String of Pearl Plant Care Tips

INSIDE : Learn the best methods for how to care for the gorgeous succulent, String of Pearls! From their overall plant care, watering needs, and the best light amounts for your little plant – let’s get growing those beautiful trailing plants with these String of Pearl Plant Care tips.

String of Pearl in white clay pot

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This post has been updated since it’s original publish date of August 2019.

The String of Pearls or Senecio rowleyanus is one of my VERY favorite plants.  I have grown many many String of Pearl plants over the years and love them for their unique shaped “leaves” and as they grow older, I just love how they slowly cascade down their pot or container!

Today we will be talking all about Pearl Plant Care. The topics covered more depth are as follows –

  • How to pot String of Pearl plants
  • Best lighting for Spring of Pearls
  • How much water for String of Pearls
  • How to propagate String of Pearl plants
  • and more!
Pearl plant
Little Pearl Plant

I have long been a fan of String of Pearls. I love their plump trailing pearls and the ease at which they grow. So, when I started hearing about new, but somewhat similar plants… String of Turtles AND Variegated String of Pearls I was very intrigued!

Although they have a similar name, their look and needs are different.

String of Pearls vs. String of Turtles vs. Variegated String of Pearls

Love plants like I do?  You might like some of my other Plant Care + Tip posts.

String of Pearl Plant Care

Caring for this a Pearl plant is a breeze, but knowing its preferences will help to keep it thriving and cascading for years to come!

Make sure to rotate the pot regularly for even growth and prevent the plant from leaning towards the light source.

Keep an eye out for pests like mealybugs and aphids, and treat them promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

How to pot String of Pearl

When getting ready to pot your plant, first gather all your supplies. You will need a new pot (terracotta or clay are great for drainage), succulent or cactus soil potting mix, drainage stones (optional), and your String of Pearls plant.

Pick a pot only 1-2 inches larger than the current one. String of Pearls have shallow roots, so a too-big pot can lead to root rot. Ensure it has drainage holes.

Next, prepare your soil. If you are using pure cactus mix, add perlite or sand for better drainage. You can also create your own mix by combining regular potting soil with sand or perlite in a 3:1 ratio.

Bright green String of Pearl
String of Pearl plant

Then you will gently remove your String of Pearl plant. Their stems are pretty fragile, so be careful during this step. Lightly loosen the roots with your fingers and place your plant in the center of the pot.

Gently add more soil around the plant, firming it slightly but not packing it down.

Best lighting for String of Pearl Plants

Bright, indirect light is the best for String of Pearls.  East-facing windows that gets morning sun, but shade in the afternoon, or a spot near a south-facing window with sheer curtains diffusing the light is ideal.

Aim for about 4-8 hours of light per day for optimal growth and plump pearls.

Do String of Pearls need direct sunlight?

String of Pearls do not need direct sun. In fact, too much direct sunlight can actually harm them. They really thrive best in bright, indirect light.

Too much direct sunlight can result in your plant getting scorched. If your plant becomes scorched you might see browning, shriveling, and even loss of pearls.

Direct sun can also cause the soil to dry out too quickly, making the plant more susceptible to dehydration and root rot.

If your String Of Pearls is outdoors, it will need filtered light or bright shade.

Potted String of Pearl

How often should I water my String of Pearls plant?

This succulent plant might be small but he’s pretty big when it comes to being drought tolerant.  As your plant matures, they are able to survive a few weeks without water.  Since String of Pearls often are covered with “pearls”, it can be difficult to check the wetness of the soil with your finger.

A good rule of thumb is to water your plant every 10 to 14 days in summer (if indoors) and roughly every 3-4 weeks in the winter.  Watering too often can increase the chances of root rot. So, be sure to let the soil dry out at least half an inch or so between waterings.

If your plant is an outdoor plant, you can water about once a week in the warmer months.

If you like this post about String of Pearl plant care, then you will definitely enjoy my indoor houseplant ebook, Happy Houseplants!  I talk about how to not kill all the plants, do a deep dive on numerous trending “it” plants and share 5 fun plant printables.

Happy Houseplants ebook
Purchase Happy Houseplants here

Are String of Pearls easy to propagate?

Yes, String of Pearls are incredibly easy to propagate! In fact, they’re one of the most beginner-friendly succulents to propagate.

After you have a String of Pearls plant, you can easily propagate new ones (or make your original look more full) by placing cuttings into soil and allowing them to take root.  I have done this numerous times with my sister, sharing the plant back and forth over the years – it is such fun!

String of Pearl plant sitting on outdoor table

How to propagate String of Pearls

When propagating String of Pearls you can do a water propagation or a soil propagation. I prefer water propagating always, so that’s the method I will share below.

Take cuttings

Start by choosing healthy stems that are at least 3-4 inches long and have at least 4-5 leaves. Cut just below a leaf node (the little bump where the leaf meets the stem).

Remove a few leaves

Gently remove the bottom 1 or 2 leaves from each cutting. This will expose the stem to the water and allow for growth of roots.

Place in water

Put the cuttings in a glass of water, making sure the nodes are submerged. You can also use a small vase or jar. Every few days, replace the water with fresh, room-temperature water.

Wait for roots

Within a week or two, you should start to see tiny roots emerging from the nodes. Once the roots are at least an inch long, you can plant the cuttings in soil.

Supplies needed in growing String of Pearls

Plant Moisture Meter | Pruning Shears | String of Pearl plant  | Plant Fertilizer | Water Bottle

Why is my String of Pearl starting to shrivel up?

The most common reason for shriveled leaves with a String of Pearls is that your plant is not getting enough water.  They store water in their round “pearl” leaves and when their water supply runs low, the round beads can begin to shrivel.

First check the soil and if it’s completely dry, give your plant a thorough soak until water drains out the bottom.  However, avoid overwatering as that can be equally bad for the plant.

String of Pearl plants in nursery pots
String of Pearls

String of Pearls need bright, indirect light to thrive.  So in lower light conditions, they can become leggy and some of the pearls may start to shrivel.  Try moving your plant to a brighter spot or adding grow lights.

How do I keep my plant looking tidy and not too stringy?

There are several ways to help your plant from looking unkempt and leggy.

Start by pinching off the stem tips.  This encourages fuller growth. Be sure to use clean, sharp scissors to pinch just above a leaf node. 

Secondly, adjust light conditions.  Make sure your String of Pearls receives enough bright, indirect light.  Insufficient light can lead to leggy growth as the plant tries to stretch towards the sun. 

String of Pearl in terra cotta pot

Lastly, you can also trim off any dead stems and shrived or dead pearls.  Pruning your plant back will also help promote fuller, more compact plants.

Where to buy String of Pearls?

Typically String of Pearls are easy plants to find at your local nursery.  However, if your local plant store doesn’t carry them, they are an easy plant to purchase online, too.  

I’ve seen numerous shops on Etsy (nice trailing ones) carrying them.  And I love that Amazon is now selling them, too.

Closeup of vibrant green String of Pearls

Are String of Pearls toxic to cats?

Yes, String of Pearls can be toxic to cats. All parts of the plant are poisonous, including the leaves, stems, and flowers.

To prevent String of Pearls poisoning, it is best to keep this plant out of reach of cats.

If you do have a String of Pearls plant in your home, be sure to CLOSELY supervise your cat around it. You may also want to consider placing the plant in a hanging basket or on a high shelf, where it will be less accessible to your cat.

Hanging String of Pearl plant

The delicate beauty of a hanging String of Pearls plant makes it a popular choice for home decor.

It’s cascading vines adorned with plump, pea-like pearls add a touch of whimsy and greenery to any space.

String of Pearl plants hanging in baskets

How to Get String of Pearls Plant to Bloom

String of Pearls can be difficult to get it to bloom, however with a little patience and care, you can encourage your String of Pearls plant to produce flowers.

Here are some tips on how to get your String of Pearls plant to bloom –

  • Provide bright, indirect light. String of Pearls plants need plenty of light to bloom, but they can be scorched by direct sunlight. Place your plant in a spot where it will receive several hours of bright, indirect light each day.
  • Water deeply, but infrequently. String of Pearls plants are succulents, which means they can store water in their leaves and stems. This means that they don’t need to be watered as often as other plants. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
  • Fertilize regularly during the growing season. String of Pearls plants need a balanced fertilizer to bloom. Fertilize your plant every two weeks during the spring and summer months with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength.
  • Provide a period of dormancy in the winter. String of Pearls plants need a period of dormancy in the winter to rest and recharge. During this time, reduce watering and fertilization to once a month.

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  1. Hi. I can’t get my string of pearls to thrive. I don’t know what else to try. They are in bright indirect light, I don’t over water… Yet they will not thrive. Any other suggestions on what to try?

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      I’ve had some String of Pearls that do amazing with very little effort and then other plants, that just struggle along. I have noticed when planted in terra cotta pot with a drainage hole, they do better. I think they need less water than we may think… so the terra cotta helps the soil to breathe and dry out a bit.

  2. Nancy Walker says:

    Purchased a String if Pearls plant from a nursery. It is in a 6 inch pot. Am I able to separate into 2 smaller pots?Thank you

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Yes, you should be able to separate it just fine! 😉

  3. Hi ! Found your article because I’m desperate with my string of pearl. Now that I’ve read your article, I think that my boyfriend gave it too much water and the plant has begin to rot. Can I save it or is it too late ? 🙁 Thank you so much !

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Thanks for writing in your question. I believe you can still save your String of Pearl plant. Any pieces or strings that are squishy or rotten from too much water, you can just clip off. Even if most of your plant is dying, if there are a few healthy sections, you can put those back in the soil, let the plant dry out a bit and slowly get it back onto a watering schedule. Eventually those healthy pieces will grow roots and start growing as your new plant. Good luck!

  4. My String of Pearls is over 24 inches long. It is happy in my master bathroom.

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Ah, love that! String of Pearls are such great plants.

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