Rubby necklace (Othonna capensis) also known as string of rubies is a unique and attractive succulent with long narrow bean-shaped leaves and purple stems. It blooms throughout its growing season, producing small daisy-like flowers that form on top of the stems.
True to its name, this succulent will transform from lush green to vibrant red when stressed. Ruby necklace looks perfect over a rock wall or in a hanging basket. This is a wonderfully easy-to-care-for plant that can survive neglect.
Native to South Africa, the string of rubies belongs to the Asteraceae family and is closely related to the Senecio genus which includes trailing succulents like the string of bananas, string of pearls, string of hearts, and string of dolphins among others.
Before we dive into how to grow and care for ruby necklace succulent, let’s look at what this plant is all about.
|Well-draining with pH of 6.0-6.5
|6 inches tall and 12 inches wide
|Spring to fall, yellow flowers
|Bright direct sunlight
|Well-draining with a pH of 6.0-6.5
|USDA zones 9a to 11b
|Toxic to pets when ingested
Ruby necklace succulent care
While the string of rubies is considered a resilient plant, it needs some basic care to grow healthy and strong.
The string of rubies is a sun-loving plant and will transform from lush green to ruby red under lots of bright direct sunlight. When growing indoors, place it on a window that receives maximum sunlight, at least 6 hours per day as long as it’s not intense and scorching.
However, if there is not enough light in your room, add artificial grow lights to supplement the natural light. In low light conditions, the ruby necklace will revert to green and the plant can become leggy. When planted outdoors, ensure it receives some shade during the hot afternoon harsh sun.
String of pickles is drought tolerant and it prefers infrequent watering. The succulent can store water in its leaves and stems for an extended period. This makes ruby necklace a perfect bet for people who don’t have time for regular watering.
Like other succulents, overwatering can cause root rot and other fungal problems. To check if your plant needs water, stick your finger in the soil, about two inches deep. If the soil feels dry, water thoroughly until water runs out through the bottom of the pot.
Generally, allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and don’t let your plant sit in any standing water. When potting this plant, it’s best to use a pot with drainage holes at the bottom. Terracotta or pots made from porous material are also best at promoting drainage.
The ruby necklace thrives in well-draining, acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. When growing this plant, use cactus or succulent mix, commercially available in gardening stores. Alternatively, make your own potting mix by combining two parts of regular potting soil, one part of perlite, and one part of sand.
Temperature and humidity
String of rubies is a tropical plant, as such it prefers warm conditions. Average household conditions are ideal for growing ruby necklace succulents. Keep temperatures between 65°-80°F and humidity between between 40-50%. Avoid placing it next to drafty windows, vents, or heating areas.
Ruby necklace doesn’t need regular fertilization. However, you can fertilize a couple of times during the growth season to promote growth and flowering. Use a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength and apply as directed by the manufacturer.
Ruby necklace doesn’t need regular pruning but you can shorten its long stems to keep it in shape. Use a sharp, sterilized pair of scissors or a knife. You can keep the cuttings for propagation if you need to expand your collection or gift the plant to friends or family.
Ruby necklace is a fast-growing succulent, meaning it can outgrow its pot. So, it’s recommended you repot it every 2-3 years in a pot one size larger. Transplant only during the growing season (spring and summer) and handle it with care to avoid causing damage to its delicate stems and leaves.
How to propagate string of rubies succulent
Propagating the string of rubies is relatively easy, and there are a few methods you can use including stem or leaf cuttings, offsets, or division.
Leaf or stem cuttings
Leaf or stem cuttings is the most straightforward method of propagating ruby necklace plant. Here’s how to do it.
- Choose a healthy, mature stem with a few inches of length. Make sure it is free from pests or diseases.
- Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut the stem. Cut just below a leaf node, as this is where roots will likely form. Alternatively, you can obtain a leaf cutting instead of a whole stem.
- Place the cutting in a dry, shaded area for a day or two to allow the cut end to callus. This helps prevent rot when the cutting is planted.
- Once the cut end has callused, plant the cutting in well-draining succulent or cactus soil. Water sparingly, keeping the soil lightly moist until roots develop.
Offsets or division
Ruby necklace succulents may produce offsets or “pups” at the base of the parent plant. You can separate the offsets from the parent plant and grow them in their pots. If your ruby necklace has multiple stems, you can consider dividing the plant.
When separating the pups or a stem from the parent plant, ensure they have their own roots attached. You may use clean, sharp scissors or your hands. Plant each division in its own pot and water lightly. Place the new plants in an area with bright but indirect sunlight.
Once they are established, you can gradually increase the amount of direct sunlight they receive as well as the frequency of watering.
Common pests and diseases
Ruby Necklace succulents, like other plants, can be susceptible to certain diseases and pests. Overwatering or poorly draining soil can promote the growth of fungi that cause root rot. If root damage is detected, remove the affected parts and allow the plant to dry before replanting in fresh soil.
Pests such as aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus gnats are also common on plants that are neglected. These insects are known to feed by sucking sap from the plant causing its health to decline. A white fuzz on the succulent and waxy bumps on stems and leaves are signs of pests.
Insect pests can be manually removed with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Treatment with insecticidal soap or neem oil can also offer a lasting solution. Most importantly, regularly inspect your succulent for signs of pests or diseases and take prompt action before the problem spreads.
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.