ground. I now live in Tucson where my String Of Pearls grows outdoors in a hanging pot. I don’t want it to get much more than 30″ long so it was time to have at it with the floral nips. As you can see in the video, once you begin pruning and taking cuttings, this plant tends to branch or fork a time or two (or three) at the cutting point.
1.) Cuttings from String of Pearls
2.) 4″ or 6” Grow Pot
3.) Succulent and Cactus Mix
I generally use one made locally, but there are other great brands on the market. If you don’t have access to a local mixture, here’s 1 you can buy online. You may want to up the ante on the drainage factor which lessens the chance of rot by adding some pumice or perlite.
Quick Tip! Remember to use only a succulent and cactus mix for these plants. This mixture is loose and allows the roots to form quickly. It also allows water to drain freely, preventing root rot. The fact that it’s well-aerated means the roots get the oxygen they need.
Most of my houseplants receive a light application of worm compost with a light layer of compost over that every spring. Easy does it – 1/4 to 1/2? layer of each for a larger sized houseplant. Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here.
4.) Floral Pins
While not necessary, they’re helping to keep handy for thinner, top-heavy cuttings like this. They help keep them in place while the roots take. These aren’t a 1-time wonder – you can reuse them for years.
I found that chopsticks are a handy tool for creating holes to plant thinner stems which don’t have natural “poking power”.
6.) Fiskars Nippers
These are my go-to cutting tool for delicate jobs like this one. I’ve had them for years & use them a LOT.
Once you have all your materials together, it’s time to get planting!
In the process of planting the cuttings. I prefer to use a chopstick it was beastly hot when I was doing this & was too lazy to go back to the house to get 1. A little trowel like this works fine too. That’s a floral pin next to the pot.
Steps to Propagating a String of Pearls
1. Take cuttings, just below a leaf node, from your String of Pearls plant. With thin stemmed cuttings like this, I typically let them heal for 1 to 3 days before I plant. Tucson is hot so I only let the cuttings heal over for 1 day. However, you can plant them right away if necessary.
2. Fill your growth pot with the succulent & cactus mixture.
3. Use the chopstick to make holes in the soil. Each cutting needs its hole. I often make 1 big hole & put 2 cuttings in it.
4. Strip off the top leaves (the pearls) before planting in the soil. When planting makes sure you get at least 3 or 4 leaf nodes into the dirt.
5. Secure the cuttings with your floral pins. When it comes time to transplant the cuttings into a new pot, don’t forget to save the pins. They are reusable and oh, so handy.
6. Let your new plantings settle in for a couple of days. Then, give them a good watering.
Here you can see the pearls stripped off the stems. And my, those stems are thin!
How to Care for Your Cuttings
Place them in bright light but out of any direct hot sun. They’ll burn in a heartbeat. Mine go in my utility room which has a skylight. As to watering, you want to keep them lightly moist but not soaking wet. This is where the succulent & cactus mix helps out. Don’t let them completely dry out either.
How often you water them depends on your environmental conditions. I live in the Arizona desert where it’s warm, dry and very sunny. My String of Pearls cuttings get watered every 5-7 days.
After I propagate String of Pearls, I give them about 3-5 weeks to let the roots grow and develop. If you take the cutting out and they haven’t rooted, no worries. Just plant them back in the mix. I’ll transplant these cuttings I took into the purple hanging basket along with the String Of Bananas cuttings. I took out a String Of Hearts plant and they’ll fill in the empty space in that container in no time.
The cuttings on their way to rooting. A large pot isn’t necessary because String Of Pearls doesn’t have an extensive root system.
Of course, your new plants may not hang far over the edge of their new basket but give them time. The String of Pearls grows most during the warmer spring and summer months. If you live in a warmer climate, they are an excellent addition to your outdoor patio space. However, they also do just fine indoors as well with proper care.
When Do You Propagate a String of Pearls?
During the winter months, the Sting of Pearl’s growth slows way down. It’s best to propagate these plants during the spring or summer. Early fall is fine too if you’re in a warmer climate.
Propagating String of Pearls only takes a few minutes and a little patience. Watch the video and you’ll see. This is the way I prefer to do it but you can also propagate them by the individual pearls. I’m way too impatient for that. I’ve never tried rooting the cuttings in water; have you?
Once you have 1 String Of Pearls plant, you’re sure to want more!