Growing String Of Pearls: How To Care For Senecio Rowleyanus

Senecio rowleyanus (ro-lee-AH-nus), often called String-of-pearls, is a spreading, perennial, succulent vine endemic to southwest Africa’s arid regions.

String-of-pearls is a member of the Asteraceae family, consisting of daisies. Senecio rowleyanus is also synonymous with Curio rowleyanus.

Growing Senecio RowleyanusPin

In its native habitat, the plant grows vine-like, creeping and crawling along the ground and forming roots wherever the plant touches the ground. 

Because Senecio rowleyanus plants only thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 9B through 11b, it is most commonly grown as a houseplant.

Indoor plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, while outside plants require moderate shade.

Senecio, unlike many succulents, goes dormant in the summer and grows in the winter. This makes the plant ideal for rock or succulent gardens.

Senecio also goes by several common names, including:

  • Bead Plant
  • Irish Beads
  • Necklace Plant
  • Rosary Vine
  • String of Beads
  • String of Marbles
  • String of Pearls
  • String of Peas

Quick Facts On Senecio Rowleyanus

  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Light: Bright indirect sunlight (if outside, partially shaded)
  • Temperature:  70° to 80° degrees Fahrenheit in summer, 55° to 60° degrees in winter
  • Water: Top layer of soil needs to be dry before watering
  • Fertilizer: Occasional
  • Propagation: Stem Cutting
  • Common Problems: Root rot, aphids, mealybugs

Senecio Rowleyanus Care

How Big Do String-of-Pearls Grow?

The Senecio Rowleyanus bead plant can reach up to 3’ feet long with its tendrils.

When Does String-of-Pearls Flower? Are The Flowers Fragrant?

String-of-pearls bloom tiny white flowers that last roughly one month. The long red stamens and vivid yellow anthers enhance the stunning blossoms.

For the summer blooms to occur, keep the plant at a consistent 60° degrees Fahrenheit temperature during the winter. Cool and dry conditions during the winter promote summer blooms. 

The flowers are fragrant with a scent like cinnamon. 

What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?

The String-of-Pearls plant prefers bright, indirect light if inside. Often, west or south-facing window is ideal. 

The String-of-Pearls plant needs a partially shaded spot with protection from the hot afternoon sun when grown outdoors. 

Ironically, the plant grows during the wintertime and needs consistently cool air to promote growth.

Therefore, wintertime temperatures around 60° degrees Fahrenheit are ideal.

How And When To Water And Fertilize Senecio Bead Plant?

Senecio rowleyanus is a succulent plant with thick leaves that store water. Like most plants, root rot is common if overwatered.

Water your Senecio rowleyanus once every 2 weeks, but only water when the top half-inch of soil is dry. 

Senecio rowleyanus does not require fertilization in the first year after purchase or repotting.

However, if the plant is actively growing, apply liquid fertilizer every 4 to 8 weeks. 

Long-term fertilizers such as sticks, pellets, or granules are great options in the spring and summer.

What Is The Best Soil For Senecio Bead Plant And When Should You Transplant?

Senecio rowleyanus needs well-draining soil to thrive, like most succulents. So choosing a pot that allows efficient draining is the first step.

Unglazed ceramic and terracotta pots are the two most popular choices. 

Senecio rowleyanus plants are small and fragile with shallow root systems. Because of this, annual repotting isn’t necessary as long as it’s growing properly.

However, if your String-of-Pearls has outgrown its pot or is rootbound, it’s time to transfer it to a larger container. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Gently bring the trailing stems up to the center of the plant.
  • Put your hand at the top of the plant. Then flip over the pot. 
  • Gently squeeze the bottom of the pot to loosen the soil. 
  • You can also try cutting the pot with scissors and tearing it open.
  • Prepare your succulent soil mix. Add either coarse sand or perlite to promote better drainage. 
  • Pack it tightly around the side of the new pot to allow room in the center.
  • Carefully place your String-of-Pearls in the pot.
  • Put some succulent soil mix around the plant, and fill in any open spaces.
  • Place the pot in a bright area with indirect sun. 

Does String-of-Pearls Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

String-of-pearls maintenance requires pruning from time to time, especially if they have gotten leggy. Pruning also preserves their size and freshens them up. 

To prune, use a pair of clean, sharp scissors to cut off any dead stems and pearls and portions that have grown leggy or lost many of their beads.

You can propagate any healthy bits that have grown too long and grow into a new String-of-Pearls if you have cut them off.

How To Propagate Irish Beads?

Iris Beads are easy to propagate since their shallow roots develop new roots quickly. Cuttings are the most straightforward method. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Put a healthy 3-4 inch cutting on the soil and press lightly. 
  • Over time, roots will emerge out of the cutting.
  • Keep the cutting moist by misting the soil with water until the new plant begins to grow.

String Of Marbles Pests And Diseases 

The following issues can harm your String of Marbles plant: 

  • Overwatering (causes root rot)
  • Underwatering (causes an unhealthy plant)
  • Incorrect potting mix (causes a sick plant)
  • Insufficient sunlight (not enough light for plants to thrive)
  • Too much sunlight (burns the leaves)
  • Insects (cause significant injury to the plant)

As a result, proper care is vital for your succulent plant to thrive. If you see any of the issues mentioned above with your succulent, take action as soon as possible.

Thankfully, many issues have simple solutions, such as:

  • Provide more sun or less sun
  • Move plant from air conditioning
  • Bring the plant inside
  • Repot the plant with better soil
  • Use neem oil
  • Use insecticide or fungicide
  • Fertilize or prune

Is the String-of-pearls Plant Considered Toxic Or Poisonous To People, Kids, Or Pets?

Although the String-of-Pearls is a lovely plant to look at, its sap is poisonous to both humans and dogs.

In humans, ingesting any component of the plant may result in the following symptoms:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Discomfort
  • Inflammation
  • Dermatitis (severe skin irritation)
  • Mild gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea and vomiting)

The entire plant is highly harmful to animals, causing lethargy, drooling, and itching, resulting in your pet’s suffering.

Keep your String-of-Pearls out of reach of your pets and children, and use gloves when handling them.

String Of Marbles Vine Uses 

The String Of Marbles has many practical uses indoors and outdoors, as long as you meet its temperature and sunlight requirements.

Because it’s pretty drought tolerant, you can plant it in a drought-tolerant or rock garden. 

This succulent plant can also be a decorative houseplant indoors and outdoors with its long cascading vines.