Senecio rowleyanus, commonly known as the string of pearls, is an interesting succulent. Consisting of pearl like configurations that are attached together with a thread like structure, they continue to stretch with long cascading stems to form a dense plant and the overall appearance is rather theatrical.
This perennial plant will grow one metre long trails, with each of the spherical leaves having a detailed longitudinal stripe. The small, near white daisy flowers sit erect on long stems.
The genus Senecio derived from tropical and sub-tropical regions, so most of the species require a sunny location and only a few prefer a shady position for their cultivation – the string of pearls being one of them. Easily grown and displayed in a hanging basket they are a low maintenance plant and very drought tolerant once established.
Grow in a free draining open potting mix and keep water to a minimum as they dislike being sodden. They benefit from being allowed to dry out between watering.
This fascinating little plant is easily propagated, and then this stress-free little gem can be shared among friends. Cuttings can be taken at any time of the year with spring and summer being the optimum periods as the plant is actively growing.
With a clean pair of scissors or shears, gather cuttings by trimming off 10cm lengths, cutting between the pearls to obtain the cutting material. Using an open free draining succulent and cactus mix the cuttings can be inserted directly into the mix, or the cutting material can be coiled into a loop and laid directly on top of the soil mix – both methods can be used in the same pot.
When inserting the cuttings, remove about 5cm of the pea-like leaves and insert into the medium 5cm, firm slightly. With the coiled cuttings just press gently so the cuttings are in contact with the potting medium, a paper clip can help to hold the coiled cuttings in place.
With cuttings it is important not to over water nor should they dry out. Spray every few days with tepid water from a misting bottle and keep the soil slightly moist at all times. Place the cuttings in a warm well-lit spot; roots should form in a matter of weeks.
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