The string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is a beautiful succulent native to the drier regions of southwestern Africa. This plant features long, trailing stems that can ascend downwards over the sides of a hanging basket. The leaves are spherical, resembling tiny pears or a string of beads.
This succulent is commonly grown in hanging baskets placed on high shelves ceiling beams or tall plant stands to showcase its trailing nature. It can also be grown outdoors in suitable climates. This succulent can be harmful if ingested, so keep it away from children and pets.
Rooting stem cuttings is the easiest way to propagate a string of pearls. It is an easy DIY process that only takes a few weeks to give more plants that you can share or add to your collection. The cuttings can be rooted directly into the potting soil or in water before they are transplanted.
How to propagate a string of pearls succulent
The best time to propagate the string of pearls succulent is during spring and summer. This is when the plant is actively growing and you’ll have the most successful rooting process. In the fall and winter temperatures are too low and propagating a succulent can result in the rotting of the cuttings.
To propagate a string of pearls, you’ll need a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears, a small potting container with drainage holes, a well-draining succulent or cactus potting mix, and some rooting hormone (optional).
This plant thrives in well-draining soil and you may need to add some pumice to your cactus mix to make it lighter.
- Choose a long, healthy stem from your string of pearls plant to use as a cutting. Make sure the stem has several sets of leaves and is free from any signs of damage or disease.
- Using the scissors or pruning shears, make a clean cut just below a set of leaves. Aim for a cutting that is about 4 to 6 inches in length.
- Place the cutting in a cool dry place and allow it to dry out for 3 to 5 days. This helps the cut end callus over, which reduces the chances of rotting when planted.
- In the meantime, fill your potting container with a well-draining succulent or cactus potting mix.
- Create a small hole in the potting mix and gently place the cut end of the stem into the hole. You may apply a rooting hormone on the cut end of the cutting before planting but it’s not essential.
- Press the soil around the stem cutting to secure it in place and apply a small amount of water just enough to lightly moisten the soil. Overwatering may cause the cutting to rot.
- Place the pot in a bright location with indirect sunlight. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
- Regularly inspect the project and water the cutting when the top 2 inches of the soil feel dry. You can insert your finger in the soil to test for the moisture level before watering.
- String of pearls cutting may take several weeks to root so be patient and provide the necessary care.
- Once the cutting has successfully rooted, you will notice some new growth on the stem. You can now transplant it to your preferred location.
Note: You can also propagate a string of pearls plant in water. The procedure of taking a cutting remains the same but instead of planting the cutting directly in the soil, you can root it in a small container of water and then transplant it into your preferred succulent mix once it has rooted.
String of pearls post-propagation care
The string of pearls succulents is easy to care for. Here is what you need to provide:
Bright indirect light
The string of beads succulent needs bright indirect light to thrive. Exposing them to too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves. On the other hand, insufficient sunlight cause these succulents to get etiolated. Indoors, grow it near an east-facing window or a south-facing window with sheer curtains.
Senecio rowleyanus prefers well-draining soil. A cactus or succulent mix is ideal when potting or repotting the string of pearls plant. You can also make your own sharply draining potting mix by adding pumice or sand to a standard potting. These plants are susceptible to root rot so make sure they are not sitting in any standing water.
Strings of pearls plants are drought tolerant and they like it when the soil is on the drier side. Water the succulent thoroughly when the soil is completely dry until the excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot. Avoid overwatering strings of pearls as it can cause root rot and other fungal problems.
The string of pearls plant thrives in warm temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F. During winter bring the plant indoors to prevent frost damage but keep them in a cool place with a temperature range of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
These plants also prefer low humidity. Avoid placing them in any humid areas of your home, including the kitchen or bathroom.
You can fertilize the String of Pearls plants once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength. If your plant is growing too tall, you can trim it back to keep it compact, which also encourages new growth.
Over time, the string of pearls succulent may outgrow its pot. This can result in nutritional problems as roots won’t take up nutrients and water as needed when they are heavily entangled. To prevent this problem, repot this succulent every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its pot.
When repotting, use a pot a size bigger than the current one and make sure it has drainage holes. You may reuse your potting soil if it is still in good condition but it’s recommended to use fresh soil mix.
Inspecting your String of Pearls plants regularly can help in the early identification of common problems including insect pests and root rot for early treatment. Through inspection, you can also tell when the plant needs water or when it needs more light.
The string of pearls succulents are relatively easy to grow and maintain. They are beautiful plants suitable for hanging baskets. You can propagate this plant easily from stem cuttings if you want to expand your collection or gift the succulent to some of your friends or family.
My name is Diane M Lewik, and I am the founder of this website. I am a degree holder in plant biology from the University of California – Berkeley. Over years, I have cultivated a vast collection of succulents and I have learned a great deal about how to grow and care for these unique plants.