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String of Pearls

Common name : String of pearls.
Scientific name : Senecio rowleyanus

This creeping, perennial succulent vine is native to arid regions of Africa. This ornamental plant is on the list of most sought after succulents around the world, thanks to the unique round leaves. It blooms in summer and the flowers last for a few weeks. The plant sap is toxic, so care must be taken while handling. There is a variegated variety available, white with green.

Round shaped leaves are nature’s adaptation to minimize surface area to avoid loss of water through evaporation. Seen clearly is the epidermal window, which allows light to enter in for increased photosynthesis as the spherical surface allows less area for exposure to sunlight.

Care tips :

Sunlight : Bright indirect sunlight with a few hours (3-4hours a day) of direct sunlight is great. Outdoor or indoor spots with bright sunlight are suitable.


Medium : Course, well draining soil.

Soil mix ratio-
Soil : Course sand : Coco Peat : Perlite 
1 : 1.5 : 0.5 : 0.5
Perlite is optional. Also, do not use fine sand.


Water : Watering frequency differs from place to place. Water thoroughly when the soil is completely dry. Do not over water, under watering is still ok. Here in Bangalore, generally watering once in 3-4 days in winters and monsoons is good. In summers water once in 2 days. Also the material of the container matters, terracotta pots need frequent watering compared to the others. 

Give the plant a thorough shower every week or two to clean the dust of the plant, to optimize transpiration and photosynthesis. This'll also help you keep check on the pests in time.


Fertilizing : Liquid fertilizing every month in summer and spring.  

Pests : Mealy bug infestation is encountered often. Rub them with a damp cloth or spray water

to wash off the bugs. Repeat often if the infestation is severe.

Propagation
Soil propagation or water propagation is possible. 
Water propagation
It’s fun to do and pleasing to see the roots grow. Cut about 4” of the string. Pluck off 2 leaves and insert that end in water. It’ll take them a minimum of 2 weeks to start growing new roots. Shift them to soil when they grow 1” of root. Doing this with few strands is recommended.

Soil propagation

Cut about 4” of the string. Pluck off 2 leaves and place it on the above mentioned soil mix. Do the same for few more strands. Cover the strings with soil and let the leaves be exposed to sunlight. It’ll take them a minimum of 3 weeks to start growing. In this case the ends will start growing new leaves, that’s an indication that the roots have grown. 


Happy gardening!!