Senecio (String of Pearls) - Expert Tips
How to care for Senecio (String of Pearls): Expert Tips
Senecio is one of the biggest plant families that belong to the daisy (Asteraceae) family. There are over 1,000 different species of Senecio all over the world - some are annoying weeds, while others are beloved garden plants. Senecio succulents are also quite popular as houseplants and are perfect for growing indoors. One of the most popular ones is the String of Pearls (Senecio Rowleyanus).
The leaves of succulent Senecios are generally thick and fleshy. They can be deep green, bluish or even striped, but there is much variation in leaf shape. Some are round, some banana-shaped, and some are upright. There is one for every choice!
Fun fact! The name "Senecio" comes from the Latin word "senex," which means "old man." This is because many species of Senecio have a fluffy, white seed head like an older man's beard.
Succulent Senecios are easy to grow at home - just treat them like cacti and other succulents. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about Senecio care.
String of Pearls Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- They love bright indirect light. Place it near a window that receives plenty of natural light. Just avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the delicate leaves.
- Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering it again. Remember that dry soil is better than wet soil when you're unsure if it's the right time to water it.
- Make sure you don't overwater your String of Pearls. Its fleshy roots are delicate and can quickly rot if they get too much water. Always check the soil moisture level before watering!
- Choose a well-draining cactus or succulent soil mix and ensure the pot has drainage holes to prevent water from sitting around the roots.
- If your plant's stems are turning brown or shrivelling, it's probably a watering issue, or it gets too much sunlight. Adjust your care routine a little.
- Avoid getting water on the leaves. Water on the leaves can cause rot, so aim to water the soil directly and avoid getting water on the leaves.
- Fertilise occasionally. Feed it with PLNTS Nutrition plant food diluted to half-strength every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
- To make your String of Pearls plant bushier, pinch back the stems' tips using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. This will encourage the plant to grow new shoots and branches.
- Make sure you repot regularly. It needs to be repotted when roots are growing out of drainage holes or when soil is compacted.
- Make sure it has enough space to hang down properly. It will look its best with enough space to hang down and show off its unique and beautiful shape.
Senecio Care Tips
Senecio plants, including String of Pearls, love bright spots. Provide them with the brightest spot you can, especially in winter. While they can tolerate some direct sun, it's essential to gradually expose your plant to direct sunlight and monitor it closely to ensure it's not getting too intense. Sunlight in the mornings and evenings is best.
Your Senecio will receive enough light if you place it near a south-, east-, or west-facing window. You can diffuse the sunlight with a curtain if it is too intense.
As succulents, Senecios can withstand drought very well, but they still need regular watering during the growing season (spring to fall). With most species, the soil around roots must dry out completely between waterings. In winter, you can let the soil stay dry a little longer.
Expert tip! Don't get water on the plant leaves when watering, as this can easily cause fungal diseases.
If the leaves of your Senecio plant begin to wrinkle or fade, it may indicate that the plant needs more water or is overwatered. It's easy to overwater them. Make sure the pot has drainage holes so excess water can drain away, and don't let the plant sit in standing water.
Senecio succulents (String of Pearls) are not heavy feeders, but they will benefit from occasional fertilisation during the active growing season to promote healthy growth. Use PLNTS Nutrition plant food every 4-6 weeks and dilute it to half-strength to prevent over-fertilisation and potential root burn. Avoid fertilising during the winter when the plant is dormant.
Temperature & humidity
Senecio succulents do very well in average home temperatures and lower humidity levels. Just keep the temperature at 18-27°C and humidity levels between 40-60%. Like most succulents, they are heat-tolerant. Some Senecio species can tolerate short periods of cold, but prolonged exposure to cold will kill them. So keep them in a warm and not too draughty place.
Expert tip! Giving your Senecio a slightly cooler spot during winter can help it grow even better in spring. If you can, find a slightly cooler place, around 13-18°C, for the winter months. Just make sure it's still nice and bright!
Soil & repotting
Choose a well-draining, sandy soil mix for your Senecio or String of Pearls. PLNTS succulent potting mix is perfect for them. While Senecios and String of Pearls are not super fast growers, it's still important to repot them every 2-3 years or when the plant outgrows its current pot. Repotting can help refresh the soil and give the plant more room to grow. This is easy peasy!
How to propagate String of Pearls or other Senecios?
Cuttings are the easiest and fastest way to propagate Senecios. It is best to do this during the growing season. Cut a stem or leaf and plant it in a pot with sandy succulent soil. Place the cutting in a bright location protected from direct sunlight and water lightly. Hopefully, your cuttings will develop roots and grow into new plants this way. How cool is that!
This can take a while, so be patient. Because there are many different types of Senecios, we always advise you to check carefully which is the best way to take cuttings for your Senecio.
Most common pest on Senecio
There are a few pests that affect Senecio plants. If they do have a problem, it may be that they are infested by scale insects and mealybugs. If this is the case, we recommend you visit our PLNTS doctor. There you will find all the tips and tricks to control these pests.
Is the Senecio toxic for pets or children?
Unfortunately, all Senecio species must be considered poisonous, some more than others. All parts of the plant are poisonous, even when dried. It can even cause severe, irreversible liver disease. So please keep your pets and small children away from your Senecio. Place the plant high, so it can hardly go wrong!
Buy your new Senecio online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com you can buy your new Senecio online. Whether you like your PLNTS big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy String of Pearls online at PLNTS.com.