We have finally reached February. Out of the January doldrums comes a fresh, short month that is dedicated to love. What could be better? If you are still on the hunt for the perfect romantic gift for a loved one, String of Pearls or Senecio rowleyanus should be at the top of your list. Shaped like elegant jewelry, this plant has a delicate look, but it is surprisingly easy to care for in the miniature garden or in a container. With just a few pointers, you can help your String of Pearls plant thrive. |
String of pearls is an ornamental succulent. It features small green “bubbles” along a slender stem. The orbs may remind you of tasty peas, sweet berries, pop-apart beads, a rosary, or a string of freshwater pearls on a necklace, just as the name suggests. This offbeat perennial vine is native to southwest Africa.
In the springtime, tiny white flowers with bright-colored stamens are likely to appear. Though they are not the most attractive flowers, some report that they smell like cinnamon. If you desire spring flowers, move your String of Pearls to a slightly cooler area during the winter months and cut back on watering. Bloom period will last about one month.
• Temperature should be kept at an average indoor level, around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. • Avoid placing the plant in drafty areas. • Plant in a container with a drainage hole. Sandy soil mix is suitable. • When watering, soak the soil. Let the topsoil dry out completely before watering again. It is prone to rot when allowed to sit in moisture. • In the winter, cut back watering to once per month. • Make sure the crowns of the orbs stay at the same level as the top of the pot. This will help with aeration and discourage rot. • When needed, prune the plant by carefully trimming off stems or beads. • This plant prefers bright, indirect light. It is likely to burn in direct sunlight. Aim to provide morning sun and afternoon shade. • Keep plant away from children and pets. It can be toxic when consumed. • String of Pearls is not frost-tolerant. Move inside during the winter.
When considering where to locate String of Pearls, look up. The long, thin, trailing stems look graceful when they drape over the sides of containers. Do you have a small hanging basket or wall planter? As long as the container has a drainage hole, these will work well. String of Pearls also adds interest to a fairy garden or miniature garden. You could even use small pieces as rows of “onions” in the fairy vegetable patch.
This plant looks particularly handsome in a group of mixed succulents, but it also stands on its own. For a bit of flair, consider the variegated variety, which offers green, cream, and purple-pink colors that create a marbled look on the little orbs. Remember: The variegated form is slow-growing and can be difficult to locate when shopping. It’s a rare find!
Once you have mastered the art of growing String of Pearls, it is easy to propagate new ones. Just place cuttings into soil and allow them to take root. This easy-to-grow plant makes a wonderful gift at Valentine’s Day or any other time during the year.
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