Succulents

Complete Guide to Senecio Rowleyanus: How to Grow and Care for “String of Pearls”

Read our complete guide to Senecio rowleyanus for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “String of Pearls” succulent plants
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Senecio rowleyanus is a flowering perennial succulent that belongs to the Asteraceae family. Native to the dry regions of southwestern Africa, these succulent vines grow in shady areas, protected by rocks and tall plants and root whenever their stems touch the ground.

Named after Gordon Douglas Rowley, a British botanist specialized in succulents and cacti, Senecio rowleyanus plants are also known as Curio Rowleyanus, String of Pearls, String of Beads, or Rosary succulents. These names perfectly describe their unique pea-shaped leaves and their long trailing stems.

The odd-shape of the foliage is an adaptation to the arid environments where the Senecio Rowleyanus natively grows. It enables this succulent to store a lot of water and to minimize its exposure to the desert air.

String of Pearl Succulent
String of Pearl Succulent

String of Pearls succulents make perfect ornamental plants as they are easy to grow, care for, and propagate. They bloom during summer and their small, white flowers form in clusters, are trumpet-shaped, and have a spicy, cinnamon smell.

To fully enjoy the cascading leaves of your String of Pearls succulents, it’s best to display them in hanging baskets. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors as long as the temperatures are above freezing. They require very little water, sandy soil, and just a few hours of sunlight.

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About Senecio Rowleyanus

  • Senecio Rowleyanus “String of Pearls” is a low-maintenance succulent that can be grown and propagated without much effort.
  • Their round pea-shaped leaves store plenty of water, so these perennial succulents don’t need frequent watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot and can make their “pearls” burst.
  • To avoid overwatering, use the ‘soak and dry’ technique and wait for the top few inches of soil to dry in-between waterings.
  • The soil should always have at least a little moisture. If the whole pot of soil gets bone-dry, the little pearls will shrivel up.
  • They can be grown both indoors and outdoors, provided they get some shade and a few hours of sunlight.
  • String of Pearls grow in arid climates, so they require a sandy, well-draining soil and a container with drainage holes.
  • You can plant them in outdoor gardens if you live in a warm region with very little rain, but these ornamental succulents look best when planted in hanging containers.
  • Propagating these bead-like succulents is very easy and they are quite fast-growing. You simply take a cutting from the stem using a clean, sharp knife, let it dry and callous for a day or two and plant it in well-draining cacti and succulent soil mix.
  • Senecio Rowleyanus is a trailing succulent that can be paired with Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’ and look great in any flower arrangement.
  • They are a bit toxic and their sap can cause skin irritation to both humans and pets. When consumed by animals, Senecio Rowleyanus can cause vomiting, lethargy, drooling, digestive problems, and other similar symptoms.
Senecio Rowleyanus is perfect for hanging baskets
Senecio Rowleyanus is perfect for hanging baskets

Senecio Rowleyanus Features: An Overview

  • Senecio Rowleyanus aka String of Pearls succulents have long, slender stems and round succulent leaves.
  • These perennials look more like peas than pearls; they are extremely cute and easy-to-care-for.
  • Despite its tiny leaves and delicate aspect, Senecio Rowleyanus is a fast-growing perennial that will quickly fill its container and cascade elegantly down the side.
  • When planted in hanging baskets, String of Pearls show off their long, trailing stems that can reach 2-3 ft (60-90 cm) and their pea-like foliage.
  • Dry and cool conditions over the winter months will encourage this succulent to bloom in spring.
  • The beautiful white flowers of the Senecio Rowleyanus succulent grow in clusters and are trumpet-shaped with brightly colored stamens.
  • String of Pearls succulents have shallow roots so they don’t need to be repotted often. They grow pretty fast, so if you feel that your succulent is too big, you can simply prune the excess.
  • The cuttings will take root when planted in well-draining soil.
Senecio Rowleyanus
Senecio Rowleyanus

Growing and Caring for Senecio Rowleyanus

Senecio Rowleyanus or the String of Pearls plant is quite low-maintenance, like most succulents and cacti. To grow fast and to be healthy and happy, this adorable succulent needs well-drained soil, bright light, and a little watering once in a while.

It’s best to grow Senecio in cacti and succulent soil mix that absorbs the appropriate amount of water and allows the excess moisture to drain out. For better-draining soil, mix your soil with inorganic materials like sand, pumice, or pea gravel (50/50).

Senecio Rowleyanus succulents have shallow roots, so you won’t need a very deep container. A shallow container is a much better choice as it encourages drainage and the soil will dry quicker.

The best containers for succulents are made of clay. Plastic or ceramic are fine too, but they don’t encourage water evaporation as much as clay does.

String of pearls succulents love bright light and, when grown indoors, they thrive on sunny windowsills. If your plant doesn’t get enough sunlight, you can get a fluorescent light and leave it on for a few hours every day.

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It is worth mentioning that although it loves bright indirect light, this succulent can be quite sensitive to direct sunlight, especially if the temperatures are very high. So, if you plan on growing String of pearls outdoors, make sure it gets some shade at noon when the sun shines brightest.

It is recommended to give your String of pearls plenty of room to expand and sprawl. As mentioned above, hanging baskets are a great option if you want to make the most of its beautiful cascading stems.

If you are a pet owner or if you have small children, you should be extra careful with this succulent because its leaves and sap are slightly toxic. The main symptoms associated with the ingestion of Senecio Rowleyanus are vomiting, nausea, rashes, and lethargy.

String of Pearls Succulents, From Amazon

Watering Senecio Rowleyanus

Overwatering is the greatest enemy of String of Pearls. Native to the arid regions of South Africa, this succulent is drought tolerant and prefers infrequent watering. To avoid root rot, apply the ‘soak and dry’ technique.

Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out completely before adding water and keep in mind that these succulents need more water in summer, during their active growth period than they do in winter, during the dormancy period.

If the tiny pea-like leaves start to look a bit dehydrated or shriveled, water them. Although they are adapted to withstand drought, they can still wither if their soil is bone-dry.

Younger plants need more water than established plants, which like to be misted once every few days, especially during the propagation process. Once established, Senecio Rowleyanus plants become more drought tolerant as their rooting system starts to grow and they get to store more water in their beads.

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So, as the plants mature, water them less frequently. Adapt your watering schedule to the climate in your area. If you live in a very dry climate, water the plants more frequently, especially on extremely hot days.

If you live in a more humid climate, you don’t have to worry about watering them too much. Keep an eye out for dry soil and water only when necessary.

String of pearls don’t need to be repotted very often because they have shallow roots, but if you do report them, check for aphids and mealybugs.

Propagating Senecio Rowleyanus

Propagating Senecio Rowleyanus is extremely easy. All you have to do is to take a cutting that at least 4 inches (10cm) long, remove the beads on one end, and stick it in soil. Because it’s quite fast-growing, the plant will root and develop new growth in about two weeks.

You can also take stem cuttings and lay them on the soil, sideways, instead of sticking one end in the soil. The great thing about these succulents is that they shoot out roots from any part that touches the soil.

Choose a shallow container and fill it with soil to encourage the plants to trail sooner. Fresh cuttings need more moisture than established plants, so it’s recommended to mist them lightly once every few days. You can stop misting the plants once they become more mature and start watering them once every two weeks or so, depending on your climate.

How to Propagate Succulents
How to Propagate Succulents: Complete Guide

Conclusion

Senecio Rowleyanus, also known as “String of Pearls”, are beautiful ornamental succulents with pea-shaped leaves and elegant trailing stems. Often used in flower arrangements and perfect for interior design, these succulents are easy to grow, care for, and propagate.

To grow happy and healthy String of pearls, give them plenty of indirect sunlight, a little water once in a while, and plant them in well-draining cacti and succulent soil mix. Their flowers have a unique cinnamon scent and to encourage them to bloom keep them at temperatures between 55-60°F (13-16°C) over the cold winter months and cut back on the water.

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Miruna Secuianu

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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