The pearl necklace, also known as Curio Rowleyanus, is a unique trailing succulent. If I had to name a plant that is close to my heart, it would be this one. I think it’s the most beautiful indoor plant!
The plant is native to the southern tip of Africa, and its uniqueness makes this plant a favorite for plant parents. String of Pearls is a creeping succulent that has green balls for the leaves (they look like peas)!
In this article, I will share some tips on caring for a pearl necklace. I will also share other species of this plant family at the end of the article.
When buying a pearl necklace from a garden store, what is the next step? You will need a well-drained succulent potting mix, which you can buy at most garden centers. It has a mixture of earth and sand.
Sand helps aerate the soil and allows water to flow more freely through the soil. I also like to put a little more pearlite in my luscious soil.
Perlite is found in nature and is actually formed by volcanic eruptions. Perlite is also great for helping your soil shed water faster.
For pots, get one that’s about the same size (definitely not smaller) or a tiny bit larger than the plastic pot it came in (it’ll probably come in a hanging basket in plastic). i like to use an earthenware pot or an earthenware pot.
The most important aspect when choosing a pot is that it must have a drainage hole so that water can escape. If the water cannot escape from the pot, there is a good chance that the plant will die because it is waterlogged.
Next, mix your soil with a few spoonfuls of perlite and prepare it. Take your pot and put some potting soil in the bottom.
Then gently remove your pearl necklace from the pot by gently placing your hand on top of the plant, wiggle the pot slightly until the plant pops out.
You might lose a few beads (leaves) in this process, but that’s okay! Place your plant in the pot and make sure the plant sits roughly level with the edge of the pot. I put the roots about 1 centimeter below the rim and the beads are all above the rim.
Don’t let the plant sit lower than the edge of the pot as water can collect on the tops of the leaves.
The plant likes to drink light and hang around the edge of the pot. Once you have properly placed the crown of the plant, take the extra soil and backfill around the plant. I like to use a wand to push the dirt around the plant.
After you’ve finished backfilling the dirt, the string or beads will likely need to be untangled (especially if you have a long one). Be patient during this process. If I pull lightly on a rod, it could break!
Carefully seek out an entire stem and gently untangle it so it drapes over the pot. I go around the whole plant until all the stems are untangled. You’ll probably lose a few more beads during this process as well, but that’s okay!
Note: Even though this plant has many amazing qualities, pearl necklace plants are toxic to humans and pets if ingested. If a bead (leaf) falls from a stem onto the ground, I quickly pick it up so my dog doesn’t eat it.
The pearl necklace loves a bright, sunny environment in your home. An east or west facing window will work just fine. I place mine right next to a window so they can drink in plenty of light.
Try to avoid placing it near air vents or parts of your home where there are drafts (near a door that opens in winter, etc.). He will not like the extreme temperatures of the air blowing on it. During the warmer summer months, you can also place it under a veranda or covered porch to take advantage of indirect light.
Direct sunlight could scorch your plant, so try to avoid letting it sit in the sun for hours or it will get scorched. When the temperatures start to drop, bring your plant indoors.
Before bringing it inside, always check for pests or insects. When I was bringing my succulents from our covered porch in late summer, I found a little black widow spider hiding under a leaf. This happened to me again a few years later!
My lesson was learned quickly, so inspect any plant thoroughly before bringing it home.
Figuring out a watering routine and getting to know your plant’s schedule will really pay off. The pearl necklace does not like being soaked or sitting in water for long periods of time. I like to say that I “wet” my pearl necklace instead of watering it.
It helps me remember that they don’t need excess water. The plant has a shallow root system, so usually the top half of my pearl necklace pot needs water. I use a small container of water and lightly water the entire top of the plant.
Overwatering the pearl necklace will be your plant’s biggest killer. You can tell if a plant is being overwatered by the spongy leaves or if they lose their dark green color and turn a bit translucent and soft.
If you’re shopping for a new pearl necklace, keep this in mind. You will want a plant with dark green beads and soil that is not waterlogged.
Not sure when to baste your pearl necklace? It really depends on where you live and the humidity. Drier climates will require more water and vice versa.
You can test the soil by sticking your finger in part of the soil to check for moisture levels or lifting your pot to see if it has weight due to water retention.
Make sure your water temperature is lukewarm to cool (think rainwater temperature). The pearl necklace will not tolerate extreme cold or hot temperatures when watering.
They like to be watered frequently in the spring and summer (during its growing season), but forgo frequent watering in the fall/winter. The pearl necklace likes to dry out but not to be dry.
How do you know when it’s dry? The dirt around the circumference of the pot will come off the pot. If that happened, no worries, water it and try to water your plant earlier next time to prevent the soil from drying out too much.
If this happens multiple times, it could affect the health of your leaves and roots. Another aspect of root health is root rot. It can harm your plant.
Root rot occurs when roots sit in water for too long and eventually rot and die. It can be a very sad and slow death for a pearl necklace.
If you think your plant has been in water too long and might have root rot, take it out of the pot to inspect the roots. If the roots are firm and grayish-white, that’s fine. If they are mushy and look blackish, your plant probably has root rot.
If that’s not too far, you can try cutting off the dead roots and leaving the healthy, firm ones. Placing the plant in cool (not waterlogged) soil will also help.
What is the best type of water to use? If you are using tap/city water, you can leave your tap water in an open container for 24 hours to allow some of the chemicals to evaporate. After 24 hours, the water is cleaner and healthier for your plant!
Fluoride and chlorine can build up in your pearl necklace root system, so this method of leaving your water outside will pay off in the long run. Using filtered water or collected rainwater (if you can) is also a great option!
If you have well water, your plant will love this. My friends who have well water have THE best plants.
You can propagate the pearl necklace in three ways! The first is to use water. First, find a healthy stem. I like to use at least 4-5 inch stems.
Using clean scissors or sharp shears, cut your stem. Remove all beads about 1.5 to 2 inches from the bottom of the cutting.
Let the stem rest for 24 hours so that the fresh cut at the end of the stem can form a callus. Make sure he stays out of direct sunlight during this healing period.
After 24 hours, place your fresh cutting in water. The side of the cutting with the leaves removed can be placed in water. Keep the remaining beads above the waterline.
Be sure to change the water whenever it gets cloudy and rinse your container. Place it in a sunny spot in your home. After 3-4 weeks, you should see small roots emerging from the cutting!
Wait until the roots are at least 1 inch long before planting them in the ground. Once it’s ready to pot, use a small terracotta or clay pot with well-drained cactus/succulent soil.
I like to use a chopstick to create small holes for the newly rooted plant. Moisten lightly and your plant should begin to grow.
The next way to spread is through soil. Using the same methods as above, you will cut your plant, wait 24 hours, and instead of placing it in water, place your plant in soil (well-draining, succulent soil).
Use a chopstick (or pencil) to create a new hole for your new cutting, tuck the soil around the plant. I like to mist my plant to keep the soil slightly moist and not dry.
After about three weeks, I pull the plant very gently to see if it takes root. If the new cutting stays put, I know new roots are forming. It’s always exciting! If your plant has started to form roots, it’s ready for a watering.
Another way to spread your pearl necklace is to layer. I find this approach to be the most effective. Take a fresh pot of succulent soil, mist it, then scoop out a good long cut of your pearl necklace. Shake or roll the cup over the top of the dirt on the jar.
I like to fertilize my plant once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) using a balanced fertilizer. I use half the manufacturer’s recommended rate when mixing my fertilizer.
I like liquid fertilizer because it mixes so easily with water and I don’t have to worry about it not being evenly distributed throughout my plants.
One thing I love about this species of plant is the different varieties. In the photo above, “String of Turtles” – the turtles look like small turtle backs. “Strings of watermelons” are plump and their leaves look like a watermelon (pictured below).
Aren’t they unique and whimsical? I hope you enjoy these plants as much as I do! -Janae