i love these guys, commonly known as string of pearls and string of beads. this succulent comes in a variety of shapes. i love how delicate they are but i’ve found them to be a bit finicky. i suppose it’s because i don’t have the brightest exposure to support optimal growth but i keep trying! when buying this plant check to see how the roots are looking if possible. sadly, when i brought both plants home they were already overwatered. they both started to rot shortly after so i took a few cuttings back in march 2018 to propagate them. progress shots can be seen on instagram via #seneciorowleyanus and #senecioherreianus.

outer plants – senecio rowleyanus aka string of pearls; inner plants – senecio herreianus aka string of beads

history

these guys are native to south africa. in its natural habitat, it trails on the ground and forms dense mats by rooting wherever they can. according to hillson (1979), the shape of the leaves is an adaptation to arid environments. they store water while exposing a minimum amount of surface area per volume to the dry air in the desert. as a result, water loss is reduced. kaul (1980) suggests that the downside of the spherical shape of the leaves is that it reduces the area for the absorption of light. as a result, there is an adaptation referred to as an epidermal window, which is a narrow, translucent, crescent-shaped band of tissue on the leaves. they allow light to enter and irradiate the interior of the leaf.

did you know?

this plant can live infinitely by propagating stem cuttings. when my plants started to die from root rot, i put the healthier strands in water & the leftover bits & pieces in soil. at the time, the strands in water rooted faster & started to grow before the bits in soil. however, the cuttings in water slowed down while the cuttings in soil took off. a couple of months ago, i decided to transfer the cuttings to soil. unfortunately, one strand wasn’t doing so well so i put him back in water last month & now he’s growing again.  

care tips

  • bright, indirect light from an east-facing window where they get a bit of direct am sun 
  • they’d be happiest by a west or south facing environment with more direct sun
  • water when the potting medium is dry & leaves are slightly wrinkly
  • i mist mine when watering because they are in really small pots without drainage but this might not work for you. it’s important to thoroughly water these guys but not too often – they’re succulents.
  • watch out for mealy bugs – another issue these plants are prone too. these look like white fuzzy spots, maybe some stickiness. i’ve wiped down leaves with alcohol but i think it’s a lot easier to propagate cuttings.
  • propagate via three to four inch stem cuttings. you can root them in water or soil. if rooting in water, make sure to remove pearls so that none are submerged and to change the water when it looks murky or algae develops.

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