How to Care for String of Pearls



The String of Pearls plant is a lovely succulent addition to an indoor or patio garden. This plant, which may also be called a String of Beads, is best known for its tumbling line of round, green leaves. When given the right tools to flourish, the stems will grow up to three feet long, making them the ideal option for a hanging planter. It requires more care than some plants but is generally easy to maintain. As such, a String of Pearls might be the perfect choice for people with a little gardening skill.

Quick String of Pearls Tips

Buying a String of Pearls plant is easy, as they are widely available in most commercial nurseries, large or small. Keeping them in good shape is a bit trickier, but works better with these tips:

  • Light and Placement: String of Pearls must be kept out of bright, direct light, especially in the afternoon.
  • Watering and Humidity: This plant loves dry air and minimal watering.
  • Ideal Soil Mixture: A well-draining soil and only occasional feeding is crucial for this succulent to thrive.
  • Common Issues: String of Pearls is prone to overwatering, underwatering, scorching, and insect infestations.
  • Propagation: Placing stem cuttings lightly in the soil and laying them flat is ideal to promote long-term growth.
  • Toxicity: This plant is poisonous to pets and children.

The plant can go inside or outside during the summer depending on its placement, but generally must remain indoors during cooler months. People should pay attention to the humidity as well as the temperature before making a choice.

Light and Placement for String of Pearls

Like many succulents, the String of Pearls needs a lot of light. However, intense afternoon sun can cause damage. The little pearl-shaped leaves fill with water to provide nourishment for the plant during times of drought, which is common to its southwestern African origin. Too much sun, especially the harsh sun of a hot, summer afternoon, will dry out the leaves or leave them with scars. However, the plant still needs lots of natural sunlight. One of the best places to put it is in an outdoor patio or windowsill that gets morning sun.

Inside, people have many options for the best place to put it. A window facing east is likely to pose the fewest problems. It is important to remember that the String of Pearls does not do well with cool weather or drafts. People who live in regions with cold winters should place it well out of the reach of a door. Similarly, houses in areas with hot summers should position the pot away from vents that will surround it with conditioned air.

String of Pearls Watering and Humidity Preferences

The String of Pearls is not quite a plant that people can easily forget, but overwatering is a much bigger problem than underwatering. Accustomed to the dry air of an African desert, it needs a soil that is on the drier side. People can mimic the desert climate with periodic watering every two weeks, followed by dry air. Conditioned air indoors is probably sufficient to allow the soil to dry out after watering. Root rot may occur when overwatering in a standard size pot — a shallow pot is typically best for this reason. People who live in an area with high humidity may need to test the humidity of the home periodically, especially if the soil still appears damp two weeks after watering.

Although overwatering is the most common issue for String of Pearls, underwatering is sometimes a problem as well. Younger plants need more water than older plants, particularly new cuttings that are still developing roots. Without sufficient water, the beautiful leaves will turn brown or start to shrivel as they deplete. People can avoid this problem by checking the soil for dryness. The top should be dry at least half an inch down, but possibly up to three inches without issue. Watering just enough to wet the dry soil is likely enough.

String of Pearls Ideal Soil Mixture

The best soil mixture for a plant like String of Pearls is one that is meant for succulents. Many manufacturers produce a mix that is designed for cacti. This type of soil feels very lightweight. It has very little peat, because the plant cannot handle soil that hangs onto too much moisture. Some experts recommend using a cactus mix combined with pumice to increase the drainage. Others say that people can use regular potting mix with sand to create a sandy soil that drains well. Repotting is simple, as it is not necessary to shake out the excess soil before replanting.

Although the String of Pearls does need feeding on occasion, people should take care not to do it too frequently. As a general rule, once in the spring and once in the summer is sufficient. Experts say that using a liquid fertilizer may work, but the plant should be pre-watered before adding fertilizer.

Troubleshooting String of Pearls Issues

Once set in the right environment, String of Pearls plants may grow well without too many problems. However, improper placement or an environment that is too hot or wet can cause significant issues. If the plant is overwatered, the leaves can fill up so much that they burst. This leaves a mushy plant that looks like it is falling apart. If it does not get enough water, the leaves will dry up and look a little like dried peas. It will probably bounce back to life with added water, in this case.

Other problems relate to its placement in the home or the presence of pests. Leaves that look burned or feel dry to the touch are a sign that the plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Moving it to a shady spot can improve the plant’s health. If the leaves are falling off unrelated to pruning or repotting, the spot may have too much wind or indoor drafts. Relocating it to a place with milder air circulation can help.

String of Pearls Propagation

Propagating a String of Pearls plant is fairly easy for people to do. Most people wait until the plant is growing well in the spring or early summer, because that is often the best opportunity to prune the longer stems. They should start by taking a clean knife or pair of shears and cut below a leaf node. The plant will grow relatively shallow roots, but needs at least a few inches for the cutting to have a chance at surviving. People can give the cuttings a day or two to callous, or they can plant them in the soil right away. A root stimulator/rooting hormone may help encourage growth.

Unlike other plants, the placement of the cutting for String of Pearls is somewhat unique. The individual stems grow long and hang down from the pot. To keep them from breaking, people may want to try laying them flat against the soil instead of sticking them in vertically. There are special clips that will help the cutting remain in place. Although a mature String of Pearls plant needs little water, cuttings should be misted every few days until the roots develop..

Many people have a String of Pearls plant somewhere in their homes, largely because it is easy to purchase and not too difficult to maintain. This succulent is not so flexible that it can handle a variety of temperatures or soil mixtures, but it will bounce back quickly once a problem is identified and solved. As such, people who lack extensive gardening experience may find it a reasonable choice. With care in its placement and watering arrangement, the plant may thrive for many years.

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