Common Name: String of Pearls, String of Bananas, String of Dolphins
Botanical Name: Senecio Rowleyanus, Senecio radicans, Senecio peregrinus
Learn to care for some of the most exciting and architectural vines grown for our pleasure! Senecios are succulents that require little care but need the right environment to survive. Don't be alarmed if you fail on your first try, but we hope these care tips help you make it a first-time success! These houseplants are very easy to propagate: stick sections of the vines into soil and mist occasionally. In no time, you will have new, beautiful baby pearls. Senecios can be a bit temperamental, so make sure you find the perfect spot and consistently give these gems the attention they need. These hanging plants love the warmth and basking in indirect light but like cooler conditions in the winter when dormant. If given the right conditions, these succulent vines will reward you by growing longer and longer, eventually making contact with the floor.
These sweet things need lots of indirect light. It is very important to allow for the top of the plant to get light, as well. It helps dry out the soil and prevent fungus through over-watering. Place them as close to the window as possible; they can even handle direct light, but you will be watering them more often in this setting.
Over-watering senecio is the most common cause of decline. Because they have shallow roots, they should be kept in shallow pots and watered thoroughly ONLY when completely dry (the little pearls will start to pucker). If your plants are in terra-cotta or clay pots, or if they are under a bright light, you will need to water your indoor plant more frequently. They will need more water during the warm months, and less during the cold months.
Succulents, like senecio, require that their potting soil should contain more drainage materials (compared to soils for most indoor plants), such as wood chips, perlite, coarse sand, or pumice, to allow the water to drain quickly. Most bagged soil-less potting soil made for indoor plants will work fine but remember that you must let the soil dry out completely before watering it again. You can add cactus potting soil mix to your potting soil to help the water drain if you feel the roots are staying wet for too long! A great time to do this is when you need to re-pot them into a larger pot. Learn how to create your own potting soil for indoor plants!
These guys like it hot in the summer and cool in the winter (50-55℉). The heat of the summer brings out a tremendous amount of growth; just make sure to avoid fungus and bacteria through good air circulation.
Any average household humidity level is fine for String of Pearls, but try to keep it at about 50% or higher.
Senecios do not need to be fertilized often because their succulent leaves help maintain its moisture. You can feed them once a month during the growing season with fish emulsion or a very diluted ¼-strength complete liquid fertilizer. You can also top dress the soil in the spring with worm castings (lightly to avoid suffocating the shallow roots) or a rich compost.
Senecios are moderate to fast-growing indoor vines once they are established and are provided with the proper environment and care! They can grow (depending on the species) 3-10+" in one growing season.
- Resist transplanting a healthy senecio. They have shallow roots and they can be damaged easily.
- Make sure the light is reaching the top of the plant.
- Do not over water! If you are not sure if it is time to water, look at the pearls -- are they slightly puckered?
- Do not plant in a deep, large pot.. This will only hold excess moisture and promote root rot.