Botanical Name — Senecio rowleyanus
Common Name — String of Pearls or Rosary Vine
Other Botanical Name – Curio rowleyanus
Plant Family — Asteraceae
Senecio rowleyanus is a waterfalling, cascading succulent from South Africa that looks like an overflowing jewelry box. With more common names than you can count, this plant is known for its iconic spherical leaves that look like green peas threaded together on a necklace. When cultivated on a sunny balcony or in a south-facing window, this plant will grow rapidly to create a waterfall of vegetation up to three feet long.
- String of Pearls love plenty of direct sunlight. Provide southern exposure as much as possible. However, when it’s hot, these plants prefer partial shade at peak hours. The diffused light of a screen door or sheer curtain will be perfect.
- Leaf drop may be a sign that this plant is not getting enough sunlight.
- Senecio rowleyanus are sub-tropical plants, meaning they thrive in temperatures between 65 to 80 ºF. They should always be kept above 55 ºF.
- Water once the soil dries out to 2 inches below the surface. Make sure to drench the soil thoroughly until water is dripping from the bottom of the plant.
- In the winter, when these plants are not actively growing, ease up on watering. Reduce the frequency of watering to about half of what you would provide in the summer.
- Overwatering could lead to leaf drop or root rot. Always err on the side of underwatering.
- Give your String of Pearls a light, gritty arid plant soil. A typical cactus potting soil amended will work. You can increase aeration and drainage by amending with sand, pumice, or perlite up to 50%.
- Flowers are small and white with red centers. Expect blossoming under good conditions anywhere from late spring to fall.
- These plants do not require fertilizer though it can be added to give container grown plants a boost or to supplement poor soil. Apply a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer monthly, diluted at half strength.
- These plants can be easily propagated by stem or leaf cuttings.
- Scale, mealybugs, and aphids are not common but may occur. Remove pests with a cotton ball or q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol, or treat the plant with diluted neem oil. Prune away unhealthy leaves or stems.
- Root rot may occur if this plant is overwatered.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- This plant grows and blooms best when somewhat rootbound. Repot every two or three years, moving it to a pot just 2 inches wider.
- As appetizing as these plants look, their fleshy leaves are toxic if ingested by animals and humans.