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Plant-o-Pedia: String of Pearls


Ah the String of Pearls. Who hasn’t been drawn in by it’s siren song, right? All those lush locks of cute little pearl shaped leaves? Who can resist? ;) But if you’re like a lot of people (several of us at The Jungalow included), frustration soon sets in as the plant begins to struggle, eventually dying a slow death somewhere in the corner of the patio. Okay, so maybe your relationship with String of Pearls hasn’t been as dramatic as that, but based on the number of questions we get about them, chances are you might need a little help to get it looking it’s best.


GET THE GREEN:  String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

WATER: Plant in well draining soil (cacti and succulent potting soil) in a pot with good drainage. Water when soil has mostly dried out (don’t allow it to dry so much it begins to pull away from the sides of the pot). In warm months 2-3x a month should suffice. Give it less water in cooler months (about once a month). Make sure to drain any water from saucers or cache pots- the roots can easily rot if left in standing water. If pearls begin to look mushy, try watering less. If they shrivel up, try watering more.

SUNLIGHT: Bright indirect light, will tolerate some full sun. Indoors, bright indirect light is better than full sun. If you notice shriveling, it may be getting too much sun.

PLACEMENT: With those long flowing vines, String of Pearls are perfect for hanging planters, or on top of a high shelf. Lower traffic spots are best as the stems can break off easily.

EXTRA CREDIT: String of Pearls are very easy to propagate (so don’t worry if vines break off every now and then). A cutting from the tip of the stem (at least 4 inches long), placed in moist potting soil until the first pearl is almost covered, will form new roots in a few weeks. Be sure to keep your cutting lightly moist until roots have formed.

WORD OF CAUTION: String of Pearls can be toxic to pets and people if eaten. As always, use caution whenever bringing a new plant into your home, and check with your vet if you have pets.

Is there a plant you want to learn more about? Leave a comment and you may find it in a future Plant-o-Pedia!

Photos by Justina Blakeney

Alternative Text Danae Horst

Total Plant Geek. Check out my botanical shop and design firm, Folia Collective.

13 responses to “Plant-o-Pedia: String of Pearls”

  1. Jean Gogolin says:

    I had to order this one by mail from Amazon — none of the garden centers I visited had it, and I live in northern New Jersey — and when it arrived it was healthy but I had a devil of a time unraveling the strings from the heap on top without breaking them. Now I touch it as little as possible.

    I wonder why garden centers carry so few things other than the tried-and-true things like mother-in-law’s tongue, which I hate. Supply and demand, I suppose.

  2. jen says:

    I love these! I can only keep them thriving outside :( I have two teeny ones inside and they’re getting longer but not fuller. I’m going to apply your tips and see if that helps!

    • Heather says:

      Why don’t you just cut your long ones in half and then plant the lower parts? Your plant will be half as long but twice as thick!

  3. Glenna says:

    Hi! I know this has nothing to do with plants, but where did you get that large piece of furniture with all of the drawers? Thank you!

  4. Jenny says:

    Hi, i have a tiny string of pearls in a macrame hanger like in the picture, but obviously the pot doesn’t have holes for drainage otherwise it will end up all over the floor. So does this mean the roots will rot.? I’m watering very little with a sprayer just to moisten the soil. Is this plant destined for death?

    • I am the same , if you use the spray bottle that should be fine but pouring water over the pot without the drainage holes will cause root rot. If you are only spraying sparingly and not too often , your plant should be fine. Hope this helped.

  5. Sisi says:

    Hi there,

    What I would love to find out is how many plants one need to purify our air in our house. I’ve been trying research on this subject and found many contradictions. I thought Jungalow might be the authority figure to answer on this.
    Thanks a million if you can help!

  6. meg says:

    Hi Jungalow!!
    It would be really great if you did a section on what plants are best for bathrooms, i have a few ferns and string of pearls (not sure if this would be suitable after reading this article because of the moisture) but would love to have a flourishing leafy bathroom wall :)

  7. […] a plantastic window box. If you’re feeling maximal (which is the norm for us), pair it with string of pearls for extra […]

  8. Rachel says:

    How do you water these *indoor* hanging plants and also allow for drainage? I’ve been hesitant to actually purchase an indoor plant because I can’t figure out how to water them without making a mess inside!

    • Lindsey B says:

      I either move mine to the shower to water and hang them up on a shower head, or I plant in containers that don’t drain and just water very sparingly! :)

  9. […] or in a plantastic window box. If you’re feeling maximal (which is the norm for us), pair it with string of pearls for extra […]

  10. BJ Martin says:

    Beware, as these beautiful and charming little buggers have a way of flowering and propagating that will strangle other plants. We live in California, so I was able to hang mine on a side deck. After several months I found small strangling little baby pearls on all my exterior vines, lemon trees. This plant should be called “choker pearls.” But if they are inside there should be an issue.

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