Commonly called String of Pearls, Senecio rowleyanus is a trailing plant in the family of succulents that forms long strands of pea-shaped green beads. As such, it is perfectly suited to hanging baskets.
The tubular flowers bloom from fall to winter and have an unusual way of attaching to the plant. It is an African succulent species that has been popular since ancient times and adds a lovely sense of movement in group plantings or as ground cover. Even though Senecio plants are succulents, they will wither if not watered often and they require a well-ventilated spot.
People love receiving String of Pearls as a gift. Let’s see how to propagate it and share it with your loved ones.
How to Propagate String of Pearls Plant
The best time to propagate String of Pearls plant is in the active growing season, from early spring to early fall.
Propagating String of Pearls is an easy and fun way to get new plants. There are a few ways to do it: leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, and division. You can opt for the liquid or solid method.
- Prepare a shallow terracotta dish without a drainage hole and about half an inch of soil. You can also use unglazed ceramic pots.
- Remove one healthy leaf from the succulent plant. You’ll be most successful if you get a clean removal so twist the leaf off by holding it close to the stem and gently starting to turn.
- Leave them for two days on a dry surface to allow the ends to callous over.
- Place it on the surface of dried soil.
- You can decide to use a rooting hormone or not. If you decide to use one, I recommend using a powder so it doesn’t cause root rot.
- Leave the leaf without water until you see the first sprouts or roots. Once the leaf gets thin or sprouts start to expand, start watering the leaf once a week.
- Water the leaves daily at that point. I recommend using a spray bottle for this as it makes the process nice and easy. Spray the soil until it is totally wet and reduce watering as you notice the leaves develop.
- Find it a bright spot such as next to an indirect light source.
- Wait. It will take around 10 days for the leaf to root and sprout.
- Once the plant has grown 5 leaves, pull it from the soil, making sure not to injure the roots.
- Transplant it.
Stem cutting is essentially pruning. It is usually done for trailing stems that are too long, thus disrupting the plant’s balance. You put the pruned upper part in dry soil and it starts growing new roots. Let’s take a look at the pearls propagation process.
- Select a healthy mother plant. Look for mature stems of your pearl plant.
- Prepare a clean, sharp cutting utensil such as scissors or a sharp knife.
- Cut off a vine from the mother plant with scissors or a knife. Make sure you cut below a leaf node.
- Remove some lower leaves and use them for leaf propagation.
- As soon as you’ve made the cut, you can use a rooting hormone, ideally the powdery form to avoid rotting.
- Let the cutting dry for a couple of days for a good callous. Place the cut vine onto dry soil and let it creep across the surface of the potting soil.
- When your cutting is properly dried and calloused, bury the cut end in soil. Use well-drained soil.
- After growing new roots, the planted stem becomes thin and gets wrinkly. At that point, you start watering.
- Wait. Water every other day for a few weeks.
- Check if the roots are forming by giving the plant a gentle tug.
- As roots start forming, gradually cut back on watering.
- Don’t expose the new plant to direct sunlight.
- Once the plant has produced roots, start watering as you normally would a mature plant.
Propagating in Water
So far we have seen that you can propagate String of Pearls in succulent soil. You can also grow String of Pearls using the water propagation method.
The first part is the same in both cases. You take stem cuttings from the mother plant using a clean knife and remove some of the lower round leaves because you need the nodes to be in contact with water. You can use a liquid rooting hormone just after taking the cutting.
Fill a jar with water and put the stem cutting in it. Find it in a bright, warm location. Leave it for a few weeks and regularly check how your pearls succulent is doing. Change water or refill occasionally.
Once your plant has formed new roots, transplant into the soil. This process can be very quick if you are taking String of Pearl cuttings in the spring or summer.
DID YOU KNOW: Some plants can grow almost indefinitely in water, like philodendron, ivy, dracaena, and coleus.
Successful Rooting of Cuttings
Here are some tips for successful rooting of cuttings.
Use Special Rooting Medium
Plain potting soil is too dense and the medium should have large grains to allow air circulation. Mix equal parts moistened peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite. Or combine equal parts moistened peat moss and sharp sand.
Invert a drinking glass over the cutting or cover it with a clear plastic bag.
Keep it Moist
Keep the rooting medium moist. Avoid extremes of wetness and dryness.
Keep it Warm
Cuttings will root best if provided with gentle bottom heat of about 20 degrees C. Sunny kitchen counter will do.
Let There be Light
Good bright light is needed, but cuttings should be protected from direct sunlight.
String of Pearls Care Requirements
Growing String of Pearls is fairly easy. Here are some tips for happy gardening.
Pot: Select a small container with drainage holes for newly developed cuttings that will accommodate the root ball.
Soil: Use a good quality, well-draining potting mix such as succulent and cactus mix. Sharp sand and sandy soil can also work.
Temperature: Maintain room temperature between 17 and 25 degrees C. It is vulnerable to frost and cold.
Light: Position your propagated pearl plants in a bright, warm location that receives enough light. Indirect sunlight is preferable or partial shade, so avoid direct sun by all means. You can also supplement the light levels by using a grow light.
Water: Water thoroughly once every 10 days in the summer and let the excess water drain out. Let the soil dry out. If the beads shrivel and look desperate, it is time to water. Water monthly during winter months.
Maintenance: Dispose of dead stems and dying plant’s leaves.
In the active period, water freely and fertilize while the plant is actively growing. That’s also the best period to take String of Pearls’ cuttings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can String of Pearls be Propagated in Water?
Yes, propagating String of Pearls in water is possible. You simply take stem cuttings and put them in a jar of distilled water. Protect from direct sunlight. Change water weekly and as soon as the roots have formed, transplant in the regular potting mix.
Can You Propagate String of Pearls from One Leaf?
Yes, succulents are plants that can naturally grow a new generation from a single leaf. Propagating in this way is successful because the leaves are thick and firm.
How Long Does String of Pearls Take to Root in Water?
How long it takes to grow new roots depends on the place and time of replanting. Propagating String of Pearls is a lot quicker during the active growth, which is from spring to fall. It can take from four weeks to more than a month for the cuttings to root. Observe the cuttings often and carefully.
Can I Propagate String of Pearls in Sphagnum Moss?
Absolutely. Propagating String of Pearls plants in this way is similar to the soil or water propagation methods. Take around 10 cm long stem cuttings and put them on slightly wet sphagnum moss. This will create some humidity String of Pearls will appreciate. After the roots have formed, transplant in a well-drained pot.
When propagating the String of Pearls plant, it is important to make a clean cut using sterilized utensils. Use a small pot as you will transplant it later. Water the cuttings as the roots grow. If you are propagating in water, change it once a week and check for any bacteria or pests in it. Position the cuttings in a bright location and plant in well-draining soil after the roots have formed.