The Habitat
Share to PinterestCreate Calm at Home with String of Pearls Plants
HomeIndoor plants

How to Successfully Grow and Maintain a String of Pearls Plant?

By Max Day
Share to PinterestCreate Calm at Home with String of Pearls Plants

The mysterious string of pearls plant has captured the attention of plant enthusiasts everywhere. Although native to southwest Africa, this draping succulent vine has adapted to houseplant life with ease. Today, they are the envy of collectors. Their sweet, spherical leaves are strung along a delicate thread in an almost unnatural way. All it takes is one look at a string of pearls plant to understand why they became such a novelty.


Potting your pearls

Share to Pintereststring of pearls succulent

When you're ready to plant your new string of pearls, be sure the pearls at the base of the string closest to the root ball are level with or slightly below the edge of the pot. Allow the length to dangle over the edges for that classic silhouette. Experts recommend against planting string of pearls plants in the ground.


Perfect pots for perfect pearls

Share to PinterestPots for string of pearls plant.
sanddebeautheil / Getty Images

The root system of a string of pearls plant is short and fragile, so it's best to pot them in small, shallow pots. Potting a small specimen in a large pot exposes the plant to root rot from the excess moisture retention. Instead, choose a pot just an inch or two larger in diameter than the pot from which you're removing it. These succulents need to breathe, so be sure to pot them in unglazed ceramic pots with drain holes for maximum aeration.


Succulent soil for your strings

Share to PinterestSandy soil for string of pearls plant.
Moyo Studio / Getty Images

Commercial succulent mixes are sandy and gritty — perfect for the string of pearls plant. These succulent types do not tolerate wet feet, so they require a quick-draining mix. You can make your own soil at home by mixing one part sand with three parts conventional potting mix. The result should crumble rather than retain its shape.


Easy with the water

Share to PinterestFleshy leaves of string of pearls plant.
weisschr / Getty Images

Succulent plants are excellent at retaining moisture in their fleshy leaves. The pearls are full of water that the plant will use over time. As such, water your vine sparingly. Check every two weeks in the summer if the top inch of soil is dry, and water if it is. In the winter months, water once a month. Allow nature to care for any string of pearls kept outside.


Bright, but not harsh

Share to PinterestString of pearls plant by window.
silvia cozzi / Getty Images

Your string of pearls plant will do best in indirect, filtered light. Hang them about a foot away from a window with southern or western exposure for maximum brightness. Pearls kept outdoors will appreciate exclusive shade. Perfect for office spaces, the string of pearls plant will flourish under 8 to 12 hours of fluorescent lighting. Always avoid direct sun.


Propagating your pearls

Share to PinterestPropagating string of pearls plant.
Gheorhge / Getty Images

Like most succulents, the string of pearls plant readily propagates itself. To aid in this process, cut off a 4 to 5 inch piece of the end of a string and place it flat on top of a pot full of soil. Keep the cutting moist, and roots will begin to emerge. Be careful when collecting cuttings as the sap may irritate the skin.


Bugs that may pester your plant

Share to PinterestSpider mite infestation.
BobYue / Getty Images

Although the string of pearls plant does a fine job on its own of defending from insects, an infestation is still possible if its health is compromised. Insects like mealybugs and spider mites will sap the plant of vital nutrients and cause yellowing and rot. Use an insecticidal soap to treat this issue.


Be wary of rot

Share to Pinterestroot rot in house plant

Though immune from most diseases, the string of pearls plant is susceptible to rot like all succulent types. Root rot occurs when dampness weakens the plant's defenses and invites a fungal infection. Rot typically begins at the roots and slowly blooms through the plant. Once signs of rot are visible, there is no saving the plant.


The case for fertilizer

Share to PinterestSpray fertilizer for string of pearls plant.
Hiraman / Getty Images

Plant experts recommend you feed your string of pearls plant every two weeks during the springtime growing season. Commercial fertilizer preparations made specifically for succulents are appropriate, but be sure to dilute the lowest dose so as not to burn the delicate root system. Do not fertilize during the dormant months of fall and winter.


Blooming beauties

Share to PinterestBlooming string of pearls plant.
Jessica Ruscello / Getty Images

The string of pearls plant produces fluffy, little, cinnamon-scented dandelion-like blooms when properly cared for. To make sure your plant blooms in the coming spring, cut back on the water and provide a consistent temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the wintertime. When the next growing season begins, watch the blooms burst forth and enjoy your fluffy bead curtain.


Tendril care

Share to Pinterestpearls plant

Navigating the sunlight conundrum The String of Pearls, with its delicate tendrils, craves sunlight but not the kind that scorches. Think of it as a sunbather who loves the warmth but avoids midday rays. A spot with filtered sunlight, perhaps behind a sheer curtain or under a pergola, is ideal. This ensures the plant gets its dose of brightness without the risk of sunburn, keeping those pearls lush and vibrant.


The art of moistening

Share to Pinterestpearls plant

A watering revelation Watering isn't just about quenching thirst; it's an art. For the String of Pearls, drenching can be detrimental. Instead, focus on moistening. This ensures the roots get just the right amount of moisture, keeping the pearls plump. A gentle misting or using a watering can with a narrow spout can make a world of difference. Remember, it's about hydration, not inundation.


Braving temperature extremes

Share to PinterestCreate Calm at Home with String of Pearls Plants

Every plant has a comfort zone, and the String of Pearls is no different. While it's fairly adaptable, it doesn't favor extreme temperature swings. During particularly hot or cold spells, consider relocating your plant to a more temperate spot in your home. Consistency is key. A stable environment ensures steady growth and a cascade of thriving pearls.



Share to Pinterestpearls plant

The unseen adversary Drafts, whether from an open window or an air conditioner, are the String of Pearls' silent foes. These chilly gusts can stress the plant, leading to drooping or even pearl drop. It's essential to find a cozy, draft-free nook for your plant. In return, it'll reward you with a verdant cascade, adding tranquility to your space.



Share to Pinterestpearl plant

The secret to rejuvenation Over time, your String of Pearls might appear a tad weary, with leggy strands or sparse sections. Enter pruning, the rejuvenation elixir. With clean scissors, trim away the excess, shaping the plant to your liking. Not only does this refresh its appearance, but it also promotes healthier growth. And those trimmings? They could be the start of a new plant, extending the beauty elsewhere.


Toxicity awareness

Share to PinterestLeaves of the succulent plant Senecio rowleyanus, from Southern Africa.

While the String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) dazzles with its unique beaded strings, it harbors a secret: its sap contains toxins harmful to both humans and pets. Accidental ingestion can lead to symptoms ranging from mild irritation to severe digestive upset. Therefore, it's wise to position this succulent out of reach of curious pets and little ones. And remember, handling its delicate strands is best done with gloves to avoid skin irritation.


Seasonal care variations

Share to Pinterest Closeup of woman hand holding small terracotta pot with Senecio Rowleyanus commonly known as a string of pearls. Sunlight. Hobby, houseplant lovers concept.

The String of Pearls thrives on attention to the rhythm of the seasons. As the days shorten and temperatures drop, this succulent prefers a cooler, drier resting period. Reduce watering to once a month during the chill of winter, and resume your more frequent watering schedule as spring warms the air. This mimicry of its natural habitat encourages robust health and vibrant growth.



Water quality considerations

Share to PinterestHanging garden - succulent plants in similar twine pots, senecio rowleyanus

The String of Pearls is as discerning about its water as a sommelier is about wine. Tap water, often laden with chlorine and fluoride, can accumulate in the soil and harm the plant. To avoid this, let tap water sit out overnight before watering, allowing time for some chemicals to evaporate. Alternatively, rainwater or filtered water can provide a purer hydration source, ensuring your succulent stays quenched without the chemical buildup.


Handling pests and diseases

Share to Pinterestgreen indoor plant Senecio rowleyanus variegata string of pearl

Even the hardy String of Pearls isn't immune to the occasional pest or disease. Vigilance is key to keeping your plant healthy. Look out for signs of mealybugs or spider mites, which can be combated with a gentle application of insecticidal soap. And keep an eye out for the dreaded root rot, often a result of overwatering. At the first sign of trouble, trim away affected areas and adjust your care routine accordingly.


Environmental stress factors

Share to Pinterest Senecio rowleyanus variegata, aka variegated string of pearls, propagated in soil. Green and white vining houseplant.

Your String of Pearls, like any living thing, can feel stress from its environment. Sudden temperature changes, drafts, and direct sunlight can lead to a less-than-happy plant. Creating a stable environment away from cold drafts and scorching sun will help maintain its vibrant health. Consider its natural habitat—bright, indirect light and a consistent temperature—and try to replicate these conditions in your home.


This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article