This guide to growing and caring for String of Pearls (Semecio rowleyannus) is excerpted from the new book, A Beginner’s Guide to Succulent Gardening: A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Beautiful & Long-Lasting Succulents by Taku Furuya.
If you’re looking for interesting ways to display houseplants, also see Make a Little Indoor Garden on Shelves.
This excerpt from A Beginner's Guide to Succulent Gardening: A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Beautiful & Long-Lasting Succulents by Taku Furuya is used with permission from Tuttle Publishing who also provided a review copy of the book and sponsored the book giveaway (now ended). Thank you, Tuttle!
How to Grow String of Pearls
String of Pearls—also known as String of Beads—(Semecio rowleyannus) is one of those quirky plants that does not seem real until you take a second a look. It’s like necklaces made from sweet garden peas! And it’s easy to grow.
This excerpt from the book shows how to care for this plant. ~Melissa
Characteristics of String of Pearls
- Level of Difficulty: Easy
- Flowering: Winter
- Native Region: Namibia
String of Pearls is a member of the Asteraceae family. Its tubular flowers bloom from fall to winter, and have an unusual shape and way of attaching to the plant. The round leaves and dainty vines stretch in all directions and dangle over the side of the pot, so you can take in the beauty of the String of Pearls as a hanging plant. There are a variety of plants in this genus, so it can be quite interesting to try collecting different varieties. You can find such plants in dry regions of places like Africa, Madagascar, and Mexico.
Points to Check when Buying
Avoid buying during the summer, when the plant is weak. A seedling that looks lifeless and has few leaves is weakened and suffering from root rot.
The leaves should not be discolored.
- Mix 5 parts Small-Grain Akadama, 3 parts Kanuma soil, and 2 parts mulch for a ratio that has good drainage, water retention, and breathability.
- Add a layer of gravel like large-grain Akadama or pumice to the bottom of the pot.
- Sprinkle in an appropriate amount of granular fertilizer. You can also use liquid fertilizer.
When you transplant a succulent, add a layer of granular base fertilizer on top of the layer of gravel.
How to Transplant
The best time for transplanting is spring or fall. Pull out the plant, then carefully break up and throw away about 2/3 of the old soil in the roots. Pour fresh soil into the pot, and when the plant gets larger, move it to a larger pot.
Pour in the slightly dampened new soil. When you have finished transplanting, lightly tap the pot to level the soil and place the plant in partial shade to take root.
How to Propagate
In addition to propagating from a leaf cutting, you can also take one of the long vines and insert its stem into fresh soil as a stem cutting. For large
plants, you can also propagate through division.
Place the leaf you removed from the succulent stem on the surface of dampened soil, and after about 10 days the leaf will begin to take root and sprout.
When your new plant has grown 4 or 5 leaves, pull it from the soil, taking care not to injure the roots, and transplant it.
If you let the cut vine creep across the surface of the dampened soil, it will take root after about 10 days, so just leave the plant to grow.
When the plant has produced roots, begin watering it normally.
Key Points for Growing String of Pearls
String of Pearls is robust and easy to grow, so in the spring or fall you can even admire your plant hanging from a tree or elsewhere outside. Your plant will survive being exposed to rain.
String of Pearls plants are weak to hot and humid conditions and will wilt, so if you live in an area with such summers, move your plant to a well-ventilated area in partial shade and be conservative when watering.
Keep the soil from staying hot and moist to prevent fungus from growing and causing root rot. String of Pearls is relatively strong against the cold, so if you just water the plant less frequently in winter it can even withstand the damage caused by frost.
Q: I set my succulent out in the midsummer sun and its leaves turned brown!
A: String of Pearls comes from a dry climate and is sensitive to hot and humid summers, so if you placed a weakened plant in harsh sunlight it was probably sunburned. This is all the more likely because the roots are weakened at this time as well. Move the plant to a cool, breezy area in partial shade, cut back on the watering, and protect against root rot caused by soggy soil for the rest of the summer.
Buy The Book
Growing tips for 20 different succulents
Spring / Fall Types
Echiveria rosularis / E. elegans
Graptopetalum “Francesco Baldi”
Pachyphytum oviferum “Hoshibijin”
Cotyledon tomentosa “Bear’s Paw”
Kalanchoe tomentosa “Panda Plant”
Senecio rowleyanus “String of Pearls”
Othonna capensis “Ruby Necklace”
Crassula capitella “Campfire”
Sedum rubrotinctum (3 varieties)
Aeonium haworthii “Tricolor”
Haworthia pilifera / H. obtusa
Tillandsia harrisii (air plants)
Spring / Summer / Fall Types
Cactus: Gymnocalycium mihanovichii “Moon Cactus” or “Hibotan”
Cactus: Mammillaria carmenael
Euphorbia enopla / E. mammillaris variegata “Shirakaba Kirin”
Agave victoriae-reginae “Hime Sasanoyuki”
Fall / Winter / Spring Types
Conophytum “Shukuten” / C. obocordellum / C. bilobum
Lithops aucampiae / L. bromfieldii insularis / L. salicola
Placement, sunlight, watering, soil, overwintering
Dealing with pests and diseases
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
- 10 Reasons Your African Violet Refuses to Bloom | and what you can do about it
- How to Grow an Avocado from Seed | Easy Method: No Toothpicks Required
- How to Grow Poinsettias Indoors and Make Them Rebloom | Holiday plant tips