Favored for its long and elegant stems, the String of Pearls is a popular vine with plant lovers and gardeners across the United Kingdom, despite being native to the deserts of South America.
It is the perfect plant for novice gardeners to own, as they are easy to care for and propagate.
What is a string of pearls?
The string of pearls belongs to the Aster family and is known by the Latin name ‘Senecia rowleyanus’. It is a type of succulent plant, and it is known that they are best suited to dry and arid conditions. Their perennial nature ensures that it is easy to grow and care for in almost any environment.
The plant gets its name from its pearl-like beads. These are typically green in colour, with a shiny, waxy coating. These pearls are the plants flowers and are designed to absorb and retain as much water as possible to help thrive in hot and dry conditions. The long stems grow quickly and can easily reach up to 90cm in length, making it the perfect hanging plant.
How to care for a string of pearls
Like other succulents, a string of pearls requires very little attention in order to survive, as they have evolved to survive in drought-like conditions. They can be grown both inside or outside, and you should not have to worry about keeping them watered once they are dangling.
The one thing that should always be considered is sunlight. A string of pearls needs a little bit of sunlight during the day – and can cope well in shaded sunlight for the rest of the day. Try and position your plant pot so that it won’t be overwhelmed by bright sunlight – especially when its in the early stages of propagation.
If you are caring and propagating your string of pearls indoors, you need to be careful where you place it, as it requires a lot of sunlight to begin with. You may even want to consider propagating outdoors and then transferring inside when you can see that they are starting to flower.
A string of pearls will grow up to 90cm when grown outdoors, and one single plant can survive for around 5 years with little care or attention. You should be able to keep a string of pearls growing indefinitely just from one cutting. Just remember to take regular cuttings once your succulent has begun to flourish.
You should remember to repot your string of pearls yearly, in order to keep the soil fresh. However, you may find that the plant can survive in inhospitable conditions for a longer period of time than other, non-succulent plants.
How to repot a string of pearls
- Gently fold any trailing stems up into the centre top of the plant. This will help to avoid the plant from getting damaged during the repotting process.
- If you have bought it in a hanging basket, be sure to remove any hooks to minimise damage to the plant.
- Place one hand on the top of the plant so you can flip it over. The plant should gently slide out of the pot. If it does not, try and squeeze the pot gently to help loosen the soil. Another tip is to cut the pot open and removing the plant that way, so you do not have to worry about causing any damage.
- Prepare a suitable compost potting mix. Use a pot that is slightly bigger than the pot it came in, but not so big that it swamps it.
Do the string of pearls flower?
While they are best known for their pearls, string of pearls also flowers brightly. These flowers are small and white in colour.
These small, white flowers have a beautiful smell, which liven up any home, garden, or outdoor space – as they have a strong and sweet fragrance.
Why do the string of pearls flower?
A string of pearls will flower for only a short period. And for many gardeners, it can be an unexpected sight, as it is a dramatic contrast to their usually dry appearance. As with all plants, the reason for the flowers is to reproduce. The flowers are there to attract insects for pollination to occur.
When the string of pearls has produced flowers, you will find that there are seeds being produced and are spreading around the garden. It is hard for these to take root on their own, so don’t be surprised by plants suddenly appearing in your garden.
How do you get a string of pearls to flower?
- Plant them in good compost that is rich in nutrients. Be sure to check which soil is best for your string of pearls before growing them.
- Plant them in a pot with a drainage hole to let excess water and moisture out. This is a common requirement for all succulent plants.
- Keep the plant in a suitable location to achieve the best flowers – outdoors is best if possible. However, they can be grown indoors.
- Plant in a location where it will get a few hours of sunlight each day., but not too much.
- Give them enough attention in the colder months to prepare them to flower.
- If growing inside, be sure to keep them on a windowsill so they have access to light throughout the day.
How to propagate a string of pearls
- Start with a small trimming from a fresh and healthy stem, this should be around 7cm or so. Using cuttings is a quick way to multiply your succulents. Be sure that your cuttings are a nice shade of green and are moist and undamaged as you will struggle to grow anything from these.
- Take a small pot filled with soil, where you will be growing your string of pearls. The roots can grow anywhere along the stem, so the best way to allow them to take root is to remove pearls from the bottom before pushing the ends into the soil.
- The soil that you are using must be suitable for succulents. Make sure to do your research and that it’s rich in nutrients.
After a month has passed, you should see that your string of pearls has started to root and grow. Within six months of planting, your cutting should be taking shape and growing well.
Tip: Try top plant your string of pearls just before Spring so that they can begin blooming their pearls in Summer.
String of pearls plants make a lovely addition to any indoor or outdoor spaces, and are available to buy from most online plant nurseries and garden centres.