Variegated String Of Pearls – Tried-And-True Caring Tips

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Intricately beautiful and insanely unique, the variegated string of pearls is one of the latest stars in the succulent community. Instantly recognizable thanks to its plump and beaded leaves, this plant effortlessly wins over everyone at first sight. However, it’s also the odd exterior that makes many wonder if they can successfully take care of it. 

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string of pearls plant
A close-up of the foliage of this peculiar succulent

You will be surprised to find out that a variegated string of pearls is a relatively low-maintenance plant. As long as you understand what it needs, you should have no problem keeping it alive. Read this article to learn about this fantastic plant and the best ways to grow it. 

An Overview On Variegated String Of Pearls

This fascinating plant is popular for so much more than just its strange bead-like leaves. Keep reading to discover what it is and why it’s so widely loved by many. 

What Is A Variegated String Of Pearls?

Also known as Senecio Rowleyanus Variegata, this is a well-loved indoor succulent native to South Africa. It looks almost identical to the regular kind, but the leaves carry swirls of green and cream instead of a singular green shade. These pearly leaves sit on cascading string-like stems, giving the plant an entirely unique appearance.

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What Makes Variegated String Of Pearls So Special?

In addition to the traditional green leaves, the string of pearls plant also comes in gorgeous colors like pink, purple, and various swirls of cream. This can be achieved by a strategic growth combination of sunlight, soil, and water. 

From May to June, expect to see dainty white flowers blooming from this plant. Much like the leaves, they are also eye-catching, with a pom-pom-like appearance and red, yellow filaments growing in all directions. The flowers also carry a charming cinnamon scent that cleans the atmosphere like no other. 

string of hearts
What a string of pearls bloom typically looks like

When properly cared for, this succulent can grow up to 4” (10cm) in height and 36″ (90cm) in length. It has a vine-like structure that is perfect for growing on shelves and in high places. The impressive strings will trail down across the surfaces to create a beautiful mini botanical waterfall. 

A Detailed Guide On How To Care For Variegated String Of Pearls

Much like most succulents, the string of pearls plant is easy to care for and can survive on its own for a few weeks. Even so, you can make sure it stays fresh and evergreen with the proper attention to the fundamental requirements. 

Necessary Conditions For Flourishment

This beaded succulent is easy to grow even if you don’t have a green thumb, requiring nothing more than the essential elements. See below for everything you need to know about caring for this plant.

  • Light: Since the Senecio Rowleyanus Variegata lacks chlorophyll in the variegated parts, it is quite sensitive to direct sunlight and prefers indirect light for 6 to 8 hours a day. You can keep it outdoors, but during the winter months, it should be indoors or near partial shade areas. If it stays outside, make sure it is located in a shaded spot.
  • Water: Like most succulents, the string of hearts is pretty drought tolerant. It doesn’t need a lot of caution about watering. Watering in summer can happen once every two weeks. During the cold winter, it tends to lay dormant; therefore, the frequency of watering can decrease. 

As for the technique, you should use a watering can instead of a mister to hydrate the plant entirely. It’s best to wait until the soil is dry to soak the plant thoroughly. Don’t forget to drain the bottom once you are done to avoid getting the roots soggy once you are done.

  • Soil & Pots: Well-draining soil is preferable. You can buy succulent soil at the store or create your own soil mix using coconut coir and minerals like sand, pumice, and perlite. As for pots, medium-sized terracotta or unglazed ceramic pots are most common due to their drainage hole. 
How long can variegated Senecio Rowleyanus live
Make sure the soil of your succulent is dry before watering it again.
  • Fertilizer: Feed your plant once every two weeks during its active growth period. From autumn to winter, you only need to fertilize it once every six weeks. Try not to over-fertilize it and keep the soil neutral to slightly acidic. 
  • Temperature & Humidity: String of pearls prefers warm climates, and the optimal temperature range is somewhere between 70F – 80F. However, it thrives better on low humidity. If you live in a dry climate, don’t put it in close-spaced areas that lack complete bright light, such as the kitchen or bathroom, and mist it frequently during hotter seasons. 
  • Propagation: You can quickly propagate the variegated string of pearls by cutting the stems, waiting for the callous to develop after five days, then laying them on top of the soil. The roots should sprout from leaf nodes after a few weeks. At this point, you can move it to a pot and lightly mist the fresh soil until a new plant appears. 

Common Problems With Variegated String Of Pearls

As you take care of your Senecio Rowleyanus, you may notice some issues with the foliage, roots, or other parts. Worry not; most of them can be easily fixed with a suitable method. 

  • Pests: You may find insects like aphids, mealybugs, mites, and ants infesting your healthy leaves. This could be caused by a humid surrounding, overwatering, or lack of bright sunlight. Fix this by using insect spray or isopropyl alcohol and placing the plant in a more well-ventilated area. 
  • Root rot: Mushy stems and yellowed leaves are indications that the roots are rotting from overwatering. To remedy this, cut off the brown roots and move the healthy ones to a clean pot with new cactus soil. You can avoid this by only watering the plant if the soil is dry. 
  • Malformed growth: Applying too much fertilizer can damage the roots and cause your plant to stop growing. Succulents are pretty resilient, so you only need to fertilize them once or twice a year, especially during the spring. 
  • Shriveled leaves: This is a clear sign of insufficient watering or natural light exposure. Infrequent watering is not the only way you can damage a plan; overwatering can too. However, if the leaves also flatten or appear burned, move the plant away from the morning sun and lightly increase the watering. 
  • Falling leaves: The leading cause of this is due to cold weather. The variegated string of pearls prefers the average room temperatures. However, if the symptom is also accompanied by the healthy leaves turning yellow or brown, bugs or ants could have infested it.
string of hearts
Keep in mind some common issues for proper and timely solutions

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is the variegated string of pearls a toxic or poisonous plant?

Unfortunately, the string of pearls is mildly toxic as it contains a sap that could cause lethargy, rash, inflammation, dermatitis, nausea, and vomiting if consumed. Make sure you place it out of reach from your pets or children to keep them safe. 

  1. How long can variegated Senecio Rowleyanus live?

Its average lifespan ranges from 3 to 5 years. However, depending on its living conditions and how well it is taken care of, you can keep it alive for much longer. You can also propagate it quickly by cutting the stems to create new plants. 

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Does a variegated string of pearls need pruning?

Yes, it does, but not too often. You can prune your succulent if you notice it has become leggy or bent. Cutting off the dead parts will freshen up the plant and give it a healthier appearance. 

Final Thoughts

The variegated string of pearls is a plant that has everything. It is a beautiful succulent that can thrive even with minimum preservation. That being said, don’t forget to show it proper care so that it fills your space with the most luscious green. Hopefully, with this article’s care tips, you can give your succulent all the love it deserves.

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