Rejuvenating My String Of Pearls Plant

My String of Pearls plant, or Senecio rowleyanus, took a bit of a nosedive. Alright, truth be told, it’s a shadow of its former self. Fortunately it’s on the road to recovery and because it grows fairly fast, it should be looking all plump, sassy and filled out by next Spring. Read on to find out what happened and how I’m rejuvenating it.

looking into a beautiful Southern California garden with a gravel hardscape & bright blue patio set

This is the entry into my front garden. The aforementioned succulent grows in a pot on a patio at the end of the pathway.

The String Of Pearls was growing along happily as can be last year and I had to routinely prune its long trails up off the patio. You can see its glory days in this post here. Then, late last Fall, my neighbor cut down another large pine tree that filtered out some of the strong afternoon sun that streamed into the garden.

Fast forward, we had a very dry and very warm Winter followed by a copy cat Spring. This, along with my “neglect by habit”, caused the String Of Pearls to head south. Dried pearls are nowhere near as purdy as those fresh green ones.

Related: Tips For Growing A String Of Pearls Outdoors, 10 Reasons You May Be Having Problems Growing String Of Pearls Indoors, Repotting String Of Pearls: The Soil Mix To Use & The Steps To Take, String Of Pearls Q&A

4' trails of string of pearls succulent trailing over a large pot
Here are my pearls cascading over & down the pot last Spring. I  had to prune them up off the patio every 2 months in the growing season.
a large ceramic pot with sparse stems of string of pearls trailing over it
Here they are this October, boo hoo. A mere wisp of their former selves. You can see more of them in the video below.

What I mean when I said “neglect by habit” is that I don’t water my succulents in the Winter (except for those on my covered porch). The days get shorter, the weather cools and the rains come so there’s need.

Plus, even plants in a temperate climate like Santa Barbara need to go through a period of rest when they’re not actively growing.  But, our California drought has taken its toll, even on some of the succulents.

No time for crying.  I took action. First, I cut out all the strands with the dried pearls except for one.

I took as many cuttings from this plant as I could from the strands that were growing on the ground or had branched off the main strand. I also took a cutting from a plant in another pot which you’ll see a few pics down.

a hand holds an unhealthy string of pearls stem & a healthy string of pearls stem
I’ve cut the dried String Of Pearls out but left 1 strand so I could show you how different it looks.
short & scraggly stems of string of pearls growing out of a pot
Here are some of  cuttings with those nice, plump pearls rooting in as you read this.

As the icing on the cake to celebrate the onset of my plant’s recovery, I added and top dressed with my favorite amendment: worm castings.  These are great for succulents because work slowly and last a long time.

Read why I think worm castings are the cat’s meow here.

a broken blue pot sits in a garden with succulents growing out of it
You can see the String Of Pearls peeking out from underneath my Aeonium Suncup.  It’s very happy in the crack of this broken pot. I cut a couple of the strings which were trailing onto the ground & had rooted to use as cuttings to plant in the other pot.
close up view of string of pearls stems growing out of a pot
These pearls are very happy underneath the cover of the Aeonium. Partial sun, protected from hot, direct rays, is best for String Of Pearls. See how nice & succulent they are?

There you have it, plain and simple, even a well-seasoned plant person like myself can run into “horticultural issues” every now and then. I just wanted to share this in case something similar happens to you.

Fortunately, succulents are easy as can be to propagate by cuttings so I’ll do a video next Spring to show you how they’ve progressed. Phew … I’ve redeemed my green thumb in stellar standing!

4" pots of string of pearls succulents on a nursery bench
This is what my String Of Pearls looked like in the greenhouse when I bought it as a little 4″ young’un.

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  1. How do I make my SOP look fuller? It had a near death experience when it got too dry a little while ago, but I managed to save some strings and now they’re growing alright, but look very scanty. Propagate more and tuck them into the soil with the exising strands?

  2. What is the rosary plant called as my grandma use to.have all the time but I’ve looked for years and can’t find thanks

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