Loved by gardeners for its long, beautiful vines and vibrant, pod-like flowers, a string of pearls can make a wonderful addition to an ornamental garden.
Green ‘pearls’ that hang from the stems of this succulent plant are the primary attraction of a string of pearls for most of the year.
But, in summer, the show is stolen by white flowers that make a casual, yet fragrant, appearance for a short period.
In this article, we ask our expert gardeners how to get a string of pearls flower to bloom brightly.
What Is a String of Pearls?
Strings of pearls are beautiful succulent plants, otherwise known as Senecio rowleyanus.
A string of pearls is best known for small, uniquely-shaped pods that give the species its name.
These pod-like ‘pearls’ are vibrant green in colour and are designed to hold large quantities of water.
The succulent species evolved in the south of Africa, and its ‘pearls’ are there to help it survive in arid, inhospitable desert climates.
While you won’t find those conditions in the Isle of Wight, you will find the perennial nature and drought resistance of a string of pearls make it exceptionally easy to propagate and grow, both indoors and outdoors.
Gardeners love strings of pearls because they are low maintenance.
The long vines can grow up to 90 centimetres, and are often seen hanging from baskets in the garden or adding something special to an otherwise bland shelving unit.
Do Strings of Pearls Flower?
While they’re prized (and best known) for their lovely, pearly pods, strings of pearls also flower vibrantly.
The flowers are small in size and white in colour.
They’re often overlooked because they’re dwarfed and outnumbered by the exceptional number of pearls, even when strings of pearls flower in the summer.
While you might not always see them – unless you’re looking for them – you’ll smell a string of pearls flower at the peak of its bloom.
The small, white flowers have a beautiful smell, which livens up the inside of your home or adds a new element to the summer fragrances wafting through your garden.
A string of pearls flower has a sweet, strong fragrance to it.
Some gardeners claim it smells like cinnamon, while others say it has more of a spicy tang.
Why Is My String of Pearls Flowering?
A string of pearls will only flower for a short period of time each year.
It is brief, but rather beautiful, in our opinion.
For many gardeners, it can be an unexpected sight to see a string of pearls flower in the summer because it’s in stark contrast to their otherwise dry look the rest of the year.
As with any plant, the reason your string of pearls is flowering is entirely natural; it’s for reproduction.
The flowers are there to attract insects, in order for pollination to occur.
In the same period as your string of pearls flowers, you’ll also find there are seeds being produced and spread around your garden.
It can be hard for these to take root on their own, so don’t worry about plants appearing all over your well-manicured ornamental garden.
A string of pearls will only be in flower for around one month, from late spring through to summer.
How Do You Get a String of Pearls Flowers to Bloom?
Strings of pearls flowers are often quite understated.
But, if you love the sweet smell of cinnamon in your home or garden, there are a few ways to ensure that your succulent blooms brightly in spring and summer.
The hard work begins when you pot your succulent cuttings and begin to grow them in an ornamental garden.
When you’re propagating your string of pearls, you need to pot them in a good mix of compost that’s rich in nutrients.
The pot needs a good drainage hole at the bottom.
You also need to choose the right location for the best blooms.
While you can get your string of pearls to bloom inside the home, it’ll be a lot more difficult than if you leave them outside because they need sunlight.
This is particularly important in the UK where bright sunlight isn’t available throughout the year.
Try to pot your plants in a position where they can take in a few hours of direct sunlight every day.
To get your string of pearls ready for flowering and make them really bloom, it’s important to give them attention through the cold winter months.
This is essentially when they are preparing to bloom in later seasons.
In winter, sunlight can be more difficult to come by so you need to be proactive in the garden to ensure that your plants have those vital few hours of exposure when they can.
If you’re growing them inside, make sure you keep them on the windowsills, especially in winter.
Temperature can be important too.
These are plants that evolved for desert-like conditions, which means they love cold nights and warm days.
In the UK, the plants easily survive in the cold outside, but conditions aren’t perfect for encouraging flowering.
Real enthusiasts will want to consider a greenhouse where they can better control temperatures and replicate natural conditions.
You won’t need to worry though about watering if the plants are outside, as these succulents are best suited to dry conditions.
They’ll receive enough moisture during the winter and spring months.
Contact our friendly team at Eddington House Nursery to find out more about caring for and getting your string of pearls to flower.
We stock a huge range of succulents, including strings of pearls and many more unique species.
We’re happy to help you with all your gardening needs.Back to news