Senecio rowleyanus, also called the string of pearls succulent, is one of the most popular houseplants in the world because of its ease of care and its incredible beauty.
Even though it’s often considered an annual succulent, it’s actually a perennial that requires very little attention from you except to give it water once every few weeks during its dormant season.
The string of pearls succulent may look delicate, but it’s tough and durable enough to live in pots outdoors all year long, even in the most extreme of climates.
The best part? This succulent isn’t hard to take care of, so you can leave your watering can at home without worrying about your string of pearls succulent dying on you. Just follow these tips for growing string of pearls succulent plants, and you’ll soon have a healthy specimen to brighten up your home!
Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls succulent) can be found on the eastern coast of Africa in Kenya and Tanzania, among many other places. It was originally used by the Maasai tribe as an arrow poison for hunting, but more recently has become popular in modern-day gardens due to its ability to thrive in hot weather and bright light conditions, such as those found indoors in many homes.
Once you learn how to grow Senecio rowleyanus, you’ll be able to bring this beautiful plant inside with you as often as you like!
Origin and distribution
Senecio rowleyanus is found in Namibia and South Africa where they grow among rocks and granite slopes in fairly dry areas.. Its natural habitat is rocky outcrops and cliffsides. It can be found at elevations from 1000 to 2000 meters above sea level.
The senecio rowleyanus typically has white flowers, but it can also have yellow or purple flowers depending on the species.
In ancient times the senecio rowleyanus was used as a talisman against the evil eye, to ensure good fortune, and for protection against witchcraft, demons, ghosts, and other supernatural forces that were believed to cause illness or misfortune.
The plant’s leaves are made up of spirals that grow tightly together around one another with overlapping ends forming rows. When you pull apart the leaf strands they create a string of pearls appearance hence its name: a string of pearls succulent.
Senecio rowleyanus propagation
The propagation process for Senecio rowleyanus is very easy as they are propagated by stem cutting. The length of a stem cutting will depend on how large you want your plant to be, but it is best to allow each end to extend beyond that which you plan to plant in the soil so that you can then snip off each end while leaving only an inch or two in soil, and move on with the rest.
Keep them warm and moist until roots have formed and the cuttings have taken root. Then transplant them into a container with a porous potting soil mixture to grow plants up to 10 inches tall. These plants also grow easily from seeds if allowed to dry out before sowing.
If using this method, first soak the seeds overnight in water. Fill a small planting container with equal parts potting soil and sand. Sprinkle about four to six seeds evenly across the surface of the sand-potting mix surface, covering them lightly with more sand-potting mix.
String of pearls care information
Senecio rowleyanus are quite easy to care for, as they tolerate most soil types. They prefer a relatively bright position and enjoy watering during their growing season, between March and September. If overwatered, their leaves will rot away and die, so be cautious about not allowing them to dry out.
When growing Senecio rowleyanus indoors, you should aim for bright but indirect light. A south-facing window that receives plenty of sun is an ideal choice, but any window facing a shaded area with some sunlight will do just fine. You also want to make sure that it’s not too bright, as direct sunlight can burn your plant and cause leaves to wilt or dry out.
The soil should be about 3 parts potting mix to 1 part sand, with perlite added for good drainage. A popular ratio is 1 part potting mix, 2 parts perlite, and 1 part coarse builder’s sand. Another option is 50% potting mix, 25% perlite, and 25% coarse builder’s sand.
String of pearls succulents is very easy to care for and requires minimal water. In fact, it’s important not to overwater your succulents, as they don’t enjoy sitting in wet soil.
Water when soil is dry to touch approximately every two weeks or so. Use tepid water, since warm water can shock them. You can also take advantage of rainwater by placing a saucer underneath your container with some pebbles or marbles at its base. Allow the water to fill the saucer before you empty it back into the pot. That way, you’ll be able to reuse that precious rainwater!
Senecio rowleyanus is an easy succulent to care for. It requires a little more fertilizer than other succulents, especially during periods when new growth is being produced. In order to supply your plant with proper nutrition, use either slow-release pellets or a standard high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer.
The best time to fertilize is in the morning because this allows the nutrients time to be absorbed by nightfall. If you have plenty of sunlight and are using standard liquid fertilizer, apply the solution every 3-4 weeks. If you’re using slow-release pellets, one application should last up to 6 months!
Senecio rowleyanus is not cold hardy, so it should be grown indoors as a houseplant. In colder areas, it can be grown outdoors in summer and brought inside in winter. The minimum temperature is 50 degrees F.
It’s very susceptible to frost damage, with one mild freeze taking its toll on some plants. For this reason, it’s best to avoid locations that are prone to frost. Provide protection from the wind by planting near walls or buildings and providing overhead protection if possible.
Senecio rowleyanus succulents thrive best in humid environments, but they also need very high light levels. A west-facing window with a sheer curtain can work, but you might want to invest in a grow light or two if you’re serious about keeping your string of pearls healthy.
The ideal humidity range is between 45 and 60 percent, so misting the plant regularly and using a humidifier are both excellent ways to ensure this. The string of pearls plants do not tolerate frost well at all, so keep them indoors where temperatures are more moderate for the winter months.
If your String of Pearls succulent is too big for its pot, you’ll need to prune it. Because String of Pearls gets woody with age, we don’t recommend pruning its stems. If a stem dies or grows inward toward the plant’s center, however, clip it off with a pair of sharp garden shears.
You can also propagate new plants from small cuttings taken from an older stem. Take care not to take too much and make sure that each cutting has two nodes. Plant these in well-draining soil and mist them every day until they are established.
The best time to transplant them into their own container is when they have at least three leaves and their roots have filled the bottom of their original container, which could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on your climate zone.
When to repot
After its first year, repot your Senecio rowleyanus in spring or early summer. Before you do, cut it back by one-third to encourage new growth. Pot it up in succulent-specific soil and place it where it will get bright, indirect light. It doesn’t need a lot of water and can go a long time without any water at all if need be.
However, letting it dry out too much will cause its leaves to wrinkle and weaken its stem. If that happens, allow the potting mix to dry out before watering thoroughly.
When overwatering becomes an issue, use a well-draining potting mix with plenty of pebbles and rocks mixed in to keep the soil from becoming soggy. And remember: don’t ever put this succulent near an open window as they don’t like cold drafts.
Senecio rowleyanus should be dormant during the winter months, however, they may not actually be fully dormant. It is common for S.rowleyanus to produce new rosettes in late fall or early winter.
This would indicate that they are growing while dormant, though it is also possible that they are still active vegetatively as well as reproducing asexually during dormancy/winter rest.
The true answer will never be known and is more than likely dependent on many factors such as geography, rainfall, and other environmental conditions.
The flowers are dainty and quite small, so they don’t attract bees or other pollinators. But they do draw a few flies and moths, which helps cross-pollination.
A long string of pearl-like white flowers hangs from a single leaf axil, making it look like someone has draped pearls in your garden. The entire plant only grows to 6 inches tall. Smaller plants develop up to 10 flower stalks; larger plants will have more and longer blossoms on each stalk.
Senecio rowleyanus is a slow-growing plant that requires minimal care. They will grow slightly bigger if provided more water, but it is not required to maintain their beauty.
The string of pearls succulent will only grow up to a foot in height and width, however, they can be grown in clusters for an interesting aesthetic. This succulent can live for about five years and should not need repotting for about two years.
Senecio rowleyanus is toxic to cats, dogs, and livestock. It contains sesquiterpene lactones. Symptoms of ingestion can include vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, abdominal pain, and tremors.
USDA hardiness zones
Senecio rowleyanus thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. They are a popular houseplant because they are drought tolerant and require little maintenance. The string of pearls succulents grows to be about 12 inches tall with tiny round leaves arranged tightly like a string of pearls.
Pests and diseases
In order to protect Senecio rowleyanus succulents from common pests and diseases, spray them with neem oil. Neem is a natural insecticide that will protect your succulents from spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, and other problematic visitors. Mealybugs are one of the most common pests that plague succulents.
They can be identified by their cottony or fuzzy appearance on the leaves and stems of the plant. These pesky little critters are generally not harmful but they can cause damage to plant tissues which results in stunted growth, withering leaves, and lower yields for harvest.
In order to rid your plants of these destructive creatures, you should thoroughly mist them with soapy water twice a day until they are gone.
The Senecio rowleyanus succulent is a great addition to any succulent collection. It can withstand quite a bit of neglect, making it ideal for beginners and those who aren’t able to give their plants as much attention as they would like. The more sun it gets, the happier it will be.