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Best Tips and Tricks: Growing a Beautiful String of Pearls

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Strings of pearls are grown for their stunning foliage rather than their flowers. The combination of beauty and low maintenance make them an indoor favorite.

The string of pearls presents as a bright green pea-sized curtain cascading over the edge of a hanging basket— unignorable. It is easy to grow and ideal for gardeners wanting effortless beauty. Still, your string of pearls can be even more stunning with extra care and attention.

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What’s Curious about the Curio

Previously part of the Senecio genus, Curio is a novel genus of approximately 20 succulent plants. Both genera are part of the daisy family (Asteraceae), a prominent family that includes common non-succulent plants like artichokes, lettuce, and sunflowers.

There are about 950 genera in the Asteraceae family, totaling more than twenty thousand species. In 1997, the botanist Heath argued to separate about 20 plants from the Senecio genus, claiming that these plants all had unique features.

A plant with green leaves and a long string of pearls cascading down, with a blooming flower at the end of the strand. The background is blurred, making the plant the main focus of the photo.
“Cascading beauty 🌿💚✨”

Curio is distinguished from Senecio by plants with elongated striated succulent leaves, evergreen habit, and discoid flower heads devoid of ray florets. The family includes the string succulents:

  • A string of pearls – There’s a variegated variety that looks like a smaller version of the string of watermelons.
  • A string of tears – Similar to the string of pearls, but the leaf has a more tapered end. 
  • A string of watermelons – Tiny melon-shaped leaves with stripes.
  • A string of bananas – Curved banana-shaped leaves

Curio succulents also include some chalk stick varieties.

10 Tips for Growing Beautiful Strings of Pearls Plants 

As mentioned earlier, the string of pearls plant is easy to grow and does great as a low-maintenance indoor plant, especially suitable for hanging baskets. 

The string of pearls can also provide the spill in a “features, fillers, and fall” succulent arrangement. Find out more at Grouping Different Succulents to Create a Beautiful Display.

  • Feature:– the featured plant in a succulent arrangement.
  • Filler: – the supporting cast.
  • Fall: – cascading plants to add depth, contrasting textures, and complimenting color. 

With some extra care, the low-maintenance string of pearls can quickly become a flourishing feature in your home, drawing attention and admiration.

Below are two lists: one list of ten tips to keep your string of pearls healthy and another five tricks to get the most out of your string of pearls. 

Tip 1. Pots

The phrase “Cleans up well” applies to indoor plants as much as it does to you and me. We all look better dressed than the naked person staring back at us (often in shock 😂) from the bathroom mirror.

Clever pot selection can make a massive difference to how your string of pearls presents. The trick is balancing functionality with fabulousness. Isn’t it always?

A black ceramic pot with an intricate design is overflowing with a string of pearls, creating a lush and vibrant display. The delicate, green pearls cascade over the edges of the pot, contrasting beautifully with the deep black color of the ceramic. The intricate design of the pot adds an elegant touch, making this a striking and visually appealing decorative piece.
“Overflowing with lush greenery, this intricate black ceramic pot makes a stunning home for a vibrant string of pearls plant 🌿✨”

Selecting Pots for Function

A string of pearl root health, or the lack thereof, is the most common cause of its premature demise. These plants need their roots to dry more often than wet, so the soil and pots must drain well. 

Clay pots are, to varying degrees, permeable, allowing water to evaporate through the sides. Some clay pots, like unglazed ceramic pots, are less porous, but if you manage your waiting schedule well, these will work.

Terra cotta works well if you drill big drainage holes in the bottom. Pot size matters as more bottomless pots can hold more water. The pearl plant string has shallow root systems and will do better in a shallow pot.

Your pot choice must ensure the roots stay healthy, limiting your selection to a well-draining pot with some permeability and enough drainage holes.

Selecting Pots for Aesthetics 

An earthy clay pot is a natural choice and blends well with the string of pearls’ bright green foliage. You can select pot colors that best match your plants using color theory.

Check out Canva’s interactive color wheel to match your string of pearls’ specific green (#376802). Try the combination options: complementary, monochromatic, analogous, triadic, and tetradic. 

If you choose a ceramic pot, get one as high as the clay pot containing your string of pearls. Place the clay pot in the ceramic pot, and make sure you drain the pot thoroughly before replacing it in the ceramic pot. 

Repotting String of Pearls 

This is not just a tip; it’s a trick. Don’t repot your string of pearls as often as your other indoor plants. A string of Pearls plants does not require frequent repotting, and Repotting increases plant shock risks. 

A string of pearls doesn’t need deep roots as they replicate their shallow root systems wherever the vines (strings) come into contact with soil; consider repotting only every third year, but more on this later. Remember that succulents need potting soil that drains faster than most houseplants.

Tip 2. Light

Two clay pots are filled with a lush, green plant with small round leaves, known as a string of pearls. The plant spills over the edges of the pots in thick, winding strands, creating a cascading effect. In the background, the blurred greenery of more plants can be seen.
“Cascading beauty – The string of pearls plant overflowing in two clay pots, surrounded by lush greenery.”

A string of Pearls plants appreciates partial shade if grown outside and solid indirect light if grown indoors. Midday direct sunlight should be avoided, but a sunny windowsill that gets direct sunlight n the morning (or afternoon) is excellent. This is considered indirect sunlight.

If the room doesn’t offer enough light, the string of pearls will grow leggy. Consider using LED lights if the plant lacks natural solid light (better than a bulky fluorescent light fixture).

Bright light boosts photosynthesis, a key to plant health and performance, so ensure you rotate the plant to allow all the leaves access to indirect light equally. 

Tip 3. Soil

A terracotta pot with a green plant, the plant has long, thin stems with small, round leaves that look like pearls. The stems are hanging over the edge of the pot, creating a cascading effect.
“Nature’s elegant cascade.”

I’m unsure why bloggers say, “these plants prefer well-draining soil.” ALL houseplants need potting soil that allows their roots to breathe, something they can’t do in continuously wet soil. 

Succulent soil is a little different, as succulents come from environments where having dry soil is more common than wet soil. While the gardener is most responsible for replicating these conditions, a cactus soil mix can help.

A 1:1 mix of organic and inert materials work well to create your potting soil. While using some sharp and in a blend, avoid using purely sandy soil. A string of pearl roots is shallow, and sand holds too little water to hydrate the plant.

To boost root health, use fresh soil every time you repot (which should be minimized).

Tip 4. Water

Close-up photo of a "String of Pearls" succulent plant, with small, round leaves strung together on thin, delicate stems. The plant is covered in droplets of water, giving it a fresh and vibrant appearance.
“Glistening in the morning dew, this String of Pearls succulent is a true beauty.”

During the growing season, water regularly, allowing the soil to dry between waterings. A string of Pearls plants are drought tolerant but should never be allowed to dry out completely. 

Reduce watering frequency throughout winter, and water only when the soil is arid. If salts are built up, maybe in early spring, rinse the soil by letting water flow through it, ensuring it drains thoroughly.

Tip 5. Temp

A string of Pearls plants are cold hardy to USDA hardiness zone 9a, 20°F/-6.7°C, but will not survive heavy frost. Its natural habitat, South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, has a frost-free climate with winter temperatures seldom dipping below 45°F/7°C.

Guard against temperatures much higher than 80°F/27°C, the upper range of their natural habitat.

A small handheld device with a digital display showing the temperature and humidity levels in the surrounding environment. The device appears to be held in someone's hand and has several buttons on its surface.
“Stay informed about your surroundings with our handy temperature and humidity monitor.”

Tip 6. Humidity

The climate in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, the natural habitat of the string of pearls,  offers relative humidity levels of just below 80%. Your string of pearls will tolerate lower levels, but that is its ideal.

Tip 7. Propagating

A string of Pearls plants can be propagated through seeding, stem cuttings, or layering. I won’t thoroughly review each one as I have a dedicated article. 

Seeds germinate best in temperatures around 77°F/25°C, the temperature most seed warmers or heating mats offer. Also, keep the seeds consistently damp.

Finding seeds online is no easy mission, so harvest your own. I share a trick on this topic below. Depending on your growing conditions, germination can take several weeks or longer.

I generally use the layering method to propagate a string of pearls, allowing me to start a plant in the pot I want to grow. Simply drape a stem (commonly called a string) over an adjacent small pot and cover the pearls with some soil. Mist the new candidate, keeping it moist.

A string of Pearls plants can also be propagated through spring and summer cuttings. Root the cuttings in a container filled with well-draining soil in a warm, sunny location. 

They can be planted in place but must be watered until well-rooted (after about three to six weeks)

Tip 8. Pests

Close-up photo of a small insect pest crawling on the leaves of a string of pearls plant, which has small, bead-like leaves that resemble a string of pearls.
“Uninvited guest on my string of pearls plant 🐛🌿”

Although pests do not commonly attack string of pearls plants, they are susceptible to scale and mealybugs.

Tip 9. Diseases

Your biggest risk with a string of pearls is root rot caused by overwatering. Root rot is a fungal growth that affects plants’ vascular system, interrupting the water supply to the plant’s extremities. 

The best way to avoid root rot is to only water your pearl string after thoroughly drying the soil. Remember that string of pearls has shallow roots, so if the soil is dry to a depth of about the top third of the pot, you can rewater.

Tip 10 Toxicity

An image showing a warning sign for poison beside a string of pearls plant. The plant is trailing down from a small pot and has round, bead-like leaves that are green in color. The poison warning sign is a black and white graphic with the skull and crossbones symbol.
“Handle with care: String of pearls plant may be poisonous.”

The string of pearl plants is poisonous. Grow them cautiously if you have children, pets, or animals (including horses). Wear gloves when working with these succulents because the sap may cause skin irritation.

5 Tricks to Growing the Best String Of Pearls Plant

Every gardener has a trick or two up their sleeve, ways that seem odd but that work. Below are five tricks to get your string of pearls to flourish and perform. 

Trick 1. Flowering

While a string of pearls is rarely grown for their flowers, they are still beautiful, if not odd. A string of pearls produces quite a few flowers per plant, little pom-pom-like flowers that look like they have a floral pin stuck in them.

One of the reasons the string of pearls and its friends were removed from the Senecio genus almost thirty years ago is the flowers. A string of pearl flowers doesn’t have the typical ray petals around the flower, so even though it’s part of the daisy family, it’s an oddball.

But that’s not the trick. If you cut the water in the middle of summer, you can trick the string of pearls into flowering. Neat, hey? 

Trick 2. Fertilizing String of Pearls

A clear plastic bottle filled with liquid fertilizer, specifically designed for string of pearls plants. The fertilizer has a light blue tint and a label indicating its use for promoting healthy growth and vibrant foliage. A few strings of pearls are visible in the background, hanging from a white shelf.
“Keeping my string of pearls happy and healthy with this specially formulated fertilizer 💚🌿 #plantcare #stringofpearls”

I know it’s commonly recommended that the string of pearls doesn’t need fertilizer. Well, it doesn’t and will do quite fine without it.

Still, if you want to boost the vibrancy and increase the growth rate from an inch a year to more, conder feeding your string of pearls, but before you jump right in, here’s the trick.

Feed your string of pearl plants with a dilute solution of balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every month from the beginning of early spring. Don’t fertilize after the start of autumn, as it affects the plant’s health going into dormancy.

Trick 3. Relocation

Most indoor plants don’t do well when moved from one location to another. The changes in light levels, temperatures, and even humidity are a bit of a shock, and plants may take a while to settle in.

Your string of pearls is a delicate plant, averse to change. If you want to relocate it, do so in increments. Move it to a quarter of the way and leave it there for a day or two before moving it to the next journey stop from one room to the next.

Trick 4. Succession

A string of pearl plants doesn’t grow to be very old, so consider doing an annual propagation as a replacement plant for the parent. A string of pearl plants live to about five years, so develop replacements as you go along, a type of succession planning.

Trick 5. Display

A string of pearls plant hangs gracefully from a black plastic pot against a blurred garden background.
“Nature’s Jewelry: Admiring the Delicate Beauty of a String of Pearls Plant”

We know that string of pearls plants are great for hanging baskets but don’t hang all the string over the edge. Leave some in the pot to root and support the string of pearls string hanging out on a limb.

FAQs on The Best Tips and Tricks for Growing a Beautiful String of Pearls

In Conclusion

We saw that the right pot makes a huge difference and that direct and indirect sunlight depends on when the sun shines on the plant. Light is essential, and ensuring your string of pearls gets enough light is the key to a healthy plant.

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