String Of Pearls Propagation : Tips For Rooting String Of Pearls Cuttings
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By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
The name says it all. String of pearls actually looks more like a string of green peas, but the moniker is still apt. This small succulent is a common houseplant that is in the Aster family. Succulents are easy to grow from cuttings and string of pearls is no exception. String of pearls plant cuttings will root readily, provided they have a bit of preparation and the correct medium. The trick is in knowing how to propagate a string of pearls plant, including when to take the cutting and how to care for the new plant.
Rooting String of Pearls Plant Cuttings
If you are lucky enough to have a string of pearls plant or know someone who does, it is easy to make more of this delightful succulent. Taking string of pearls cuttings is the easiest and fastest way to multiply your stock of this whimsical succulent.
No matter if you are a pro or a novice, cuttings of succulents are practically foolproof ways of string of pearls propagation. In order to prevent most succulent cuttings from rotting before they can root, you need to let them rest before you plant, but this is not necessary when rooting string of pearls plant cuttings.
Succulents take a long time to grow from seed and take on the appearance of adult plants. Usually, propagation is through cuttings or division of the pups or offsets. The fastest method of string of pearls propagation is from cuttings. Clean, sharp implements are necessary for taking these cuttings and reduces damage to the plant as well as the introduction of pathogens to both the parent and the cutting.
Take cuttings when plants are actively growing, ideally from spring until late summer. String of pearls produces a thick, dangling web of slender stems adorned with tiny green balls. These are actually the plant’s leaves. Many gardeners like to prune the ends of the stems when they get too long. These trimmings can make ideal cuttings for propagation.
How to Propagate String of Pearls Plant
To start new plants, remove 4 inches (10 cm.) of terminal plant material. Cut in between the pea-like leaves to make a cutting that is now about 2 inches (5 cm) long. Make sure the stem is green, unblemished and not desiccated or otherwise damaged.
Use a good succulent potting mix or make your own with a 50/50 mixture of compost and horticultural sand. Moisten this lightly but thoroughly. You can insert the cutting by removing the bottom leaves and covering the cleared end in soil or simply coil the cutting on top of the soil, lightly pressing it into contact with the growing medium.
Rooting string of pearls can take several months. During this time, keep the container in bright, indirect light in a warm location. Mist the container every few days to keep the top of the soil where the cutting is in contact lightly moist. Be careful not to over water, which can cause the end of the cutting to rot.
After about a month, reduce watering to just when the top of the soil feels dry. After 6 months, during the growing season, feed the plant with liquid succulent plant food or a balanced all-purpose houseplant food of 12:12:12, diluted to half strength every other week. Suspend feeding during the dormant months.
In time, your cuttings will send out new stems and fill in. You can repeat the propagation process over and over and create as many of these charming plants as you can fit in your house or your friends and family can accommodate.
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3 Ways To Propagate String of Pearls And String of Bananas
Senecio Rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’ and Senecio Radicans ‘String of Bananas’ are two very similar plants in not only how they look, but also in their growing habits, care and propagation. Both are native to South Africa where they grow on the ground along with other vegetation as ground cover.
In their native habitat, they creep on the ground and grow vine-like. In cultivation, they are extremely popular plants for hanging baskets or trailing arrangements.
The major difference between the two plants is the way their leaves are shaped. Senecio Rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’ have pea-shaped, round leaves whereas Senecio Radicans ‘String of Bananas’ have banana-shaped, curved leaves.
I find String of Banana plants hardier than String of Pearls and more forgiving. If you are a beginner, you may want to try your luck with a String of Bananas first.
Senecio Rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’
Senecio Radicans ‘String of Bananas’
Propagating methods for both of these plants are exactly the same. I have propagated both plants by using three easy methods. All three methods use stem cuttings. When you cut a strand from these plants, the stem will split into two, three, or more stems and continue growing. The plant roots anywhere along the stem.
This picture shows a strand that has split into three and you can see roots growing along the stems.
String of Pearls Plant Care Tips
Its long pearl-filled stems makes the String of Pearls plant a great choice as an indoor hanging plant.
Start with having the care basics right:
Your String of Pearls will grow long and full in no time.
The most common problem with String of Pearl plants is root rot, caused by soggy soil due to overwatering.
The fix is to slow down your watering frequency and make sure your plant is in a fast-draining succulent potting mix. Add some pumice or perlite to the soil for even better drainage.
Your Sting of Pearls plant likes a lot of bright light. It can handle a spot on a sunny window sill.
Some direct light is ok, but preferably not all day long. Hot sun can burn the pearls.
If you can, give your plant a few hours of direct morning sun, followed by bright, indirect light for the rest of the day.
When to Water
Look at the pearls. When they start to shrivel, and the soil feels dry, it is usually time to water.
During the summer the pearls are in their active growing mode and will be in more natural light. This time of year, water when you notice the soil starts to dry out.
In winter the plant is resting. So it needs less water. Water sparingly just enough to moisten the soil. Wait until the soil is nearly dry throughout before you water again.
String of pearls is one of the best garden plants, and from the moment you glance at it, you will love it. From their name, the string of pearls is identical to long green peas, and they belong to the Aster family.
To grow the plants in your home, you’ll need to do plant propagation. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors, and unlike most plants which spread out, they form long tails.
Since these plants grow in length instead of spreading, it’s vital to cut them when they are still short. Don’t wait until they are more than 30” long to start cutting them. You can easily grow the succulents from the cuttings, and there is no exception with these plants.
They also root faster as long as you prepare their growing medium-well. You only need to know how to propagate them, and they will handle the rest.
How to Root the Plant Cuttings?
If you want to plant the string of pearls in your home, you will need to use your existing plants or borrow the cuttings from someone else. Propagating these plants will enable you to multiply your stock with ease.
Whether you are new or experienced in this game, you won’t experience many challenges while propagating the plants.
Though other plants usually require you to store the cuttings for some time to prevent rotting, you don’t need to let the string of pearl cuttings rest first.
Instead, you only need to divide the pups or make cuttings and propagate them. Cut them sharply to reduce the risk of damage and prevent pathogens from entering into the cuttings and the parent.
The best time to take cuttings is when the plant is still growing, especially during spring or summer. The stems of this plant are thick and have green balls, and these are the leaves. Once the stems get excessively long, the gardeners will prefer pruning them for propagation.
Propagating the String of Pearls: What you’ll Need
Before you start propagating the string of pearls plants, you will need some scissors, a misting bottle, a string of pearls plants, and a small pot with a drainage hole.
The potting mix should drain well, and you can also add a glass, toothpick, paperclip, or rooting hormone, depending on your preferences and the planting method.
Before you cut the plant, it should be healthy and several inches in length. The string of pearl plants have the water and nutrients vital toward the sustenance of the cutting as it grows.
Therefore, the cuttings must have some pearls after counting out the ones you’ll remove later. If the plant already has stems with some popping roots, then these are the best for the propagation.
Using some scissors or sharp clippers, clip these stems with maximum precision. This is important to prevent damage to the stem and other cuttings. If you want the cuttings to root, then allow the water to remain otherwise, dry them.
Drying the cutting also enables the plant to develop a callous, which keeps out the bacteria and prevents rotting. The stems will only take a short time to callous over since they’re tiny.
Now, as you wait for these cuttings to dry, dip them in rooting hormone to enhance the speed of rooting.
Finally, fill the pot with soil and use a chopstick to dig holes in the soil. You will place each cutting on a hole though you can make a big hole to accommodate two cuttings.
Before you plant the pearls:
- Remove the top leaves and ensure you plant at least 3-4 nodes in the soil.
- Secure them using the floral pins, and once they’re ready, remove the pins for reusing at a later date.
- After the plants rest for a few days, water them. You may not need the rooting hormones since this plant only takes a short time to root.
How to care for Young String of Pearls Cuttings
After you plant the cuttings, you will need to care for them. They need enough nutrients and light to grow vigorously, and if you care for them well, they can last for up to 5 years. To ensure the plant survives for long, twine its stems or grow them in a hanging basket.
This plant is not susceptible to major pest or disease attacks and doesn’t require much maintenance. However, you need to keep them in a place where they will receive a sufficient amount of light.
Also, use only sandy soil and other types of succulent potting soil to grow the cuttings.
Ensure the soil has good drainage to protect the plant from rotting. The potting container should also feature good drainage to ensure it does not keep excess water.
Can you root a string of pearls in the water?
Yes, you can root the string of pearls through water propagation. After the root, you can then transfer them into the soil. But you need to remove the top leaves on the end of the cutting and place it in water.
How do you propagate a string of pearls?
To propagate this plant, you need to cut in between its leaves a cutting of about 5 cm. Ensure the stem has no blemishes, desiccations, damage.
How long does it take to water propagate string of pearls?
Your string of pearls plant will take between 3 to 5 weeks to start growing. Water them every 5 to 7 days, and in about 25 days, they will start to root and grow. If you check the cuttings and they have not yet rooted, then return them to the mix to spur rooting.
Can you propagate a string of pearls from one leaf?
Yes, it’s possible, but it will take time. Leaves are not a good part for propagating the string of pearls plants.
The leaf will grow some roots first before the branches start to develop. But you will need to put the one leaf to the potting mix and water it regularly to ensure high chances of development.
Of all the plants on your windowsill, the string of pearls is one of the easiest to propagate. If you have a plant that’s even remotely thick enough to try it, you should give the process a go.
If you keep your tools clean and sharp and invest in the right soil, you’ve got nothing to lose. It won’t be quite as easy to keep your pearls happy when they mature, but that’s another story.
If nothing else, once you’ve got the propagation bug, imagine how much easier finding birthday gifts is going to be. A cutting from your favorite plant might be the thing that passes gardening fever on to you unsuspecting friend.