Curio rowleyanus (String of Pearls)
Common Name: “String of Pearls”; “String of Beads”; “String of Peas”
“String of Bananas” (Curio radicans/Senecio radicans) and “String of Dolphins” (Curio peregrinus/Senecio peregrinus) are close relatives.
Species: C. rowleyanus
Note: Formally known as Senecio rowleyanus.
Native To: South Africa
- Appearance: Perennial succulent with trailing stems that grow up to 3 feet long and are adorned with light green spherical leaves. The small specialized leaves are shaped like peas with slight points. There are dark green translucent bands on the leaf sides, known as epidermal windows. These allow more light to penetrate into the bead-like leaves, increasing the surface area of plant tissue available for photosynthesis.
- Flowering: The white flowers are small and tulip-shaped. They form on long peduncles in summer.
- Hardiness: This plant is extremely both drought- and cold-tolerant! It is not heat-tolerant. It can tolerate temperatures between 10-40 degrees F.
Care Requirements: This succulent prefers only half day sun and does not like high heat. It thrives in part shade/part sun or bright indirect light. Allow it to dry out between waterings. It is susceptible to root-rot. Grow it in well-draining cactus mix, and make sure your pot has a drainage hole.
Propagation: “String of Pearls” is very easy to propagate via leaf or stem cuttings. Trimming will promote new and fuller growth, as explained in this post. Check out my post on Everything You Will Ever Need to Know About Propagating Succulents for detailed propagation tips.
Toxicity: Plants from the genus Curio/Senecio are considered moderately toxic to pets. Check out my Pet Safety Guide for more information.
Xylem Rising’s Observations: Sometimes this plant can get lanky if left unpruned. The stems trail long and cascade beautifully, but they might start to lose leaves or have long spaces in between the leaves. If you notice your “String of Pearls” becoming thin and lanky, simply trim off the stems with the lightest amount of foliage, pull off the leaves, and make sure the leaf nodes are facing down into the soil.
Fun Fact: I feature “String of Pearls” in my handpainted logo.
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