How to Grow and Care for your String of Pearls Plant
What is a String of Pearls Plant?
The String of Pearls plant is an extremely unique looking succulent, drawing many fans who love it not only for its look but also for its ease of care! The bubble or pearl-like leaves look striking draping down over a basket or from the top of a bookshelf. Just like other succulents, there are some tricks to make sure these plants survive happily, but with a bit of knowledge under your belt, you can easily help this plant succeed!
These plants are native to the deserts of South West Africa, where they root happily as a groundcover. They thrive even with the minimal water there, and root and vine across the desert. The reason they have such oddly shaped bubble-like leaves is an adaptation to this environment. They use these "pearls" to store water, and the shape leaves less leaf surface to prevent extra evaporation and water loss.
The String of Pearls plant is toxic for pets, cats, dogs, and people! Within the sap is a substance called pyrrolizidine alkaloid, which can cause digestive distress if eaten, such as vomiting. If skin comes into contact with the sap, it also can cause irritation to your skin, such as rashes and dermatitis. Keep this one away from any curious furry friends or children who may not know better!
Succulents such as the String of Pearls are notoriously easy to care for, but there is a caveat. To succeed with these plants, you need special knowledge for how to properly prevent the prevalent issues that succulents have. Making sure you pick the correct soil like a cactus and succulent mix is vital. Choosing a pot with good drainage holes is a must to help fight against root rot, the number one killer of succulents! These plants are a little less needy for sun than their other standard succulent counterparts, preferring an eastern or southern exposure, but do prefer a higher humidity environment.
Great for People:
- Who are looking for something unique
- Who are on the go and need lower-maintenance plants
- Who love to share plants with friends
- Who love a variety of colors and textures
- Who want a plant that can decorate a hanging basket
Great for Spaces Like:
- Homes with bright, indirect light
- The top of a bookshelf or mantle
- Humid spaces
- Hanging baskets
- Eastern or Southern windows
How to Care for a String of Pearls Plant
String of Pearls plants enjoy bright, indirect light. They would love a window with an eastern or southern exposure! They love a spot that gets more direct light in the mornings and then more indirect light later throughout the afternoon. Make sure they get about 6 to 8 hours of sun a day to keep them thriving!
When you water your String of Pearls, give them a good soak every week or two. To check, stick your finger or a wooden skewer into the soil to ensure that the first couple of inches are starting to dry out. Water thoroughly and ensure that the pot drains completely. If the tray beneath the plant has sitting water, pour it out or dry it with a towel. If too much water sits in the saucer or tray for too long, it can encourage root rot.
String of Pearl plants prefer an indoor temperature of about 65°F to 75°F. Make sure that there are no drafts in the area you put this plant, so avoid colder windows or AC vents. Some people like to force the plant into dormancy by keeping it in a room that is 55°F-60°F over the winter to create better blooms the following spring.
There are special fertilizers for succulents that are better formulated to help them thrive. You can easily find this kind of fertilizer labeled as "cactus and succulent food concentrate" or other similar names. Make sure that when you apply the food, it doesn't sit on the plant's leaves. Once a month is preferred for String of Pearls feeding schedule!
You only really need to repot your String of Pearls every three years or when they are outgrowing their pot. Only enlarge the container by one pot size when switching over. If possible, avoid breaking any of the tendrils, and make sure the stems are gently unfurled down the sides of the pot so they can hang properly. Water after repotting and wait a month before feeding it again. When you first get your plant, make sure to give them 6-12 months to acclimate before swapping their home. Of course, if they start to overcrowd the pot or the roots rise to the surface, you can move them earlier. Follow our guide when repotting for extra help!
During the growing season in the spring and summer, you can clip off a string and separate it into a single strand. Prepare some succulent and cactus soil mix and water it, then lay the whole stem in a circle on top of the soil. You will soon see it start to grow tendrils! Otherwise, you can remove pearls from the base of the stem, dip them in rooting hormone, and push them down into an appropriate soil. We suggest using a few cuttings to start in your new planter!
You can trim the stems on the side of your String of Pearls to promote more growth and gain a fuller foliage on top, then use these cuttings in propagation! If you notice dust or debris on the pearls, you can either use a damp cloth or spritz water on them to help remove the extra dirt so that they can fully soak up the sun.
Common Issues of String of Pearl Plants
A common issue seen with String of Pearl succulents is that the pearls start to shrivel or wrinkle. This issue happens when they overuse the water in their storage bubbles, meaning that they are often being underwatered. Unfortunately, overwatering also can be the cause behind this. When they get too much water, the leaves can burst and become mushy. This symptom, along with yellowing, can also be a sign of root rot, which occurs when the roots become waterlogged and start to rot.
Improper sunlight is the other most common factor in String of Pearl plant issues. If you notice that the pearls are starting to grow far apart and look stringy, it probably is because the plant isn't getting adequate light. If you see burns or dry spots on your pearls, that probably is from too much direct sun.
Complimentary Plants with your Succulents:
Looking to pair your String of Pearls with a bit more challenging of a plant? The Maranta Red Prayer Plant requires similar water and humidity levels but is a bit pickier and more sensitive. With close care, you can make sure that this plant thrives next to your String of Pearls. Prayer Plants reward your extra care by bowing throughout the day, making them a unique and everchanging addition to any space!
Want something easier? The Golden Pothos also like bright, indirect light and high humidity, but is one of the hardiest plants around! It doesn't need to be watered often and truly is one of the most resilient plants that are perfect for beginners. Also - it loves hanging pots as well, making it the ideal pair for your String of Pearls!