String of Pearls - Senecio herreanus

Sprouts of Bristol
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Scientific Name
Senecio herreanus (old man plant)

Common Name
String of Pearls, String of Beads, Rosary Vine, String of Peas, String of Marbles

Native to dry areas in Southwest Africa

The String of Pearls stands out due to its truly unusual foliage! Its long vines are dotted with curious round leaves- and by round, we mean totally spherical! These bright green spheres have gained the plant many common names, with comparisons to pearls, peas, beads and marbles. In reality, they are neither glass nor pearl but a specialised kind of leaf which has grown this way to reduce the surface area, allowing it to retain more water. In the wild, it roots everywhere a vine touches the ground, forming mats of tiny round leaves; as a houseplant, it is usually grown with the stems trailing, allowing it to show off the vines to the best effect!

The correct light level is key for string of pearls! Make sure it's in a bright spot, but doesn't get direct sunlight in summer as this can scorch the foliage. A splash of morning or evening sun wil benefit it over winter, though, when the light is weaker and shorter.

Allow all of the soil to dry out between waters; make sure the pot feels light before you water again! Bottom-watering is a good way to look after the foliage when watering, as if you water onto foliage and it cannot dry properly, this can lead to issues with mould on the plant.

Low humidity is what this plant is used to. an occasional hose-down will help to keep the leaves free of dust but make sure they can dry out quickly afterwards to prevent issues with rot!

A well-draining soil with added sand, or one designed for cacti and succulents, will be best for this plant! Repot every three years in spring as the plant grows.

Fertilise every two months in the growing period and reduce to every three in autumn and winter to replicate its usual dormancy period. A specific 'cactus' feed will produce the best results.

Temperature should ideally be between 18-26°C- make sure it doesn't drop below 15°C in winter.

No, this plant is toxic to pets and small humans.

Sprouts Top Tips
To keep your String of Pearls bushy, you can trim back longer stems and propagate the cuttings! You will get best results by choosing healthy foliage and cutting at least six inches (15cm). Remove older leaves and put the bare end into soil. Increased humidity will help, so if you can place it in a plastic bag in a dry location, it should root more quickly.