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How do you propagate a string of pearls?

Loved for its long, elegant, trailing stems, the rather grand-sounding succulent ‘string of pearls’ is one of our favourite creeping vines. Although it’s native to the arid deserts of southern Africa, we’ve had wonderful success growing strings of pearls here on the Isle of Wight.

A string of pearls is easy to propagate, easy to care for, and it can add a fantastic new element to your ornamental garden. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at how you can propagate a string of pearls from a small sample of cuttings at home.

What Is a String of Pearls?

A string of pearls is a type of vine that belongs to the Aster family and goes by the Latin name Senecio rowleyanus. It’s a succulent plant that’s suited to dry, arid conditions. Its perennial nature ensures that strings of pearls are adaptable and easy to grow in almost any environment.

The plant gets its name from the series of pearl-like beads that dangle from the long stems. These beads are a lovely green colour, with a shiny, waxy coating that gives the plant a real shine, especially in summer.

The ‘pearls’ are the succulent’s flowers, and they’re designed to absorb and retain as much water as possible. You’ll often find a string of pearls dangling over hanging baskets or from shelves, inside or outside a property. The long stems grow quickly and can easily reach up to 90 centimetres in length.

How Do You Propagate a String of Pearls?

Luckily, it doesn’t take much to successfully propagate a string of pearls, which makes them a great choice for gardeners looking to add a new element to an ornamental garden with minimal work.

You need to start with a small trimming of a fresh and healthy stem. Seven centimetres or so is an ideal length for propagation. Using cuttings is a quick way to multiply your succulents, but make sure your cuttings are a nice shade of green and look moist and undamaged.

You need a small pot filled with soil, where you’ll plant your string of pearls to allow them to grow. The roots can grow anywhere along the stem, so the best way to allow them to take root is to remove the bottom pearls before pushing the ends into the soil.

The mixture you use for the soil needs to be suitable for cacti-like plants. You can ask our team at Eddington House Nursery for more information on optimal soil conditions.

After a month, you should see that your string of pearls has begun to root and grow. Within six months of planting, your cutting should be taking shape and growing out of the planting pot.

Try to plant your string of pearls just before spring, so they can begin blooming their bright green colour in summer.

How Do You Care for a String of Pearls?

As a succulent that’s evolved for drought-like conditions in Southern Africa, a string of pearls needs very little attention once you’ve potted it and begun propagation. You can grow them inside or outside, and won’t need to worry about watering them once they’re dangling.

The most important factor to consider however is sunlight. A string of pearls needs just a little sunlight during the day, the rest of the time it’s happy with shaded sunlight. Try to position your plant pot so it isn’t overwhelmed by bright sunlight throughout the day, especially in the early stages of propagation.

If you’re propagating a string of pearls indoors be careful where you place it, as it needs lots of bright sunlight to start with. You might want to consider propagating outside, then moving it indoors once it’s flowering.

A string of pearls will grow up to 90 centimetres outdoors, and a single plant can last for around five years with little attention given to it. From a single cutting, you should be able to keep a string of pearls growing indefinitely in your ornamental garden. Just keep taking regular cuttings once the succulent has begun to flourish.

You should try to re-pot your string of pearls once a year to keep the soil fresh, but you’ll find that it can survive in much worse conditions than a well-maintained ornamental garden.

Contact our friendly team at Eddington House Nursery to find out more about caring for and propagating your string of pearls. We stock a huge range of succulents, including string of pearls plants, and we’re happy to help with all your gardening needs.

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