String of Turtles Care

String of Turtles Care

Family: Piperaceae

Common Name: Magic Marmer, Radiator Plant, String of Turtles

Botanical name: Peperomia prostrata

The Peperomia prostrata is a rare and easy-care houseplant that is known for leaves that resemble turtle shells and gently hang from long vines, thus inspiring the common name, String of Turtles. The String of Turtles is a great indoor plant for beginners. Mostly because it prefers a bit of neglect and is somewhat forgiving.

Light

The String of Turtles is adaptable and can handle medium to bright indirect light, but it thrives with bright indirect light. Increased light will help the plant push out new growth and develop strong vines.

While it's tempting to place a vining plant up high, so you can admire the dangling leaves, pay close to attention to the light available at the top of the plant, where the vines emerge from the soil. The entire length of the plant needs bright indirect light to survive, but it's very important for the top of the plant to receive plenty of light in order for the plant to thrive. For this reason, placing the plant on a table or a lower shelf where there are higher levels of light may be a better choice.

Increased light at the soil level also helps the soil dry out and can help prevent root rot for any enthusiastic waterers. Direct light should be avoided as it can damage the leaves.

Water

Peperomia prostrata are a type of succulent, which means they store water in their leaves. This is a plant that likes to wait a bit between watering. Unlike most succulents, let the soil mostly, but not completely dry out before giving the plant a drink. Ideally, the top few inches of the soil should be dry. If you notice the leaves just starting to shrivel or pucker, then the plant is almost through it's reserves and it is time to water.

When you water this plant, let the water drain through the holes in the pot and remove any standing water from the cache pot or tray. Soggy soil can be a problem and damage the sensitive roots of the Peperomia prostrata.

Temperature

Temperatures between 65-75 degrees are ideal for the String of Turtles. This plant hails from South America, so warmer temperatures are fine, but colder temperatures can be damaging. Try to avoid placing the Peperomia prostrata near exterior doors or drafty windows, particularly during the colder months.

Humidity

The Peperomia prostrata prefers average humidity. High levels of humidity are not a problem, but extra dampness in the air is not necessary.

Fertilizer

You can fertilize the Peperomia prostrata using a diluted complete liquid fertilizer every other week during the spring and summer. This extra boost will help the String of Turtles push out new growth.

Pro Tips

  1. String of Turtles can be delicate, so be careful when moving or repotting, but know that some leaves may fall off. Don't worry though, because those leaves can be propagated. Peperomia prostrata is very easy to propagate either by placing individual leaves or sections of stem with the leaves attached on top of soil. Sections of vines with the lower leaves removed can be water propagated.
  2. Cut back on watering and fertilizing during the fall and winter. The String of Turtles does not need as much water or fertilizer when the plant is not actively growing.
  3. Prune the plant to prevent the vines from becoming leggy and encourage a full and bushy look.

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