Just like Rapunzel’s letting down her hair in the fairy tale, String of Pearls is one of the stunning ornamental plants for both indoors and outdoors. Its cascading over the edge of any pot is one of its genuine beauties. Due to being a drought-resistant plant, it is absolutely for newbies. In terms of its becoming a vine, String of Pearls bears similarity with Swiss Cheese Vine. This outstanding plant has a few well-known names. One of them is Curio Rowleyanus. Also, its scientific name is Senecio rowleyanus. Besides, this houseplant is native to Southwest Africa. Above all, it could be one of your balcony ivy alternatives.
1) General information for String of Pearls Plant
String of Pearls generally has plenty of fruit-like green leaves that go forward along each thin stem cascading down the edge of pots. What makes the leaf relatively big is it’s capable of storing water. Also, String of Pearls has a cluster of flowers, the fragrance of which is cinnamon, blooms white in spring. But, flowers last roughly within a month. When it comes to maximum growth of this houseplant, it could reach up to 3 ft (1 m). In terms of its lifespan, it is an evergreen perennial such as Rubber Plant and Pin Stripe Calathea. As a note, String of Pearls is a poisonous plant. Specifically, if ingested, it poses a threat to pets as well as humans.
2) How to Care for String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) Plant
Sunlight: Indirect sunlight or overhead light is quite effective in growing String of Pearls. Except for north-facing windowsills, the sunlight coming from other directions will help it thrive better. At most, such plants could expose two hours of direct sunlight. More than that could kill the plant in question.
Watering: String of Pearls is one of the rare houseplants breaking the general rules. That means it is a winter plant whose dormancy period is in summer. But it doesn’t also mean it could resist harsh cold conditions. Given tolerating drought to a certain degree, Watering for once two weeks will suffice for it. As a note, leave the potting soil dry until the next watering.
Humidity: Average room conditions and moderate humidity will be enough to develop it. After it propagated, misting each stem cutting would be proper.
Temperature: Range 70°F – 80°F (21°C – 27°C) will be the optimal temperature for String of Pearls. However, cold drafts and sudden drops in temperatures would probably kill your plant. According to the USDA plant hardiness map, this houseplant grows better in zones 9 – 11.
Soil Type: The best soil type for String of Pearls is sandy soil mixed with a sufficient amount of pumice. This way, the potting soil breathes by evacuating the excess water from the bottom where the drainage holes are found.
Fertilizer: All kinds of fertilizer would be useful but water-soluble ones are more effective than others. The fertilizing schedule may change from once two weeks to monthly. According to its growing conditions, you can decide its fertilizing time. As a note, keep in mind that over-fertilizing can harm the plant.
Propagation: This ornamental plant can be propagated via cutting stems (4 inches – 10 cm). Considering the way of stem cuttings, you may out them horizontally in the potting soil. Then cover them with 1 inch (2,5 cm) of potting soil. After roughly a month, it would be going to grow visibly.
Repotting: Generally repotting gets done along with the propagation in spring. Once two years would be proper. Ideal pots for this plant are commonly hanging basket planters due to being a kind of vine.
3) Keep in Mind: Common Problems
Overwatering: Too much watering leads the shallow roots of this plant to drown.
Sunburns: This problem emerges because of over-fertilizing or long hours of direct sunlight exposure.
Pest problems: Scales, Aphids, Mites, Red spiders, and so on could occur a problem to this houseplant when neglected for a long time or in extreme drought conditions in general.
Suggestions for problems: Too much water kills the plant. In such cases, change the potting soil. Despite this, if the plant doesn’t stay alive. Throw it all into the trash bin. Not to experience such a case, sticking to the plant’s watering routine is extremely important. Like watering, you should also mind the amount of water-soluble fertilizer and the location of the plant. On the other hand, pest-infested plants are a big problem. To remove them, you can use alcohol-based wipes, neem oils, and pesticide soaps.