Curio × Peregrinus, commonly known as String of Dolphins, Flying Dolphins, Dolphin Necklace, or simply Dolphin Plant, is a species of flowering succulents in the Asteraceae family. Dolphin plants are an adorable hybrid between the highly popular String of Pearls (Curio Rowleyanus) and the Hot Dog cactus or Candle plant (Curio Articulatus).
We know, right? It would have been pretty cool if nature had come up with this idea, but human creativity goes beyond normal and predictable.
Thanks to their lovely appearance, String of Dolphins plants quickly became a fashion trend over the past few years. It all began with a simple Twitter post about their dolphin-shaped foliage. They were so appreciated and loved by Japanese people that the post got about 10.5k retweets. Crazy!
If you want to grow String of Dolphins succulents, keep reading, you’ll find everything you need in this article.
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About String of Dolphins
- These succulents are often called Senecio Peregrinus, but this name was given to another species from South America by the botanist Grisebach in 1879.
- String of Dolphins plants look gorgeous in hanging baskets that allow their leaves to show off their splendor.
- They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor growing, but most gardeners prefer them as ornamental houseplants in lovely containers.
- Dolphin plants prefer lots of sunlight, but they can also do well in locations with partial to full shade when the climates are hotter.
- Like most succulents, they perform best in well-draining soils, such as a potting mix designed for cacti and succulents.
- Due to their succulent leaves, you will not need to water your String of Dolphins plants very often. During the winter, they require watering less frequently than usual.
- They will grow healthy and happy in a location that is not too humid. You can maintain the ideal humidity levels using a dehumidifier.
- String of Dolphins plants are classified as poisonous, so you might think twice about growing them near curious pets and children.
- They can be planted along with String of Pearls in a hanging container to create a beautiful mix of dolphins playing around with balls.
String of Dolphins Features: An Overview
- This hybrid belongs to the Curio genus that contains over 20 species of flowering succulents. These species have been formerly belonging to the Senecio genus.
- The most cultivated ornamental houseplants from their genus are C. Articulatus, C. Repens, C. Rowleyanus, C. Sulcicalyx, and C. × Peregrinus.
- String of Dolphins succulents are dwarf plants that can reach up to 6 inches (15 cm) in height. With proper growing conditions, they can grow over 20 inches (50 cm) in their first year from planting.
- These plants develop unique-looking curvy leaves that look perfectly similar to a string of little leaping dolphins.
- Their leaves can store small quantities of water. They have the usual plumpness of succulent foliage and grow tiny, dolphin-shaped, and green on long, slenderly stems.
- If you are lucky enough, your plants may exhibit cute daisy-like bloomings from May to June. They are very fragrant and have a strong scent that resembles cinnamon.
- Their small flowers appear in clusters of white to light pink colors with an aura of golden yellow to blood red filaments.
Growing String of Dolphins
If you already are the happy owner of a String of Pearls, you should know that Dolphin plants have similar environmental needs. But as a novice gardener who is learning the ropes of succulent growing, there is no need to fuss over it too much! All succulents are very easy to grow and these are no different. Once you start to understand their basic demands, Dolphin plants can become one of the easiest plants to grow and care for.
String of Dolphins plants will thrive in a location where they can be exposed to plenty of bright and indirect light all day long. They do well in direct sunlight only if you live in a region where the temperatures are not too hot and the sun is gentle. When these succulents are provided with too much sunlight, they will easily get sunburned and may die off eventually.
If you want to grow your succulents outdoors, place them in a shaded spot where they can receive enough indirect or filtered light daily. As houseplants, Dolphin plants perform best in the proximity of south-facing windows. They will receive at least six hours of morning sunlight and some partial shade in the afternoon. During the winter, it is suggested you place a fluorescent or LED artificial light around your plants.
Unlike most succulents, these beauties are not heat-loving plants. They prefer the average room temperatures around 72 °F (22 °C), especially during the summer or their active growing period. String of Dolphins plants will enjoy some cool air once in a while, but make sure you protect them from temperatures that drop below 40 °F (4 °C). They are somehow soft succulents and will not handle well any possible freezing threat. For outdoor plants, you must bring them inside if the temperatures in your region start to get colder than 30 °F (-1 °C).
Planting String of Dolphins
If you want to prevent your Dolphin succulents from root rotting, you must plant them in a container that has drainage holes at the bottom and is filled with well-draining potting soil. Look for a commercial mix that is specifically designed for cacti and succulents, as this is an excellent choice for your plants.
String of Dolphins love crowded growing conditions, so you should use a pot only a bit larger than your String of Dolphins babies when planting them.
These succulents can take care of themselves, so they do not need frequent feedings. As a matter of fact, they are pretty sensitive to over-fertilizing and the vigorous dolphins may be losing their iconic jumps. It is recommended that you feed your String of Dolphins plants only once or twice a year. The fertilizers must be provided in early spring, as this is the period when your plants should start to produce flowers.
String of Dolphins plants may be occasionally bothered by mealybugs and spider mites. When your plants are infested by mealybugs, they will have some white cotton-like growth on their leaves. Meanwhile, spider mites will show their presence through tiny webs on the foliage. You can get rid of mealybugs by rubbing your succulents with insecticidal soap or a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol. Also, if your plants are infested by spider mites, move them outside and spray them with cold water or use miticides for advanced infestations.
Watering String of Dolphins
Even if String of Dolphins succulents are special-looking, they have no particular demands when it comes to watering. Just make sure you spoil them with a good soaking until the water comes out from the pot’s drainage holes. After that, give them a break and allow the soil to dry out completely before watering your babies again.
During their active growing period, from spring to early autumn, String of Dolphins plants require watering once every week. When the winter has settled in, you can water your succulents less often, somewhere like once a month. But be careful! Their watering needs may be different based on the specific conditions from your area.
Do not forget to always check the soil in-between waterings and provide your String of Dolphins with water only when the soil feels dry to the touch. An under-watered plant will have deflated and dry leaves, while squishy, transparent, or yellow leaves may be a sign of over-watering.
Propagating String of Dolphins
String of Dolphins plants are rare hybrids, so it is pretty difficult to find specimens in nurseries or markets. But we have good news! They can be easily propagated through stem cuttings and you can do it either if you are a novice or experienced gardener. So, if you already have a good-looking Dolphin plant or a friend who has it, take a cutting immediately! These succulents are so cute that they deserve to be spread around and cared for by a loving owner.
The cuttings should be taken in spring with a sterilized sharp knife or a pair of scissors. Look for sturdy, healthy stems that contain many leaves on top and cut about 5 inches (13 cm) or more from them. Remove the bottom leaves until the stems are entirely exposed and let them dry out in a shaded place for two days or so.
Fill a pot with well-draining soil and plant your cuttings once they are well calloused. Place the pot in a partially shaded location and water the soil deeply. Repeat the watering process when the soil feels dry to the touch and provide your cuttings with more light progressively in a course of one or two weeks.
After a few weeks, you should start to notice the development of a healthy root system. Water your baby Dolphin plants again and give them the usual care as for their mother plant.
Yeah, we know they are pretty hard to find, but once you get your hands on a String of Dolphins, it will be so hard to let it go. These low-maintenance plants can make for excellent companions as long as you provide them with plenty of bright and indirect light, well-draining soil, and regular watering.
Are you the lucky owner of a String of Dolphins succulent? Share your experience with us in the comments below!